Rep. Jones not likely to debate election opponent - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Rep. Jones not likely to debate election opponent

Rep. Walter Jones spoke to the Wilmington South Rotary group's luncheon at the Cape Fear Country Club. Rep. Walter Jones spoke to the Wilmington South Rotary group's luncheon at the Cape Fear Country Club.

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Congressman Walter B. Jones spent time in the southern-most part of his district Wednesday, after not spending much time there leading up the recent Republican primary election. Rep. Jones spoke to the Wilmington South Rotary group's luncheon at the Cape Fear Country Club.

Members of the nine-term congressman's staff say the distance between the two ends of the Third Congressional District (approximately 290 miles) is longer than the distance between Jones' hometown of Farmville to the U.S. Capitol Building (approximately 280 miles). The North Carolina General Assembly added parts of New Hanover and Pender Counties to the district in 2011 during redistricting. Jones says that has made it difficult for him to get to the new areas.

"I can understand the frustration of being in the split counties because of the 22 counties in the district more than half of them are split, including my home county of Pitt," Jones told Jon Evans of WECT news. "But, it can work. The people just have to make up their minds that we are going to be part of that district, we are going to ask for the service of the congressman's staff and ask the congressman to help us grow.

Jones talked to the Rotary group about several issues, including his continued effort to bring an end to the war in Afghanistan. Jones has criticized the effort since its' inception. "If you look at the history of Afghanistan, no nation has ever changed it," he says.  "Why are we spending ten billion dollars a month? Why are our kids losing their legs, their arms, and their lives? It makes no sense. I will continue to work to get our troops out as soon as possible."

One of the rotary members asked Jones his thoughts on the pending Supreme Court ruling on President Obama's Healthcare Reform plan. The ruling is expected in the next few weeks.  "I hope the Supreme Court will rule that you cannot mandate healthcare on the people," Jones answered.  "There are a number of people in Washington, in both parties, who feel that there are very few aspects of "Obamacare" that make sense for the people, but the majority of it doesn't. I think if the Supreme Court rules that it is illegal, that will initiate some changes in Washington, but I don't know how deep those changes will be."

Jones says he plans to be in the area at least two more times before the General Election in November. He is running against Erik Anderson, a Democrat from Winterville and political newcomer. When Evans asked the Congressman whether he would be willing to sit down in the WECT newsroom and discuss the issues of the campaign with his opponent, Jones hedged and said he would have to evaluate the invitation at a later time.

"If a man has never served in public office, even locally as a town official, they know nothing about the issues. I know about the issues because I am on the inside to evaluate them," he said referring to Anderson.

"So he doesn't deserve the opportunity to sit down with you to discuss the issues?" Evans asked the Congressman.

"I think not." he answered.  "I have a record of 18 years of public service. I think people know where I stand on the issues."

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