CONGRESSMAN Walter Jones DIES
North Carolina Republican Rep. Walter Jones died on Sunday at age 76, according to a statement on the congressman’s website.
“After faithfully representing the people of Eastern North Carolina in Congress and the state legislature for over 34 years, Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) passed away this afternoon in Greenville, North Carolina. He was 76,” the statement reads.
Jones died on his 76th birthday, according to The Washington Post.
Mr Jones was a keen supporter of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and pushed for the name change in protest against France’s opposition to the war.
But he later had a complete change of heart, becoming one of the most vocal critics of the war in his party.
“Congressman Jones will long be remembered for his honesty, faith and integrity,” a statement from his office said.
“He was never afraid to take a principled stand. He was known for his independence, and widely admired across the political spectrum. Some may not have agreed with him, but all recognised that he did what he thought was right.”
Like most Republicans – and a number of Democrats – Mr Jones backed President George W Bush’s resolution to use military force in Iraq to oust its leader Saddam Hussein.
Mr Bush justified the invasion by claiming that Saddam Hussein had developed and hidden weapons of mass destruction.
France, which threatened to veto the UN’s resolution authorising US-led military action, was the most vocal in its opposition to the war.
In response, Mr Jones and his fellow Republican Robert W Ney pushed for cafeterias in the House of Representatives to rename their French fries and French toast “freedom fries” and “freedom toast”.
Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus Mark Meadows wrote on Twitter, “Deeply saddened by the passing of Walter Jones—a beloved colleague and friend who had a profound impact on all through his graciousness, character, and committed Christian faith. God be with and keep his family. We will miss him.”
North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Walker posted on Twitter, “Walter Jones was one of a kind. He served with conviction, humility, generosity and kindness. My condolences to Jo Anne and the Jones family.”
North Carolina Democrat Rep. G.K. Butterfield tweeted, “I am deeply saddened by the passing of a long time leader, proud North Carolinian, a devoted family man of deep faith, and my friend of over forty years- Congressman Walter B. Jones, Jr.”
“To serve alongside Walter Jones was a great honor and privilege. Let us honor Walter Jones’ service to our country and the profound leadership he offered eastern North Carolina. I will miss his humility, intellect, and unwavering love of his community,” Butterfield writes.
California Democrat Rep. John Garamendi posted on Twitter, “@RepWalterJones was a champion for our men and women in uniform, a bellwether for moral courage and leadership, and one of my closest friends in Congress. My heart is heavy to learn of his passing. Last week, I introduced a bill we developed together in his honor.”
“It would provide much-needed Congressional oversight and accountability to the conflict in Afghanistan–an issue Walter was a leader on during his time in Congress,” Garamendi wrote. “Rest in piece to a great man, a great friend, and a true fighter for the people of North Carolina.”
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