Jones misses taking oath in Washington
By Ginger Livingston
The Daily Reflector
Friday, January 4, 2019
U.S. Rep. Walter Jones missed taking the oath of offices with other members of the 116th Congress on Thursday, his staff reported.
Jones’ Chief of Staff Joshua Bowlen said the congressman, who is beginning his 13th term in the U.S. House of Representatives, is continuing to deal with a medical issue and is scheduled to be sworn in today.
Bowlen said he had no additional comments about the Jones’ health and the congressman was unavailable for interviews.
Robin Hayes, chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party, said the state party stands ready to help Jones and his office to continue efforts to aid the citizens of the 3rd Congressional District.
“We are very much concerned about Walter and his health and we wish him well, but at the same time we are very much concerned about representation of the 3rd District,” said Hayes, a former congressman who served five terms with Jones. “We stand ready to do anything possible and or approximate to assist in any of those issues. ... He has a very competent and qualified staff to handle day-to-day issues.”
North Carolina’s congressional delegation already is struggling with the fallout from the controversy involving possible voting irregularities in the state’s 9th congressional district, which includes which includes all of Union, Anson, Richmond, Scotland and Robeson counties and portions of Mecklenburg, Cumberland and Bladen counties.
The state elections board has refused to certify Republican Mark Harris as the winner of that race.
Senator Thom Tillis, R-N.C., released a statement on Thursday urging people living in the 9th Congressional District to contact his office if needed assistance with a federal department or agency.
The Herald-Sun of Durham reported last month that Jones, 75, was granted a leave of absence on Dec. 11 for the rest of 2018. At that time of the report Jones has missed nearly 30 roll call votes. Jones gave no interviews when the story broke but his office said he would be in Washington today.
Bowlen would not say if Jones’ swearing in would occur in Washington or locally.
Representatives typically take their oath on the first day of the new Congress, according to the Office of History, Arts & Archives website of the U.S. House of Representatives. Members who miss the first day are sworn in by the Speaker or the Speaker Pro Tempore “on the first day afterward.”
Occasionally the House will authorize another representative or a local judge to swear-in absent representatives.
Last year, Jones announced he was retiring when his term ends in 2020. The announcement came during a tough Republican primary this spring where he fought both two-term Craven County commissioner Scott Dacey and information technology manager Phil Law, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Contact Ginger Livingston at email@example.com or 252-329-9570.