I am a product and lifelong resident of Alabama. I was born in Fairfield, Alabama to a father who worked for U.S. Steel and a stay-at-home mom. One of my grandfathers was a steelworker and the other a coal miner. I, too, spent some time working a union job in the steel mill. My parents and grandparents forged my respect for those who work to feed a family while trying to make their childrens’ lives better.
I attended Fairfield High School during desegregation. As a student and SGA leader, I worked with my classmates to maintain calm and build unity during those tumultuous times.
Through my family, my work in the mill, and my friendships at Fairfield High School, I was drawn to study government at Alabama and then law at Cumberland Law School. A career in public service seemed to be the best way to expand justice from the personal to the national level.
I also found a love for politics and organizing. Through volunteering for campus affairs at Alabama, a statewide campaign to modernize Alabama’s court system, and the Young Democrats, the power of one, determined young person became clear to me.
Learning the law and seeing the courts and justice fueled my desire to be part of the solution. During my second year in law school, I cut a few classes to watch a young Bill Baxley, Alabama’s Attorney General, prosecute the first 16th Street Baptist Church bombing trial. That was 1977 – the first time I saw that real, inspiring change was possible for Alabama.
After law school, I had the honor of serving as staff counsel to the U.S Senate Judiciary Committee for Senator Howell Heflin. This gracious gentleman is one of impeccable character, and he remains my role model today. Working for him in Washington in the United States Senate was inspiring. I was still the kid from Fairfield, but it planted a hope that I might one day return to D.C. to serve Alabama.
In 1980, I became an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Birmingham. For several years, as a prosecutor and then private defense attorney, I developed a deeper understanding of our criminal justice system. My own courtroom experience is from both sides. I have seen the strengths and weaknesses of our system of justice. I know that in order for it to be equal, it needs to work for everyone.
I served as the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama beginning in 1997. I was nominated by a Democratic President and confirmed by a majority-Republican Senate. It was an honor to serve my country and shaped the next 20+ years of my life.
Shortly after taking office, the Birmingham women’s clinic was bombed by Eric Robert Rudolph. I was having breakfast just blocks away and ran to the scene. The image of a bombed building and body of a police officer will remain with me for the rest of my life.
We were also reopening a three-decade-old case that had been the most tarnishing crime in Alabama in the 20th century – the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church. The Klan used dynamite to kill four little girls and three of the four killers had escaped justice for over 35 years. Thanks to an incredibly dedicated team of prosecutors, investigators and staff we convicted two former Klansmen for the murder of those four innocent children. Justice may have been delayed, but it was certainly not denied.
I ran for Senate in order to be a voice for reason in the turmoil of modern Washington. Now that I’ve been elected, I want to bring the hope of justice and fairness back to all Alabamians. Too many Alabamians don’t believe our government is serving them. The issues that affect our daily lives – healthcare, wages, true equality for all – have become bargaining chips between parties. These common causes must not be obscured by the fog of political rhetoric. My heart has always impelled me towards public service. Whether you voted for me or not, I care about justice and progress for you and your family, and I’m in the Senate to return dignity to the citizens of Alabama.
My partner in all things is my wife Louise. Louise was raised in Cullman, Alabama, and December 12th was not only the Special Election, it was also our 25th wedding anniversary. Our family gives us strength and joy. Courtney, a graduate of Birmingham Southern College, completed her PhD at the University of Alabama and is married to Birmingham attorney Rip Andrews. Together they are raising our two beautiful granddaughters, Ever and Ollie. Our son Carson is a graduate of the University of Georgia and Colorado State University. He currently works at the Birmingham Zoo. Our youngest son Christopher is a student at the University of Alabama. My parents, Gordon and Gloria Jones, live in Birmingham and my sister Terrie Savage and her husband Scott live in Hartselle.