North Carolina Newspapers

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For Jones, It's Not All Business ? Family Comes First
On the wall in Jerry Jones' office
hangs an autographed photo of
stock car racer Richard Petty. A
model of Petty 's red and blue No. 43
Pontiac, a present from a Shallotte town
employee, rests on a tabic.
"I've been a Petty fan every since I start
ed following stock car racing," said Jones.
"He's been good for the state, a good am
Jones' son, Mark, 24, once stood in line
six hours to get his father the autographed
photo. When Jones and his wife, Barbara,
had a second son, they named him Kyle.
He's now 2 1 .
True racing fans can quickly make the
conncclion. Richard Petty has a son, Kyle,
who followed in his father's footsteps and
developed a racing career of his own. The
Joneses borrowed the name from a family
they admire.
Family ties. It's what drew Jones back to
Shallotte 23 years ago, when he returned to
help run a local lumber company. He oncc
was in line for a promotion that would have
forced him to move.
When breaking the news to his family,
they all agreed. "You might be moving, but
we're staying," they said.
"Thai's how they felt about it, too," said
Jones. "1 feel good about this community
now. This is home."
Jones, 46, is assistant manager in charge
of purchasing at the lumber company and
has delivered materials, driven a truck,
"whatever it takes to get the job done," he
He has quickly moved up the political
ladder in recent years, too. He served four
years as an alderman on the Shallotte town
board and was later elected mayor. He gave
up that scat when he was elected county
commissioner for District 2 last November.
No one pushed the Republican to enter
politics. In one town election, two seats
were up for grabs, yet the night before a fil
ing deadline Mayor Bcamon Hcwctt was on
the telephone asking people to run for alder
"1 just got to thinking," said Jones. "It
just didn't seem right that the mayor should
have to get on the phone and ask people to
run. I told myself that the next election I'd
be on the ballot."
But Jones lost that battle by 10 votes.
Mayor Hewett s recruiting had worked.
Six people filed for three available seats.
Jones finished with 1(X) votes while the
third highest person had 1 10 votes.
SIIALIX)TTE'S JERRY Jones has moved rapidly up the political ladder. The first-year county commissioner studies a
thick 1991-92 county budget with a businessman's eye.
Two years later, Jones ran again and won.
He hasn't lost an election since.
That means his telephone rings more of
ten these days. Serving as county commis
sioner requires listening to a lot of people,
he said. He spends hours each day reading
about county news, returning phone calls
and meeting with residents.
At his first commissioners* meeting, he
was chosen vice chairman and was appoint
ed to the Brunswick County Planning Board
in an e.\ officio capacity.
It has been a year of budget cuts. Short
falls in slate revenues have stretched county
budgets lighter than in many previous years.
The decisions Jones has had to make in his
first year on the county board, he admits,
have been tough ones.
Following a recent commissioners' meet
ing, a woman approached Jones, placed her
hand on his arm and said, "I'm really disap
pointed in you."
"You have to do a loi of soul searching."
said Jones. "If I feel in my heart that I'm
right. I'll still listen to input and decide
from there. You have to make a decision
and carry on."
Serving as commissioner is almost like
hiving a second job, he said. Family sup
p >rt has kept him going.
"You could make a full-time job out of
it," he said. "Being Shallottc mayor could
be a full-time job. The time involved is
however much time you want to put into it.
1 try to put as much time into it as I can."
Both sons now attend college, Mark at
Emory and Henry College in Emory, Va.,
and Kyle at Southeastern Community
College in Whitcvillc. Throughout scIuh>I,
they played a variety of sports that kept the
Joneses involved in community activities.
Barbaia, who traveled with the family to
races, also never missed a ballgamc.
"From little league on up. It didn't matter
where the games were, she was there," said
Jones. "We were always real supportive of
them and the schools."
The family has always come first, said
Becoming a commissioner, he said, has
been a learning experience.
"To be honest, i didn't realize there were
so many things involved," said Jones.
"There arc so many services that the co'.:niy
has to provide its residents."
There will probably be as many changes
for Brunswick County in the next 10 years
as there have been in the last 20, he predict
ed. Jones is a good judge on county growth,
for every day he is involved in selling the
materials used to build local homes and
To handle the growth, Jones would like to
see county water lines extended and county
widc zoning laws adopted.
"We need to provide as much water to the
numbers of people that we can," he said.
Some people don't like zoning, while
others do, he noted.
"It's a situation that's going to have to
come about," he said. "It'll benefit all of us
to have some guidelines in place."
His goal is to be a lair representative of
Brunswick County, an ambassador, like
"I don't know if I've gotten used to it
yet," he said of his role on the board of
commissioners. "If we disagree on an issue,
then I must do what I think is best. If we
don't see eye to eye. I still hope to be their
friend, regardless."
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