Craven County Commissioner Jason Jones has announced that he is switching party affiliation from Democrat to Republican.
Long before Ronald Reagan was elected president, he famously once said, "I didn't leave the Democratic Party. The party left me."
Jones, 40, said he was raised a Christian in a Democratic home in rural Craven County where “faith, family and personal responsibility came first, period.” Much like Reagan’s awakening, Jones said the Democratic Party’s values have changed within the past few months.
“I have watched the Democratic Party distance itself from the values with which I was raised,” he posted Thursday to social media. “While no party is perfect in any circumstance, I honestly believe faith, family and personal responsibility are still the foundation for success in today's society.”
In 2018, Jones was elected to a second consecutive term as a member of the county commission, but he is serving his third term altogether. He served 2006-2010 and 2014-present.
"As an elected official, I am accountable to the citizens of Craven County, and it is my responsibility to abide by the Constitution,” he said. “With that being said, I also have a responsibility as a Christian to stand for what God's word says."
Last week, New York state legislators cheered as they passed a late term abortion law.
“I believe that recent legislation in New York to allow abortion until birth is against God’s word,” Jones said. “I believe that praying in the name of Jesus is how I am supposed to pray to God.”
When Jones saw this story unfold, he was inspired to take a stand. Jones said he along other members of his family changed their party affiliation last week.
“My father and I went down at the same time to change our affiliation. My grandparents and uncle went down that afternoon,” he said. “Sunday at church, I had several who came up to me and told me they had also changed or were going to.”
Jones was asked if he thinks the Democratic Party has been hijacked by radicals.
“Since the election of 2018, I have seen elected Democratic leaders in Washington particularly who moved far left on every issue,” he said. “This is definitely not the party that I was raised in.”
But the changeover may come with consequences.
“I have already had folks tell me they would defeat me in four years because of my decision,” Jones said. “My decision was based upon my personal belief as a Christian. If the consequence is political defeat, so be it. I will answer to God when this life is over, not to man. I will continue to represent the citizens of this county and District 2 just as I have always done. It will be under the Republican affiliation now rather than the Democratic.”
Jones' switch does not change the political party make-up of the county commission for the GOP majority which now holds a 5-2 margin over Democrats.
Jones said over the years, he has been blessed to receive the support of Democratic friends, Republican friends and friends who have chosen not to affiliate themselves with either party. Jones said “it was time to take to a stand,” so he changed his party’s affiliation to stay true to his convictions.
“After much prayer and consideration, I have changed my party affiliation to the Republican Party,” he said. “I felt it was time to align myself with those who support the beliefs that have been ingrained in me. Staying true to our convictions no matter the cost, is what our country was built upon. My only hope is that I serve it and its people to the best of my ability.”
Jones said changing parties was not a tough decision.
“No, my family has been a part of this decision,” he said. “We have discussed it and prayed about it. ALL of us had a peace that this was what we were supposed to do. I have many good longtime friends in the Democratic Party. I still hope they will be my friends regardless of whether they support my decision. I have been embraced by many good Republican friends already who have welcomed me into the party. For that I am appreciative.”