Longtime North Carolina Rep. Walter Jones died on Sunday and is being remembered for his fidelity to God, his constituents, and the Constitution.
Jones was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994 as part of the Republican Revolution, but just two years after unsuccessfully running as a Democrat.
Mainstream media outlets are summing up Jones as the member who once wanted to rename french fries as “freedom fries” after French opposition to the war in Iraq but later recanted his support and became a fierce critic of overseas military operations without congressional authorization.
His aversion to deficit spending led him to oppose many spending bills pushed by Republican House leaders. At one point, former House Speaker John Boehner stripped Jones of a plum committee assignment for bucking his party too often.
Former Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp, who is now president and CEO of the Heartland Institute, also lost a committee assignment for defying GOP leaders. He calls Jones a “man of honor.”
“He stuck by his principles, which unfortunately is not a very common trait these days in many areas of politics,” said Huelskamp.
Huelskamp says Jones always focused on whom he was serving.
“There were two things he always focused on in representing. One is to represent “them,” and that would be his constituents, and one is to represent Him. That would be Jesus Christ. He always kept “them and Him” in mind.
“Often times it was to the consternation of the Republican Party in Washington because he didn’t follow the party line,” said Huelskamp.
Huelskamp says his friend also had a deep reverence for the the document every lawmaker vows to defend.
“When he talked about the responsibilities of Congress, he wasn’t just talking about the House and Senate. He was talking about what Walter Jones’ responsibilities are in the Constitution. He took that to heart and was a fantastic member of Congress, particularly because of his commitment to his constitutional oath of office,” said Huelskamp.
Listen to the full podcast to hear Huelskamp discuss Jones’ change of heart on the Iraq War and other dust-ups with GOP leaders.