Politics

Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Chris Jones Visits Hope on His “Promise of Arkansas” Tour

Life-long Arkansas resident Dr. Chris Jones is running for governor with the Democratic Party of Arkansas. In an ambitious journey, he plans to visit all 75 counties in the state in the next 30 days on his “Promise of Arkansas” tour. He met with a crowd of potential supporters in the Media Room at the Hempstead County Library on Wednesday afternoon.

Jones is a seventh generation Arkansan who grew up in the Pine Bluff area. His grandfather, who had a profound impact on him growing up, was a truck driver who sold watermelons in his spare time. Jones often assisted him, drawing wisdom as the pair worked.

“He often said, ‘Get an education. Once it’s in your head, no one can take it out,’” Jones said of his grandfather. It’s advice that caused Jones to develop a passion for education, leading him to Morehouse and MIT, as well as NASA.

In addition to his educational drive, Jones was also inspired by a meeting with Bill Clinton when he (Jones) was eight years old. Clinton was governor at the time.

“I remember asking my father, ‘What does a governor do?’ and they we went home and looked it up. I knew then that I wanted to enter politics, because I saw how a governor can make a difference in people’s lives.”

As Jones grew up, he pursued degrees in science and engineering, but never lost sight of his political dreams.

“Another thing that my grandfather always said was, ‘Go help somebody else,’ and that’s something that I want to do. To make a real difference in Arkansas.”

Jones’ main talking point was his effort to “spread PB&J across the state.” While that may initially sound simple, it’s an acronym that stands for “Preschool, Broadband, and Jobs,” three points that Jones believes can positively change lives in Arkansas.

“Preschool is fairly self-explanatory. I have a passion for education, and I believe that early childhood education is something that all Arkansas families can benefit from. Broadband is an integral part of any state’s infrastructure, but it’s just the beginning. It’s 2022, no family should have to drive 30 minutes to sit at a McDonald’s to get their kid’s homework done. And jobs are essential. We need high-quality, high-paying jobs for our citizens.”

All across the state, Jones said, there are problems being ignored, from drug addiction to broken bridges. Part of that, he said, is because the solutions to the problems facing the state are “clustered” rather than “spread out,” with certain areas of the state thriving while others go unnoticed.

“I ran track in high school, and my coaches always went on about coming out of the blocks strong. That’s what we want for our Arkansas families, to come out strong. If my grandparents had a little more support, who knows what they could have accomplished.”

Jones also said he believes that many Arkansans are discouraged when it comes to voting.

“We have about three million people in the state, and almost one million of them didn’t come out to vote in the presidential election.”

Jones said that he believes that the promise of Arkansas is the realization that when communities come together, they can solve problems.

“We’ve got to work hard, don’t give up, and work together to make Arkansas strong.”

On his tour, Jones expects to see regional issues across different communities, but he also expects to see many issues repeated across all areas of the state, especially when it comes to infrastructure. Jones believes that a big part of his job, if elected, will be to help remove the friction from the system to help Arkansans glide to opportunity.

“The people impacted must be at the table when decisions are made,” Jones said. “We all have to put skin in the game, whether that’s voting, mentoring, or volunteering.”

As part of Jones’ tour, he’s holding an in-person and virtual rally on February 5, and is asking all participants to go out and do something positive in their community. Filing begins February 22, and May 24 is Election Day. He urges anyone interested in helping his campaign, whether through donations or volunteering, to go to his campaign website, chrisforgovernor.com

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