James R. Jones
Politician and Lawyer
At an early age James Robert Jones was fascinated by politics after he visited the offices of the county attorney, Ed Edmondson. When he was twelve years old, Jones stumped the district when Edmondson campaigned for the U.S. Congress and in 1958 served as J. Howard Edmondson’s press secretary during his gubernatorial campaign. Although only a teenager, Jones understood the workings of the press because of his work as a reporter for Muskogee newspapers.
Graduating from the University of Oklahoma in 1961 with a degree in journalism and government, Jones became U.S. Representative Ed Edmondson’s administrative assistant and attained a law degree at Georgetown University in 1964. That year he served as a captain in the U.S. Army counterintelligence and as a special military aide to President Lyndon B. Johnson. After leaving the military in 1965, he became an assistant to Johnson’s appointments secretary and became the appointments secretary in 1968. That year the United States Jaycees named Jones as one of the “Ten Outstanding Young Men of America.” As an insider in the Johnson administration, Jones learned much about politics.
When Johnson left office in January 1969, Jones returned to Tulsa, Oklahoma, and practiced law with his wife. He had married the former Olivia Barclay in 1968. In 1970 Jones campaigned as a Democrat for the First District seat held for years by Republican Page Belcher. Although defeated, Jones fought an aggressive battle. Two years later, when Belcher retired, Jones ran again and won, marking the first of seven successful congressional campaigns. After fourteen years in Congress he made an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate seat held by Don Nickles in 1986.
In 1987, Jones resumed the practice of law in Washington D.C. and later served as the Chairman of the American Stock Exchange from 1989 to 1993. After the election of President Bill Clinton, Jones was appointed the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico and served from 1993 to 1997. In February 2003, he was inaugurated Chairman of the World Affairs Council of America.
In 1994 Jones was inducted in the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.
As of 2015 Jones was a partner in the law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips.
Interview with James R. Jones
Müllerhaus Legacy Website Team
Date Created: July 27, 2012
Date Published: November 6, 2015
Notes: Recorded by John Erling in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Digital Audio Sound Recording, Non-Music.
Tags: Stan Musical, Warren Spahn, Ed Edmonson, Abraham Lincoln, Dwight Eisenhower, J. Howard Edmondson, Lady Bird Johnson, Lyndon B. Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Bobby Kennedy, Walter Mondale, Richard Nixon, Bob Haldeman, Page Belcher, David Boren, Ronald Reagan, Don Nickels, Bill Clinton, Ambassador, Mexico, Vietnam, War protest, President