A 33-year-old Marine Corps veteran and longtime Virginian announced Monday that he will for be running for Congress as a Republican in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District.
Rob Jones was a Marine corporal and combat engineer in Sangin, Afghanistan, on July 22, 2010, when he got hit by a Taliban improvised explosive device. Jones kept his life, but lost the bottom of both of his legs.
Eventually, with basic prosthetics and then two bionic knees, he turned to sports as part of his healing process: He has medaled in the Paralympic Games, biked 5,180 miles across the United States and ran 31 marathons in 31 days to raise money for veterans’ charities. Now, he is running again — but this time, it’s for a seat in the U.S. Capitol.
“In Congress, my pledge to you is that I will do what’s right for our community and country, even if it means being unpopular with my party,” Jones said Monday in a news release. “That’s why I am running again, this time for Congress: to bring selfless leadership back to our Capitol."
Jones was born in Maryland, but moved to his district in Virginia when he was 1 year old, he told Marine Corps Times Monday.
He has been pondering running for Congress since 2016, he says, but it wasn’t until after the 2018 elections and meeting with Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., that he could “see that it was possible.”
A Virginia farm boy who graduated from Loudoun Valley High School in 2003 and Virginia Tech in 2007, Jones joined the Marine Corps Reserve in Roanoke, Virginia, during his junior year of college, according to his bio. Before Afghanistan, he had one other deployment to Iraq in 2008.
He now lives in Middleburg, Virginia, with his wife, Pam, on their vegetable farm.
The rookie political candidate said that he is concerned about public transportation and highway infrastructure, as well as preventing another government shutdown. He did not offer specifics, though, saying he wanted to educate himself on specific issues first.
Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-Va., has been the representative for Virginia’s 10th Congressional District, which spans affluent northern Virginia, since Jan. 3.
Wexton began serving in the Virginia Senate in 2014 after winning a special election when former Democratic Virginia state Sen. Mark Herring won the 2013 election to serve as Virginia’s attorney general, where he still serves.
In 2018, Wexton, a lawyer by trade, defeated two-term Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., in a closely watched congressional race. At the time, voters in that district had sent Republicans to Congress for 60 of the past 66 years, according to CNBC.
During the race, Wexton focused heavily on gun violence prevention, immigration and federal workers.
In 2018, Jones was the first recipient of Military Times’ Veteran of the Year Award, which was presented at the annual Service Members of the Year awards ceremony in Washington.
Andrea Scott is editor of Marine Corps Times. On Twitter: @_andreascott.