Walter Jones, veteran USA congressman from North Carolina, dies at 76

Rep. Walter B. Jones in 2017

During that conversation I learned from Jones that he was writing letters to the families of all US service members who had died in Iraq (as well as in Afghanistan).

In a statement, his office praised Jones as a "man of the people" and a champion of the men and women serving in the military.

Jones broke his hip in a fall, and after suffering complications, entered hospice care in January.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

Although Jones said he immediately regretted his vote, he nevertheless felt strongly enough about the war to lead the effort to get the House cafeteria to rename French fries "freedom fries" because France had opposed the invasion. 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. For this - especially his reversal on Iraq - he was pilloried by many of his fellow Republicans; the GOP even tried to unseat him in primaries to no avail.

"Congressman Walter Jones was a passionate patriot willing to fight for sometimes unpopular causes while remaining a humble & approachable statesman".

State law will require a new election to fill Jones' seat, according to statute provided by the State Board of Elections.

Jones also was a relentless advocate for campaign finance reform and controlling the national debt. "He was a proud representative of eastern North Carolina, and the residents of North Carolina's 3rd Congressional District are better off thanks to the lifelong service and dedication of Walter Jones".

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Jones, who had just begun his 13th term in the House of Representatives, was a fairly reliable constitutionalist, with a lifetime score of 81 percent on The New American's Freedom Index. But Jones deserves recognition and tribute for reasons that all Americans, including ones who would have disagreed with him on many issues, ought to appreciate.

'Congressman Walter B. Jones, Jr. was the true embodiment of a public servant, ' North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis said in a statement.

"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".

" I worked with Congressman Jones for many years to draw down our endless wars - he served with conviction and compassion".

Jones is a 1966 graduate of Atlantic Christian College, now Barton College.

He served in the North Carolina state House from 1982 through 1992, where he often clashed with Democratic leaders.

Gov. Roy Cooper took to Twitter.

Joe Anne Jones and her husband Walter have one daughter, Ashley Elizabeth Jones.

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