Washington reacts to death of Rep. Walter Jones

Washington reacts to death of Rep. Walter Jones”

Jones launched a campaign to succeed his father, a Democrat who represented North Carolina's 1st congressional district for 26 years, but he lost the Democratic primary and his father died just months before he was due to leave office.

Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr., an Eastern North Carolina congressman who made it his mission to atone for his vote sending US troops into Iraq in the early 2000s, died Sunday on his 76th birthday.

In a statement from his office, the late lawmaker's staff says the 76-year-old was a man of the people, known for his "faith, honesty and integrity" - a man with a kind heart and the courage of his convictions.

Jones went into hospice care due to rapidly declining health following surgery at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, North Carolina.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

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.

No weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq, and it was later revealed that the war was justified using faulty information. Jones took heat for his reversal from GOP colleagues.

In a 2013 interview with NC Policy Watch, Jones discussed the debt ceiling, gun control, immigration, and the damaging influence of Citizens United. Some may not have agreed with him, but all recognized that he did what he thought was right. He was re-elected to a 13th term in November previous year.

Jones' office issued a statement about his death, noting that he faithfully served the people of eastern North Carolina for over 34 years, first in the state legislature and later as a member of the US Congress.

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".

"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", said Sen.

Jones, the son of U.S. Congressman Walter B. Jones Sr., was a Democrat when he entered politics in the early 1980s. 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.

"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".

Congress would be a more effective and probably a more moral body if it had more members like Walter Jones. Surviving relatives include Jones' wife, Joe Anne, and daughter, Ashley.

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