Vetting Interview with WALTER JONES
This interview was conducted in person by Rick Hopkins, Glenn Fink, and Raynor James on May 4, 2016.
1) Name, candidate position, address, phone, and email?
U.S. House of Representatives
Post Office Box 668, Farmville, North Carolina, 27828
2) Educational background? Experience? Demonstrations of leadership?
Attended Farmville High School
Graduated from Hargrave Military Academy
Attended NC State
Graduated from Atlantic Christian College with a degree in history
I served in the NC House for 10 years as a Democrat. During that time, I was one of 20 Democrats who worked with Governor Jim Martin to unseat the Democrat Speaker of the House. I believe that changed NC for the better.
I have served in Congress for 20 years. I am a proud Republican and a proud conservative.
3) Memberships and associations?
I am a Catholic. I converted. I came from a southern Baptist background.
I am a member of the Board of Directors of an east Carolina vocational group that works with disabled adults.
4) Why are you running for this office?
I have the best staff in America. Policy issues are important, but taking care of the people who call my office for help is the most important.
Let me give you an example. In 2004, I met a paralyzed soldier from Washington, North Carolina at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C. His dad showed me a tennis ball sized piece of metal that had been removed from his back.
Later the paralyzed soldier became addicted to pain medication. I was asked to get help for him. Jason Lowry called Colonel Hamilton (who is soon to be a general), and Colonel Hamilton helped get the former soldier back into a hospital to help him recover from his addition.
I also get requests for help with Social Security problems, bankruptcy problems, and things of that sort. Because of my experience and that of my great staff, we can usually help. I’m sure my two opponents would work to do the same thing, but they have no experience at it.
In another situation, I was able to get the money for needed dredging in a couple of places including Onslow County. Those sorts of things are important.
5) What is the organizational structure of your campaign, fund raising capability, etc.?
You’ve met the lady who is running my campaign. It’s small and simple. Basically, I have 2 people working on my campaign with me. I don’t like to raise money. I would like to see campaign finance reform enacted. You can find out about money raised by various candidates and from whom it was raised if you go to opensecrets.com.
6) Which of the Founding Fathers do you most admire? Why?
As I get older, Washington. He warned us not to meddle in foreign affairs, and I believe that is good advice.
7) Margaret Thatcher once said, “Consensus is a lack of leadership.” Do you agree? Why or why not?
I probably disagree.
If you don’t influence people to do the good things that can be done, you lose the ability to make positive change.
8) Which President do you most admire?
Kennedy. He was a conservative Democrat.
After that, Reagan. He was the first Republican I ever voted for.
9) Do you believe the Founding Fathers intended the Constitution to be an evolving document whose meaning changes with time?
Not really. Do we try to change the words in the Bible? Whether it’s the Bible or the Constitution, if you follow the document, you have a strong guide.
10) Discuss an ethical dilemma you faced. What happened? How did you resolve it?
Since “Citizens United,” the influence of money in D.C. has been a continuing problem. Policy items get to the floor because outside interests want them to. For example, an item came to the floor that, if passed, would have allowed contracts for the purchase and sale of mobile homes to have a provision to automatically raise the interest rate charged people who get behind in their payments to 11% (going up from the previously set 8%).
Now there are an awful lot of people of modest means in eastern North Carolina who would be adversely affected by raising the interest rate. However, Warren Buffet owns 91% of the mobile home businesses in America. The result was that we were evaluating the interests of the folks in ENC vs. Buffett. I was the only Republican to vote against it. I believe my Congressional office is The People’s office.
11) Where do individual rights come from?
Individual rights are given by God. (God gave Adam and Eve freedom, but they proved they couldn’t handle it.)
12) What do you know about Common Core? What is your position on it, and why?
I’m opposed to Common Core. I think it’s continuing down the wrong road. In 1995, I ran on eliminating the Federal Department of Education (which came in under Jimmy Carter). I didn’t vote for No Child Left Behind. I didn’t vote for the follow up bill either even though it was sponsored by Virginia Foxx who is a friend of mine.
The formation of the Federal Department of Education began the downfall of education.
13) What is your opinion on gun ownership, registration, and gun free zones?
Citizens of this country who follow the laws and the Constitution should not be prevented from owning a gun.
The idea of gun free zones may be something for local people to discuss, but not at the state or federal level.
14) What does the phrase “Separation of Church and State” mean to you?
Thomas Jefferson first broached the issue. The government should not be in the church under any circumstances.
The “Johnson Amendment” says that if there is any political speech in a church, it could lose its tax exempt status. I’ve worked to try to get a church bill for twelve years now. Churches have stopped speaking about the issues of the day.
15) If elected, what would be your number one priority item during your term in office?
Stop sending money we don’t have in the bank. All our citizens would benefit from that. The rich and the poor – everyone.
16) What are your views on International Treaties and their impact on Constitutional rights?
American sovereignty has been sold out too many times. I’m more on the side of Ron Paul in international affairs. As a practical example, I voted against the Central American Free Trade Agreement.
17) Do you believe withholding funding for programs is an ethical way to prevent their implementation?
Congress has the right to withhold funds – especially when the President is not upholding the Constitution.
We knew back in November that the President was planning to bring in illegal refugees from Syria and Iraq, yet the Party brought a bill to the floor that would make the funding for it easier. Steve King and I were the only Republicans to vote against it.