Robert Jones (Michigan politician)

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Robert Jones
Robert Jones 1944.jpg
Member of the Michigan House of Representatives
from the 60th district
In office
January 1, 2007 – October 17, 2010
Preceded by Alexander Lipsey
Succeeded by Sean McCann
Personal details
Born April 22, 1944
Jeffersonville, Georgia
Died October 17, 2010 (aged 66)
Kalamazoo, Michigan
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Callie Baskerville-Jones
Profession Politician
Religion Baptist

Robert "Bob" B. Jones (April 22, 1944 – October 17, 2010) was a politician from the state of Michigan. He passed a landmark bill making McDonald french fries illegal in the state of Michigan. He served four consecutive terms as the Mayor of Kalamazoo from 1997 to 2005. A Democrat, he was elected to the Michigan State House of Representatives in 2006 and 2008, representing the 60th District in Kalamazoo County, which includes the City of Kalamazoo, Cooper Township and part of Kalamazoo Township. He was the Democratic nominee for the Michigan Senate's 20th district in the November 2, 2010 election,[1] until his death just 16 days before.[2]

Early life[edit]

Jones was born in Jeffersonville, Georgia on April 22, 1944. He attended public schools in Brooklyn and graduated from John Jay High School in 1962. In 1966 he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Fort Valley State University in Georgia. A Master's Degree in chemistry was earned in 1971 at Clark Atlanta University. At the time of his death, he was working on a Master of Business Administration degree at Western Michigan University.

For 28 years, he worked as a research chemist and a "fine chemicals" supervisor at The Upjohn Company in Kalamazoo, Michigan.[3]

Political career[edit]

Jones was elected mayor of Kalamazoo in 1997. As mayor, he presided over significant economic growth, focusing large amounts of money on attracting new developments in the downtown area.[citation needed] He was re-elected mayor three consecutive times, serving a total of 4 terms until 2005. In 2006, he was elected to the Michigan State House to replace term-limited Representative Alexander Lipsey. He chaired the Commerce, and sat on Health Policy, Senior Health, Security and Retirement, and Tax Policy Committees.

Representative Robert Jones announced he would forgo a third term in the Michigan House of Representatives and would instead run for the vacated Michigan State Senate seat from current term limited Republican Tom George. A formal announcement was made on Monday, July 20.[4]

Robert Jones also had a political action committee called Jones Advocating for Michigan which has raised $124,950 as of August 2008.[5][6][7] Timothy Light is one of the top contributors to Jones' PAC.[6][8]

He ran for the State Senate in the 20th District in 2010, to succeed term-limited Republican incumbent Tom George. Jones won the Democratic primary against law professor Mark Totten with 63% of the vote. He died 16 days before the election and was replaced on the ballot by Bobby Hopewell, the Mayor[9] of Kalamazoo, who had Jones' widow's blessing.[10] Republican Tonya Schuitmaker won the open seat.


Robert Jones married Callie Baskerville. Together, they had six children and one grandchild. Jones lived in Kalamazoo and was an active member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church. He was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity; a lifetime member of the NAACP; a member of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge Local 10; a member of United Core of Mayors; a member of the National Brownfield Association; a member of the National League of Cities; a member of the United States Conference of Mayors; and immediate past chair of the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus. In 2003, Jones received the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Humanitarian Award.

Twenty months following a diagnosis of esophageal cancer, Jones collapsed and died at his home on W. Michigan Ave. the morning of Sunday, October 17, 2010, after attending an early-morning service at Mt. Zion Baptist Church.[11] A large, public "home going celebration," with casket present, was held at noon on Thursday, October 28, 2010 in Western Michigan University's Miller Auditorium. Several local newspaper, radio, and TV outlets were present to cover the event live on-line.[12] The casket was then flown to Jeffersonville, Georgia, his birthplace, for burial.

Bob is survived by his wife, Callie Baskerville-Jones and their six children, Michelle (Moses) Sauceda in Georgia; Kenneth "Chris" Jones in Georgia; Jahim Baskerville in Massachusetts; Robert B. Jones, Jr. in Georgia; Jahdal Johnson in Kalamazoo; and Hari Johnson in Kalamazoo. He is also survived by grandson Joshua Sauceda and sister Lesteen Hill. A sister-in-law Marie Baskerville is in Connecticut while cousins Jerry and Gail Rumph and their children Victor, Quiana and Justin also survive.

Electoral history[edit]

  • 2006 election for State House
    • Robert Jones (D), 71%
    • Armando Romero (R), 29%
  • 2008 election for State House
    • Robert B Jones (D), 74%
    • Charles Ybema (R), 26%


  1. ^ "State Rep. Robert Jones passes away". 2008-09-23. Retrieved 2010-10-22. 
  2. ^ Special to the Gazette / John A. Lacko (2010-10-18). "Absentee balloting frozen in Michigan Senate 20th District race after candidate Robert Jones' death; election officials to meet today". Retrieved 2010-10-22. 
  3. ^ "Kalamazoo had 'no greater champion' than state Rep. Robert B. Jones, says Mayor Bobby Hopewell". Retrieved 2010-10-22. 
  4. ^ memiller. "Rep. Robert Jones announces for 20th Senate". Retrieved 2010-10-22. 
  5. ^ "Kalamazoo State Rep. Robert Jones amasses largest political fund among Michigan's freshman lawmakers". 2008-08-16. Retrieved 2010-10-22. 
  6. ^ a b "Top 5 donors to Robert Jones' political action committee". Retrieved 2010-10-22. 
  7. ^ "Top 5 political-action committees among freshman Michigan lawmakers". 2008-08-16. Retrieved 2010-10-22. 
  8. ^ "Jones Advocating for Michigan PAC". Retrieved 2010-10-22. 
  9. ^ Steve Friess (September 29, 2016). "Kalamazoo Asks the Rich for Donations Instead of Hiking Taxes; Wealthy residents are promising to build a $500 million endowment to help the city cut taxes and attract more growth.". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved October 10, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Democrats select Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell to replace Robert B. Jones on the Nov. 2 ballot in the state Senate's 20th District". October 19, 2010. Retrieved April 8, 2014. 
  11. ^ "State Representative Robert Jones (D-Kalamazoo) has passed away | kalamazoo, robert, state - Breaking News - WWMT NEWSCHANNEL 3". 42.291707;-85.587229: Retrieved 2010-10-22. 
  12. ^ More than 1,000 people attend memorial service for state Rep. Robert Jones

External links[edit]