Robert G. Jones

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Robert Gambrell "Bob" Jones
Louisiana State Senate
In office
1972–1976
Preceded by A. C. "Ace" Clemons, Jr.
Succeeded by William L. McLeod
Louisiana State Representative from Calcasieu Parish
In office
1968–1972
Personal details
Born (1939-05-09) May 9, 1939 (age 75)
Lake Charles, Calcasieu Parish
Louisiana, USA
Nationality American
Political party Republican (since 1979)
Spouse(s) Sarah Quinn Jones
Children Sam Houston Jones, II

G. Quinn Jones
Gambrelle Jones Grichendler
Jennifer Jones

Occupation Stockbroker
Religion Methodist

Robert Gambrell Jones, known as Bob Jones (born May 9, 1939), is a stockbroker in Lake Charles who served in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1968 to 1972 and in the State Senate from 1972 to 1976. He is the son of the late Louisiana Governor Sam H. Jones.

In 1975, Jones was an unsuccessful intraparty opponent to Democratic Governor Edwin Edwards, who secured the second of four nonconsecutive gubernatorial terms in the state's first ever nonpartisan blanket primary. In 1978, Jones switched affiliation to the Republican Party, but he never sought office thereafter as a member of the GOP.


Background[edit]

Jones was born in Lake Charles to Sam Houston Jones (1897–1978) and the former Louise Gambrell Boyer (1902–1996). He was a year old when his father became governor in 1940. He therefore spent his early childhood years in the governor's mansion in Baton Rouge. The Joneses returned to Lake Charles in 1944, when James Houston "Jimmie" Davis became governor. Sam Jones resumed his law practice, and young Jones and his sister, Carolyn, grew up in Lake Charles, the seat of Calcasieu Parish in far southwestern Louisiana. Bob Jones graduated from Lake Charles High School in 1957. (The school was renamed Lake Charles Boston High School when it was desegregated.)

Jones obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from Tulane University in New Orleans. Upon college graduation in 1961, Jones wed the former Sarah Quinn, also from Lake Charles. He was then accepted into the MBA program at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Jones received his MBA in 1962 and returned to Lake Charles to work in the brokerage business.[1]

In the Summer of 1962 he joined regional brokerage firm Kohlmeyer & Co in their Lake Charles office. Kohlmeyer was later absorbed by Thomson McKinnon Securities which later became Prudential Securities, then Wachovia Securities and now Wells Fargo Advisors. Nevertheless, Jones has had the same home phone number and work phone number since 1962.


Jones enters Louisiana politics[edit]

A tall, slender, ectomorphic man, Bob Jones was fully gray-haired before he was thirty, a physical feature which distinguished him from others in a group. His career was proceeding from the state House to the state Senate, but then he ran into an obstacle with his gubernatorial bid.

Bob Jones, at twenty-eight, was elected to the Louisiana House in the 1967-1968 election cycle. He was one of five Democrats in an at-large delegation from Calcasieu and Cameron parishes. He became a leader of the group dubbed by the media as the "Young Turks". Among his reform colleagues was his Caddo Parish friend Don W. Williamson. Jones opposed the construction of the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans and the spending of bond monies on questionable projects. The "Turks" were often seen as a thorn in the side of Governor John J. McKeithen.

In 1972, Rutgers University's Institute of Politics named Jones one of the two best state legislators in the nation. He was also the Lake Charles "Man of the Year."[2]

Jones left the House after a single term, when he was elected to the Senate in a district that encompassed about half of Calcasieu Parish and all of adjacent Jefferson Davis Parish. He succeeded A.C. "Ace" Clemons, Jr., a Democrat elected in 1968 who had switched parties in 1970 and served the second half of his third Senate term as a Republican.


Challenging Edwin Edwards, 1975[edit]

Jones joined Louisiana Secretary of State Wade O. Martin, Jr., in challenging the reelection of Edwin Edwards as governor. Jones claimed that Edwards failed in his promises to reduce crime, unemployment, and the cost of state government.[3] He also alleged that Edwards was partial to South Louisiana in appointments and policies, at the expense of the lesser-populated northern section of the state. No appointments to the State Mineral Board, for instance, came at the time from North Louisiana. Government, said Jones, "should operate on a philosophy of truth and responsiveness."[4] Jones also opposed gambling and urged a revised criminal rehabilitation program for Louisiana. Of Edwards, Jones said that the governor "promised an era of excellence and delivered an era of corruption.".[3]

Jones claimed too that Louisiana AFL-CIO President Victor Bussie of Baton Rouge had "a strnglehold on the legislature and the governor's office. Bussie doesn't have the support of the people, but he owns the governor and much of the legislature."[3]Jones said, "It is unhealthy when one man [Bussie] affects the type of control which Bussie does. He very substantially affects the governor's decisions and bears far more influence than any other politician or leader in Baton Rouge."[1]

Edwards won with 750,107 votes (62.3 percent). Jones polled 292,220 ballots (24.3 percent), and Martin trailed with 146,363 votes (12.2 percent).[5]

After Jones' gubernatorial defeat, he signaled that he might run again in 1979. Edwards ridiculed his opponent: "Yes, I think he's going to run again in four years. That's like the captain of the Titanic advertising for new passengers ... for his next voyage on the Good Ship Iceberg."[6]

Supporting the GOP[edit]

In 1979, Jones did not seek the governorship, as Edwards had predicted. Instead, he supported Republican gubernatorial candidate David C. Treen. Treen thereafter appointed Jones to the Louisiana Racing Commission, where he served from 1980 to 1984. Jones also supported Republican John Henry Baker's attempt to abolish the former office of Louisiana elections commissioner in the 1979 general election. Baker, however, was defeated in the race, and the elections office continued to exist for another twenty-five years before it ceased to exist in 2004.

In the 1980 presidential primaries, Jones contributed to former Governor John B. Connally, Jr., of Texas and U.S. Senator Howard Henry Baker, Jr., of Tennessee. In 1990, he contributed to his former "Young Turk" colleague Ben Bagert, of New Orleans, who later withdrew from the race against Senator J. Bennett Johnston, Jr., of Shreveport. Jones contributed to George Herbert Walker Bush in the 1992 primary against Patrick J. Buchanan.

Jones is of English, Scottish, and Welsh extraction. He is United Methodist, but Mrs. Jones is Roman Catholic. The Joneses have four children. Sam Houston Jones, II (born 1962), G. Quinn Jones, Gambrelle Jones DiGiglia, and Jennifer Jones (born 1979).

Jones filed his legislative papers and gubernatorial campaign memorabilia in the archives of McNeese State University in Lake Charles.


References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Minden first stop on Jones' campaign trail", Minden Press-Herald, May 9, 1975, p. 1
  2. ^ "Lions Host State Candidate", Minden Press-Herald, September 3, 1975, p. 1
  3. ^ a b c "Jones Raps Edwards," Minden Press-Herald, September 5, 1975, p. 1
  4. ^ "Parade Crowd Hears Jones", Minden Press-Herald, October 1, 1975, p. 1
  5. ^ Louisiana Secretary of State, Election returns, November 1, 1975
  6. ^ Minden Press-Herald, December 5, 1975, p. 1
Preceded by
(Three at-large members)
Louisiana State Representative (At-large from Calcasieu and Cameron parishes; later District 36)

Robert Gambrell "Bob" Jones
1968–1972

Succeeded by
(Six members)
Preceded by
A.C. "Ace" Clemons, Jr.
Louisiana State Senator from Calcasieu and Jefferson Davis parishes

Robert Gambrell "Bob" Jones
1972–1976

Succeeded by
William L. McLeod