There are many factors that play into an individual’s decision to run for office. Be it a sense of duty to do a greater good or a personal passion about making a difference (or perhaps a bit of both), there is something inside a potential leader that drives them to do more. The complicated and arduous road to politics is one for which many are unfit. It takes a special, driven, dedicated person to take a stand and fight for what they believe in.
Rob Jones knows all too well what this concept means.
A Marine corporal and combat engineer who lost both of his lower legs when he was hit by a Taliban improvised explosive device in Sangin, Afghanistan in 2010, Jones has dedicated his life to making a difference for others. Holding a deep appreciation for life and liberty, Jones has grabbed national headlines for his efforts of pure grit and athleticism; in 2017, he completed his goal of running 31 marathons, in 31 cities, on 31 days. This was just one feat on a list that would put most laymen to shame.
And yet, in 2019 Jones announced his intentions for yet another challenge to tackle: a run for a seat in Congress representing Virginia’s 10th Congressional District.
Jones writes at length of the responsibility that accompanies the prestige of carrying the Marine title in his blog at RobJonesJourney.com. “The honor of the title, and the culture of the Marine Corps is ingrained into every Marine for their entire life, whether they like it or not, and nobody can ever change that,” he wrote in an entry for Veterans Day in 2018. “And along with that title and culture comes the responsibilities of both. To fight for our country and fellow Marines. And we bear those responsibilities forever. For the rest of our lives, we stand ready to fight in any arena when we are needed. This is the reason that I have made it my life’s mission to be a positive example of a veteran, and it is this purpose that has driven me to achieve everything I have.”
That readiness to fight is a characteristic Jones will need in the political arena. His bravery and ongoing sacrifice have given him a unique worldview that will lend a balanced and thoughtful perspective to his political platform. And perhaps most importantly in today’s political climate, Jones promises to do his part to end the hyper-partisanship that plagues our government.
“Right now in Congress, they have tendency to demonize and dehumanize anyone who doesn’t agree with them,” he said in his campaign announcement video. It is his goal to change that; after all, differences of opinion should facilitate healthy discussion that gives way to a pathway for change.
To that end, Jones’ plans to focus on issues such as healthcare, the opioid epidemic, immigration reform, and proper support of America’s farmers, among many others.
Rob Jones certainly isn’t alone as a veteran running for office, but he is in thin company. It’s true, the incoming class of Congressmen and women in 2018 represented a high for veterans — 150 veterans ran for office across parties, and more than 75 of these veterans were elected. These numbers are a decade high, but they need to show continued growth.
Jones has talked often of his dedication to making America a stronger, safer, more stable place for all families to make their homes. And it is his military background and work ethic that will lend themselves well to his political efforts. He is an example for other veterans to follow, proof that one’s service doesn’t have to come to an end. Jones’ tour of duty was cut short when he suffered his injury, but his service to his country was not. And for veterans who come home wanting to find another avenue to fight for their countries, the path Rob Jones has started down may well be one to follow.