LAST WEEK, we featured in our July 11 issue Peter Flores, Republican, from Pleasanton who is running for Texas State Senate Seat District 19. We feature Charlie Urbina Jones, Democrat from Poteet this week.
Charlie Urbina Jones, San Antonio attorney, Viet Nam war veteran, and Democratic Party activist announced his candidacy for Texas State Senate District 19. He and his wife, Linda have been touring Texas’ District 19 meeting with residents and groups from San Antonio to Medina Valley, El Paso to West Texas and all in between.
Jones graduated with a degree in Geology from St. Mary’s University and earned his Juris Doctor at Texas Southern University. He served as a Captain with the 101st Airborne Division in Viet Nam stating that he is the only veteran on the ticket for Texas State Senate District 19. The theme of his campaign is “No One Left Behind.” “As a former Captain, USAR, Vietnam Veteran of the 101st Airborne Division, I know the issues that we face today not only at the federal but state-level affecting US Veterans,” said Jones. “Help me. Help you,” urged Jones encouraging everyone to get out and vote early now through July 27 and on election day July 31.
“Our veterans and active duty members, who have defended this great country will not be left behind,” said Urbina. “We must honor our commitments to you and your family. I will fight for your family to be taken care of. I will fight for your rights to healthcare and long-term care. I will fight for your rights for an education via the Hazelwood Act. I will fight for your pension, your disability and for lowering your taxes,” said Urbina.
Recently, Jones reacted to an Associated Press report that some immigrant U.S. army reservists and recruits who enlisted in the military with a promised path to citizenship are abruptly discharged.
“I am greatly saddened that at a time when we have problems recruiting young warriors for our service, a stunt like this would be pulled,” said Jones. “Our armies in the past were made up of immigrants that had the courage to serve while others took deferments. In the Civil War –the largest share of our troops were Irishmen took off the docks who served and died. The largest group of Medal of Honor people were immigrants. We are a nation of Immigrants–we are better for it because we are bound at the hip because we are Americans whose immigrant grandparents and or parents came here seeking the American dream.”
Jones states that on a recent trip to the normally red Medina County that Jones was surprised by some Republicans that were turning a lighter shade of red. “The perspectives are changing, and the changes are with us,” said Jones. “Medina County is about as conservative a county as Atascosa, maybe even more so. It’s close, though.” “I was stunned by the receptive reception from Republicans. However, what was manifesting for me was tariffs. Because we’re talking about a farming community. Okay? We have the old Belgians out there. There go their corn and their sack sorghum and their hogs and all that sort of good stuff. Going to have a big effect on them,” said Jones.
Jones said it had been complete enlightenment since he moved to Poteet eight years ago. “I come from a farming and ranching family, but that was past generations ago. Until you come out here and you see what people have to do to bring in their crops, to sell their goods, to drill their wells, to pay for their stuff, then you don’t really get it.” He said with his geology degree he is well suited to speak about water rights adding that Atascosa needs to be worried about San Antonio that wants to take all the county’s water.
“This is what my grandfather-rancher used to say,” said Jones. “Whiskey’s for drinking and water’s for killing.” Jones attended a San Antonio Water System (SAWS) meeting. He said they were talking about taking water from Atascosa Co. “I live out in Atascosa County. What do you have for us in exchange for our water? Broccoli does not grow in H-E-B. I don’t think you totally understand that.”
“I am 70,” said Jones.
Linda states that it’s time for the rural people to be heard because we always get the shaft. She said that not until recently have candidates realized that rural America could win a candidate an election. “We need to have representation. There needs to be a spokesperson about watching out for the farmers and the ranchers and watching over the fracking and the oil stuff that’s going in our counties because we live here. If you live in San Antonio, you don’t care what is happening here. But when you live here, you care.”
Both Jones’ said they are very concerned about children and education.
“What kind of education are our children getting? We need the best equal to the cities. We had this lottery thing. We’re not getting equal distribution in the rural areas or even in the poor sides of San Antonio, not like the the other wealthier school districts,” said Linda.
Jones is also very disturbed by the property tax situation. “Nobody’s doing anything. And there was a surplus in the legislature at one time, and they should have used it, and they didn’t,” said Jones. “They’re not using it for our college kids. And then the property taxes and homesteads and these jokers want to take away our homesteads status? They don’t understand the impact it has on senior citizens and the impact on our disabled veterans, who are on fixed incomes or even the widowers.”
Jones believes you have to think outside of the box.
“You know, we need to look at another alternative,” said Jones. “Medical marijuana, that’s the easiest. Let’s be bold. Let’s be unafraid. I mean, you know, or else we’re going to do the Einstein theory of insanity (doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome) you know once again.
“Let’s start a debate and put dollar figures to it on medical marijuana,” said Jones. “If Colorado can make $7 billion a year. Can you imagine all the little boutique farms that would come up, and they could tax it.”
He said another huge goal is to put a cap on the elderly and veterans’ taxes who are losing their homes.
Jones was one of the four veterans that helped create the Hazlewood Act which exempts qualified veterans and dependent children of certain disabled or deceased veterans from specific tuition and fee charges at public institutions of higher education in the state of Texas. The exemption is for a maximum of 150 credit hours and may be awarded regardless of financial need. “So that means that they could go to UT, A&M or whatever state-supported school and not pay any tuition for those hours. And to this day, we’ve got 45,000 young men and women going to school on the bill.”
“My husband is notorious, I mean, there’s no other word, for being the underdog,” said Linda. “Let’s get out there. Let’s do what’s right for this community. Let’s do what’s right for the state of Texas.”
Charlie adds that he has a mindset of Main Street over Wall Street. “Don’t come down here and tell local people in Atascosa Co.or down in Karnes Co. or whatever how it is done. I’m for small business. I’m for local control over water. I’m for private property rights, and I live out here. I don’t live in the city.
“I am not a career politician. I am not in it for the money or the power,” said Jones. “‘I’m a veteran for God’s sakes. I’m 70 years old. I am not going to be governor of Texas. I’m not in bed with the lobbyist.”
Regarding immigration, Jones said, “We need to control our borders. There’s no doubt about that. And we do have laws, but I think that there has to be a time and place that we can’t be separating children from their mothers. Even at the height of the Vietnam War, and I was in combat, we never did this to the families out there. That’s so un- American that it makes me ashamed to think that that’s the public policy. I think that McCain, Kennedy and the rest of them had passed, for citizenship, they had passed to deal with the immigration problem, they had passed to deal with the so-called undocumented worker. What is it that we’re not getting? Aren’t we all immigrant? On one side, my grandfather is Mexican. On the other side, my great-greatgreat grandfather was a Welshman. They were both Baptist ministers. So I get the immigrant thing.”
Again Jones stated,”Our farmers will suffer. We saw it when we drove in from California. We know that the restaurant industry would suffer. And it’s just not the moral thing to do, and we’re better than that. This, for God’s sake, this is America. Matthew 3:5. Take in the sojourner. Take in that person who comes in here. Don’t be afraid because what you’re looking at is a mirror of yourself. And how you treat the less among you is how you’ll be judged later on.”
As a young officer, we moved together as a group, lived as a group and were brothers and sisters as a group. And unfortunately, we’ve moved away from that. We’ve begun to break the ties that bind us together. And we’ve forgotten that we’re all immigrants.
Jones said he speaks his mind. “You know what I think, and some people get angry, but I’d rather them get angry and know where I stand rather than kind of sneak behind their back. I’ve always been kind of a loudmouth.” Linda said, “He’s gentle, but he’s what my mom calls a Spanish chinga quedito. That means you speak very lightly, but it impacts.” Jones adds, “School you in a low voice.”
Like my kids say, “Mom, why do you all call your law firm Charlie Jones Law Office and then we have Westside Law, right? So we call ourselves Chihuahua Law because we maybe little but with a bite and we may be little but we got a big law.”