FARMVILLE – After missing votes starting in July 2018, Republican Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-03) was granted a leave of absence from the House in December due to an undisclosed illness. In January the esteemed congressman from Eastern North Carolina fell and broke his hip, requiring surgery. Over the weekend, WITN reported that Congressman Jones has been moved to hospice care.
“Congressman Walter Jones is in hospice, his wife Joe Anne Jones confirmed Saturday at their home in Farmville.
The family declined to give any other details about his condition.
Jones’ health has declined after breaking his hip last week, the Congressman’s Washington office said.
“The family asks for your prayers, and for their privacy to be respected during this difficult time,” according to the release.[…]”
It is sad to hear of the marked health deterioration of such a beloved congressman. Jones has represented Eastern North Carolina for nearly 25 years. Originally a Democrat – his father long represented North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District in Washington – Jones was first elected to office in North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District in 1994 after switching to the Republican Party to better reflect his values.
In the near quarter of a century since then, Jones has developed a reputation as a principled maverick who put the people and interests of his district first, even if it meant bucking the Party line. He was anti-Establishment before being so was en vogue. He famously reversed his support of the Iraq war upon meeting with the family of a fallen soldier, becoming a vocal opponent of the Middle East engagement and other foreign wars, and spending time very week thereafter writing letters to the families of fallen servicemen.
I am a native of the Third District, raised on the Crystal Coast, and I’ve been proud to call such a principled individual as Jones my congressman for much of my adult life. Eastern North Carolina is a special place, with a unique character, and our representation in congress for the last 25 years has largely matched the conservative, liberty-loving ethos that embodies the region.
While the family has not disclosed the nature of the illness that is ailing Jones, aside from saying that it is not cancer, his move to hospice care portends a grave situation. Some have been able to confirm, via sources well apprised of the Congressman’s situation, that his condition “is not a ‘any minute now’ type of situation.”
Still, as those who’ve had loved ones with failing health well know, the primary purpose of hospice care is to provide comfort and help to the individual and their family during the worst of times. Thus, it is rare for those who enter hospice care to emerge from it in better condition.
It is an unfortunate situation, and we at First in Freedom Daily offer our sincerest hopes that Congressman Jones’ condition improves as soon as possible.
The graveness of the situation, though, likely means that Eastern North Carolina will be faced with choosing new congressional representation earlier than 2020. While Jones announced before his 2018 campaign that this would be his last term in office, the unfortunate circumstances could lead to a special election date well before 2020.
For the U.S. House, all states require special elections to fill any vacant House seats during the first session of a Congress. The governor is charged with calling a special election during such extraordinary circumstances, upon which the normal process is followed for primary elections and a general election, on an expedited timeline. That process usually lasts around six months.
Whatever does happen, the voters of Eastern North Carolina deserve a voice in Washington, D.C. that speaks up for their values and holds tightly to the principles they embody. Someone unafraid to speak truth to power, to buck the Establishment in deference to the principles of liberty, and to genuinely resolve themselves to work on behalf of a coastal community that is truly one of a kind.
Rep. Walter B. Jones is certainly a one of a kind politician and we wish him a speedy recovery.