(R-N.C.), a one-time supporter of the Iraq War who regretted his vote after attending the 2003 funeral of a Marine killed in action, died Sunday, on his 76th birthday.
"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".
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He will also be remembered for being one of the Congressmen who pushed to rename the congressional cafeteria's french fries to "Freedom fries,"after the French opposed the 2003 USA military action in Iraq". His district has numerous military bases, and while he initially supported the war in Iraq, he eventually sided with Democrats calling for the withdrawal of troops from the country.
"I did not do what I should have done to read and find out whether Bush was telling us the truth about Saddam being responsible for 9/11 and having weapons of mass destruction", Jones told a reporter in 2015.
The reversal angered many of his Republican colleagues.
Cooper has not yet set the dates for those elections, which must include at least 45 days for absentee voting, according to federal law under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a release that Jones' "relentless work on behalf of our men and women in uniform, veterans, military families and caregivers honored our American values and strengthened our country". His death will not get as much attention as the recent passing of former representative John Dingell, Jr., who was the longest-serving member of Congress in US history and in honor of whom flags were at half-staff at government buildings last week.
He was the son of conservative Democrat Congressman Walter Jones Sr, and switched parties to win as a Republican in 1994. In November, he was re-elected to his 13th term in office.
In a 2018 AP interview, Jones said that he wasn't afraid to oppose GOP leaders "when I don't think they're right".
A second was his rejection of the partisan tribalism that pervades Congress and American politics.
"He will be long remembered for his tireless advocacy for eastern North Carolina, which he loved dearly, and for always following his convictions, no matter the political cost".
Congress would be a more effective and probably a more moral body if it had more members like Walter Jones. He served in the North Carolina National Guard and helped lead his family business before running for office.
Gov. Roy Cooper took to Twitter. He is survived by his wife, Jo Anne Jones, whom he married in 1966, and his daughter Ashley.