Delegate Chris Jones (R-Suffolk) finished his 21st session in the Virginia General Assembly on March 10. Though, it was extended a few weeks longer to finish the state’s biennium budget, which he oversees as chairman of the House Appropriations committee.
His career is dotted with instances of great personal relationships with members of the General Assembly, his constituents, and regular ,everyday people. Jones’ personal approach to politics, which he prides himself on, has now won him a spot on the 2018 Inside Business Power List, according to The Virginian-Pilot.
Jones said he finds the work in the General Assembly to be “very rewarding.” For example, according to the report, he recently got a call of appreciation from someone with the Virginia State Police, thanking him for an increase in pay.
“We impacted their lives, and their families, with a well-deserved raise,” he said.
Nevertheless, Jones still regards the economy as his region’s most pressing issue, an area that encompasses parts of Suffolk and Chesapeake. Even though he cannot wave a magic job-creating wand, he is encouraged by the economic potential of the GO Virginia Initiative.
The program is set to bring economic development to areas by using state grants to encourage regional cooperation with business and the citizens within the area. Instead of building economic prowess via market competition, community building will attempt to attract new businesses.
The veteran Republican lawmaker also said that immense strides have been made in terms with mental health issues in Virginia. The implementation of the addiction, recovery, and treatment services (ARTS) program has been successful across the state in reducing dangerous situations with mentally-ill Virginians and giving them the medical and psychiatric help they need.
The challenge is that, “there are always more needs than resources,” requiring tough choices Jones, the career pharmacist, said.
Something else happened to Jones during the 2018 General Assembly session, but not within the halls of the capitol. He was attacked outside his Richmond apartment after coming to the aid of a homeless woman.
“We had each other’s throat,” Jones said of the attacker, who was threatening to harm a homeless woman who frequented the bench outside his downtown apartment. “I wasn’t letting him go. And he wasn’t letting me go.”
As local police officers arrived and detained the attacker, a bystander and neighbor of Jones said, “I’m sure he saved a life.”
Even though he got his dress shirt ripped and scratches around his neck, he went to work down on Bank Street right afterwards.
When is comes to affecting change, Jones does it both inside and outside of the political world – a measure on life he’s taken since he opened his own business in the late 1980s.
“I feel very, very fortunate to have the opportunity to represent Hampton Roads, where I was born and raised and plan to retire,” Jones said.