Let me tell you a little about myself so you know many of us share more than just home. I was born in North Louisiana and will be buried in North Louisiana. My family has lived in Caddo Parish for six generations. I know most every politician claims to have been born in a log cabin. I wasn’t. But my grandfather was. His name was Marshall Carl Jones. He had a third grade education, was a heavily decorated World War I veteran, and a roughneck in the oil patch beginning in 1906. He was wounded twice in battle in France in 1918 – “The Battle of the Argonne Woods” – it was the bloodiest battle in American history. He was a patriot who had a huge impact on me.
I was born to two loving parents. Our family home was on Atkins Street, literally next door to my grandfather’s home.
My dad’s name was also Marshall Jones but everyone called him “Bubba.” He was the best man I’ve ever known. He was a man of faith who had a profound impact upon me. My dad was the first person in the Jones family to receive a college degree. I was the second to receive a college degree. My sister, Judge Frances Jones Pitman was the third. It was my grandfather with the third grade education who told us regularly that education is a key to success in life.
My dad was a petroleum engineer and a drilling contractor. He worked his drilling rigs during downturns in the oil business, operating at a loss just to keep his hard working drilling crew employed. My dad was the North American trapshooting champion and a near-world champion duck caller. I literally grew up in duck blinds throughout Louisiana from age 4.
My mom’s name was Joan Coughlin Jones. She was beautiful, artistic, and athletic. And she was proud of her Irish heritage that traces back to County Cork, Ireland. We tragically lost mom in a house fire a few years ago. She was one brave woman during her last week after the fire.
I grew up on Atkins Street near the Centenary Gold Dome. I attended Creswell Elementary School, Broadmoor Middle School and C.E. Byrd High School – “the City of Byrd” – all great public schools. I am the product of the Caddo Parish School System during the period of forced integration – the late 60s and early 70s.
I recall meeting one of my best friends, James Stewart – now the Caddo Parish District Attorney – on the first day of “desegregation” of Broadmoor Middle School. We were 12 or 13 and played football and basketball together. We were teammates who were united by sports during a time a racial turmoil. James and I stayed at Byrd High School together the first year of “forced integration.” Because of the racial tension, there were police officers stationed all around Byrd for weeks.
Playing football for the Byrd “Yellow Jackets” is still one of the highlights of my life – being a part of something bigger than me for the first time and uniting with young athletes of different races and different backgrounds -that led to two really good teams in a row that went to the state football playoffs. Two of my best friends received scholarships to go play for LSU. My only claim to fame is that I started on Byrd football teams where about everyone was a better athlete than me, and I was awarded the Scholastic Award after my senior season for my GPA.
I learned a lot at Byrd High School – how to work as a team with persons who are from different backgrounds, and how to be successful. Together we can make a difference. My high school coaches and teammates, both black and white, had a huge impact upon me. I also learned the value of public education and public schools. Were it not for public schools, many of you would not be standing here today. If it were not for public schools there would be more have-nots and haves. God bless our public schools and bless our teachers. It makes me angry when they are disrespected.
I received a business degree from Southern Methodist University’s “Cox School of Business,” majoring in accounting. I graduated from SMU in three years with good grades – grades good enough to allow me to be admitted to LSU School of Law. I made good grades in law school and became a member of the Law Review. Early in legal education, I became a supporter of a strict construction of our United States Constitution.
I have practiced business law and oil and gas law for 37 years. I primarily represent small businesses and persons/ entities involved in the oil and gas industry. For decades I have also provided legal services – pro bona – for “faith-based” organizations as well as those who are mentally or physically challenged. I am very proud of the fact that during my 37 years of practicing law, I have not had a single ethical complaint filed against me – not one.
I am also a businessman, an oil and gas operator, and operate a farm. My hobbies include hunting, fishing and spending time at our farm on Caddo Lake.
I am married to the beautiful redhead Cindy Thompson Jones. She is as smart and kind as she is beautiful. She is from South Webster Parish. She is a very successful banker. We met over 25 years ago at a loan closing at Hibernia Bank in New Orleans, where she worked. When I first asked her out on a date, she politely said “no.” I am very fortunate that she finally said “yes” and agreed to go on a date with me, and later said “yes” when I asked her to marry me.
I am now the father of three children and the grandfather of seven. Their future is bright, but two of my children already live away from this area and the third knows that she can’t return unless the opportunities change. I want them all to be able to come home and thrive here. I want your kids to stay and feel proud of their home town. I want you and your family to prosper with new jobs and economic development and the promise that the next generation will be better off than the last. That’s what you want too. The difference is, I’m the only candidate with the business experience to make our dream a reality.
This election is about our children, our families and their futures. Join with me. Together we can do better.