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Jim Jones
James Robert Jones.jpg
United States Ambassador to Mexico
In office
September 10, 1993 – June 25, 1997
President Bill Clinton
Preceded by John Negroponte
Succeeded by Jeffrey Davidow
Chair of the House Budget Committee
In office
January 3, 1981 – January 3, 1985
Preceded by Robert Giaimo
Succeeded by William H. Gray III
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oklahoma's 1st district
In office
January 3, 1973 – January 3, 1987
Preceded by Page Belcher
Succeeded by Jim Inhofe
White House Chief of Staff
De facto
In office
April 26, 1968 – January 20, 1969
President Lyndon B. Johnson
Preceded by W. Marvin Watson (de facto)
Succeeded by H. R. Haldeman
White House Appointments Secretary
In office
April 26, 1968 – January 20, 1969
President Lyndon B. Johnson
Preceded by W. Marvin Watson
Succeeded by Dwight Chapin
Personal details
James Robert Jones

(1939-05-05) May 5, 1939 (age 84)
Muskogee, Oklahoma, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Education University of Oklahoma (BA)
Georgetown University (LLB)
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Branch/service  United States Army
Years of service 1964–1965 (active)
1961–1968 (reserve)
Rank US-O3 insignia.svg Captain
Unit Army Intelligence Corps
Army Reserve

James Robert Jones (born May 5, 1939) is an American lawyer, diplomat, Democratic politician, a retired U.S. Congressman from Oklahoma, and a former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico under President Bill Clinton.

Jones grew up in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and was involved in politics at an early age. He worked as a legislative assistant to U.S. Representative Ed Edmondson and as Appointments Secretary to U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson.

In 1972, after returning to Oklahoma, Jones ran for Oklahoma's 1st congressional district. He won and was re-elected six times. During his tenure in Congress, which lasted until 1987, Jones served four years as the Chairman of the House Budget Committee.

Early life and career

Jones was born and educated in Muskogee, Oklahoma. By the age of 12, Jones was campaigning for Ed Edmondson's bid for Congress. He received his B.A. degree in 1961 from the University of Oklahoma, where he also joined Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. Jones was accepted at Georgetown University Law Center (in Washington, D.C.) and graduated with an LL.B. in 1964.

Jones enlisted and served in the U.S. Army Reserve (from 1961 to 1968) and also served briefly in the Army Counterintelligence Corps (at the rank of captain, from 1964 to 1965). Jones was also admitted to the Oklahoma bar in 1964 and commenced his practice of law in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Political career

Political staffer

Jones's first important political job was as the legislative assistant for Congressman Ed Edmondson (1961–1964). In 1965, Jones moved from Congress to the White House, where he served as Appointments Secretary (and de facto Chief of Staff) to U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson. At that time, Jones was the youngest person to hold the position of Appointments Secretary.

Congressional service

After Johnson left office, Jones returned to Oklahoma and resumed his law practice in Tulsa. In 1970, he ran against 10-term incumbent Republican Page Belcher in Oklahoma's 1st congressional district. He gave Belcher only his second credible reelection contest ever, holding him to 55 percent of the vote—a surprisingly close margin, considering that Belcher was ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee.

Jones was priming for a rematch in 1972, but Belcher didn't have the stomach for another bruising contest and pulled out of the race in June. The Republicans recruited Tulsa Mayor Jim Hewgley as a replacement. However, Jones won the November election by a fairly convincing 11-point margin—a surprising result, considering that Richard Nixon easily carried the 1st in the presidential election (Nixon won Tulsa County with a staggering 78 percent of the vote). Jones is the first and only Democrat to have represented Tulsa in Congress since Dixie Gilmer left office in 1951; he was re-elected six times, serving until January 1987.

As a member of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, Jones secured House backing for a conservative tax cut in 1978. In 1979, he joined the House Budget Committee. Jones also was able to get Democrats to add more fiscal conservatives to the Budget Committee.

Jones decided to give up his House seat in 1986 to run against Republican incumbent Senator Don Nickles, even though he'd only narrowly defeated future governor Frank Keating two years earlier for reelection to his House seat. He lost to Nickles by 10 points.

Jones in 2010.

Work after Congress

In 1987, Jones resumed the practice of law, joining the Washington-based firm of Dickstein Shapiro. He later served as the Chairman of the American Stock Exchange (1989 to 1993). After the election of Democratic President Bill Clinton, Jones was appointed the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico and served from 1993 until 1997. In February, 2003, he was inaugurated Chairman of the World Affairs Councils of America.

Presently, he is a resident of Tulsa and Washington, D.C. He is a partner in the law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. He also serves on the board of directors of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Jones also is a member of the advisory board for the Mexico Institute.

In 1994, Jones was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.

The Constitution Project

Jones agreed to serve on The Constitution Project's Guantanamo Task Force in December 2010.

See also

  • Politics of Oklahoma
  • Oklahoma Democratic Party
  • Oklahoma Congressional Districts
  • United States Ambassador to Mexico
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