James R. Jones

James Robert Jones (born May 5, 1939) is an American lawyer, diplomat, Democratic politician, a retired U.S. Congressman from Oklahoma, and a former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico.

Jim Jones
United States Ambassador to Mexico
In office
September 10, 1993  June 25, 1997
PresidentBill Clinton
Preceded byJohn Negroponte
Succeeded byJeffrey Davidow
Chair of the House Budget Committee
In office
January 3, 1981  January 3, 1985
Preceded byRobert Giaimo
Succeeded byWilliam H. Gray III
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oklahoma's 1st district
In office
January 3, 1973  January 3, 1987
Preceded byPage Belcher
Succeeded byJim Inhofe
White House Appointments Secretary
In office
April 26, 1968  January 20, 1969
PresidentLyndon B. Johnson
Preceded byW. Marvin Watson
Succeeded byDwight Chapin
H. R. Haldeman (Chief of Staff)
Personal details
James Robert Jones

(1939-05-05) May 5, 1939
Muskogee, Oklahoma, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationUniversity of Oklahoma (BA)
Georgetown University (LLB)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1964–1965 (active)
1961–1968 (reserve)
Rank Captain
UnitArmy Intelligence Corps
Army Reserve

Jones grew up in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and was involved in politics at an early age.[1] He worked as a legislative assistant to U.S. Representative Ed Edmondson and as Appointments Secretary to U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson.

In 1972, after returning to Oklahoma, Jones ran for Oklahoma's 1st congressional district. He won the election and was re-elected six times. During his tenure in Congress, which lasted until 1987, Jones served four years as the Chairman of the House Budget Committee.

Early life and career

Jones was born and educated in Muskogee, Oklahoma. By the age of 12, Jones was campaigning for Ed Edmondson's bid for Congress.[1] He received his B.A. degree in 1961 from the University of Oklahoma, where he also joined Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. Jones was accepted at Georgetown University Law Center (in Washington, D.C.) and graduated with a law degree (LLB) in 1964.

Jones enlisted and served in the U.S. Army Reserve (from 1961 to 1968) and also served briefly in the Army Counterintelligence Corps (at the rank of Captain, from 1964 to 1965). Jones was also admitted to the Oklahoma bar in 1964 and commenced his practice of law in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Political career

Political staffer

Jones first important political job was as the legislative assistant for Congressman Ed Edmondson (1961–1964). Then, in 1965, Jones moved from the United States Congress to the White House where he served as Appointments Secretary (Chief of Staff) to U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, the youngest person to hold that position (until Johnson left office on January 20, 1969).

Congressional service

After Johnson left office, Jones returned to Oklahoma and resumed his law practice in Tulsa. In 1970, he ran against 10-term incumbent Republican Page Belcher in Oklahoma's 1st congressional district. He gave Belcher only his second credible reelection contest ever, holding him to 55 percent of the vote—a surprisingly close margin, considering that Belcher was ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee.

Jones was priming for a rematch in 1972, but Belcher didn't have the stomach for another bruising contest and pulled out of the race in June. The Republicans recruited Tulsa Mayor Jim Hewgley as a replacement. However, Jones won the November election by a fairly convincing 11-point margin—a surprising result, considering that Richard Nixon easily carried the 1st in the presidential election (Nixon won Tulsa with a staggering 78 percent of the vote). Jones was re-elected six times, serving until January 1987.

As a member of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, Jones secured House backing for a conservative tax cut in 1978.[1] In 1979, he joined the House Budget Committee.[1] Jones also was able to get Democrats to add more fiscal conservatives to the Budget Committee.[1]

Jones decided to give up his House seat in 1986 to run against Republican incumbent U.S. Senator Don Nickles, even though he'd only narrowly defeated future Governor Frank Keating two years earlier for reelection to his House seat. He lost to Nickles by 10 points.

He is also a member of the advisory board for the Mexico Institute.

Work after Congress

In 1987, Jones resumed the practice of law, joining the Washington-based firm of Dickstein Shapiro.[2] He later served as the Chairman of the American Stock Exchange (1989 to 1993). After the election of Democratic President Bill Clinton, Jones was appointed the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico and served from 1993 until 1997.[3] In February, 2003, he was inaugurated Chairman of the World Affairs Councils of America.

Presently, he is a resident of Tulsa and Washington, D.C. He is a partner in the law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips.[4][5] He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.[6]

In 1994, Jones was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.[7]

Agreed to serve on The Constitution Project's Guantanamo Task Force

Jones agreed to serve on The Constitution Project's Guantanamo Task Force in December 2010.[8][9][10]

See also


  1. Hannemann, Carolyn G., "Jones, James Robert," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture Archived 2010-05-31 at the Wayback Machine (accessed May 31, 2010).
  2. "Ambassador James R. Jones". Securing America's Future Energy. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  3. James R. Jones Archived 2010-09-17 at the Wayback Machine, Council of American Ambassadors (accessed May 31, 2010).
  4. James R. Jones at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips official website (accessed June 1, 2010).
  5. James R. Jones, "Why LBJ Bowed Out", Los Angeles Times, March 30, 2008.
  6. Board Members (accessed October 3, 2019)
  7. Oklahoma Hall of Fame: James R. Jones
  8. "Task Force on Detainee Treatment Launched". The Constitution Project. 2010-12-17. Archived from the original on 2010-12-18.
  9. "Think tank plans study of how US treats detainees". Wall Street Journal. 2010-12-17. Archived from the original on 2010-12-18. Former FBI Director William Sessions, former Arkansas U.S. Rep. Asa Hutchinson, a retired Army general and a retired appeals court judge in Washington are among 11 people selected for a task force that will meet for the first time in early January, said Virginia Sloan, a lawyer and president of The Constitution Project.
  10. "Task Force members". The Constitution Project. 2010-12-17. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-12-18.
Political offices
Preceded by
W. Marvin Watson
White House Appointments Secretary
Succeeded by
Dwight Chapin
Succeeded by
H. R. Haldeman
as White House Chief of Staff
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Page Belcher
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oklahoma's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
Jim Inhofe
Preceded by
Robert Giaimo
Chair of the House Budget Committee
Succeeded by
William H. Gray III
Party political offices
Preceded by
Andy Coats
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Oklahoma
(Class 3)

Succeeded by
Steve Lewis
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
John Negroponte
United States Ambassador to Mexico
Succeeded by
Jeffrey Davidow
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