In the wake of Rep. Walter Jones' death on Sunday, many from both sides of the political aisle in Washington shared how Jones served his constituents and country as a member of Congress. His health declining in recent months, Jones entered hospice care in January after breaking his hip.
Jones was a political maverick unafraid to buck his own party. His military-heavy district was a part of his change of heart, and his office displayed a wall of photos of Camp Lejeune Marines killed in the war on terror. He, however, regretted it later and not only wrote to the families of the USA service members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan but also joined with anti-war opponents in trying to bring troops home. "He was a champion for our men and women in uniform and their families, always mindful of their service and sacrifice".
In a 2013 interview with NC Policy Watch, Jones discussed the debt ceiling, gun control, immigration, and the damaging influence of Citizens United.
Jones became a fierce critic of foreign interventionism under Democratic and Republican presidents alike, opposing USA involvement in Libya, Syria, and Yemen and calling for an exit strategy from Afghanistan. Jones was re-elected in November 2018 when he ran unopposed. "The family asks for your prayers, and for their privacy to be respected during this hard time", a statement released on his official congressional website said at the time.
In a time of partisan politics, many Democrats worked with Rep. Jones (R) on issues ranging from ending the War in Iraq - a war he feverishly supported at first - to environmental issues impacting North Carolina, where he represented people in the Tar Heel state who live in the Outer Banks.
"Congressman Jones will long be remembered for his honesty, faith and integrity", his office said in a statement on his passing.
The Supreme Court will hear a challenge to North Carolina's congressional districts in March, though it remains to be seen how any ruling throwing out the districts would affect a special election for the seat. He attended Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia during high school and then graduated with a bachelor's degree from Atlantic Christian College - now known as Barton College - in 1966.
"Walter Jones was one of a kind". He and Cooper were among 20 House Democrats who joined Republicans in toppling state Democratic Speaker Liston Ramsey from power in 1989.
Gov. Roy Cooper took to Twitter.
"I send my condolences to his wife Joe Anne, his daughter Ashley, and all those who had the honor of knowing and benefitting from the work of Congressman Walter B. Jones, Jr". Funeral arrangements weren't immediately announced.