Congressional Challenger Focused on Conversation

Marine veteran and Paralympic athlete Rob Jones has announced plans to challenge Rep. Jennifer T. Wexton (D-VA-10) in 2020 as a Republican.

And although he announced his candidacy in July, he said he expects to roll out his first campaign planks in September.

“A lot of that has to do with the fact that I’m new to politics, so right now we’re taking a lot of time to do a lot of policy training, a lot of research,” Jones said. He said he’s “delving into the research before I really come out with a firm position on anything.”

What prompted him to get into the race, he said, was a “void of leadership.”

“My life ever since I joined the Marine Corps has been about leadership, selflessness and service,” Jones said. “I don’t see those three things being represented very often in Congress, and so when I say leadership, I mean taking responsibility for everything under your purview.”

He said that includes escorting a bill out of a member of Congress’s own chamber.

“What I see in current representation is a tendency to kind of pass the buck on to the next person—like, we passed this bill in the House of Representatives, and now it’s at the Senate, and the Senate’s not going to pass it, and that’s their fault,” Jones said. “To me, a leader would take full responsibility for that.”

Currently, with congressional chambers divided between the two major political parties, bills that pass in the House of Representatives often stall in the Senate, and vice versa.

Jones said he would address that by opening lines of communication with people with different views—although he acknowledged this has been said by candidates before.

“It’s a comment that you hear a lot, but the first step is to actually be genuine in that comment,” Jones said. “So you might hear people say that, and then they go on Twitter and they blast someone on Twitter or whatever. So they’re not really acting in keeping with what they said.”

Locally, he said, he wants to make progress on infrastructure—particularly traffic—and cell phone and internet connectivity.

“The problem is, too many cars on the road, not enough road surface,” Jones said. “So we need to think of creative ways that we can convince people to take their cars off the road and make it worth their while. Obviously, it’s not convenient to ride on the bus or go to the Metro or whatever, and it costs money, and so you have to make it convenient for people.”

And he acknowledged solving those problems will have to be balanced with the desires of people living in the districts’ western areas, who often fight to protect its rural nature.

“They don’t want to see a whole lot of development, they are happy having these wide open spaces,” Jones said.

Jones said he expects his campaign will roll out positions on one to two issues a week in September.

He announced his candidacy on the nine-year anniversary of the day an improvised explosive took both his legs above the knee in Afghanistan in 2010. In the nine years since, he has been busy.

At Walter Reed Army Medical Center, he was fitted with prostheses and learned to bike, row, and run again. He was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps in December 2011, and in 2012 qualified for the Paralympic Games, where he brought home a bronze medal in rowing for the United States.

He went on to bike across the country, raising $126,000 for wounded veterans, and ran 31 marathons in 31 cities in 31 consecutive days, this time raising $225,000 for wounded veterans.

In April, the Stephen Siller Tunnels to Towers Foundation gifted Jones and his wife Pam a a home on a 13-acre property north of Middleburg. Pam and her friend Sarah Waybright began growing produce on the property and selling it through their business Gathering Springs Farm.

Jones is a Lovettsville native and graduate of Loudoun Valley High School. His campaign website is RobJonesforCongress.com.

rgreene@loudounnow.com

2 thoughts on “Congressional Challenger Focused on Conversation

  • 2019-09-03 at 10:23 am
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    So do we take from this that he has ambition but doesn’t yet know what he thinks about issues? Politics is getting so much like selling soap…

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