[INTERVIEW]<br />
Political Jonesâ Life Is a Song for his Mama

Leroy Jones is a twenty-year political veteran. The North Carolina Central University and Howard University graduate has had the unique opportunity to work in both chambers of Congress as well as serve as a political appointee in President Bill Clinton’s White House.  

Despite his prestigious positions and successful career, the nationally syndicated radio host of The PoliticalJones Show and The PoliticalJones Report holds as his main interest a desire to provide “Commentary for the Common Folk.” He credits his humility, his straight-talk and his commitment to informing the community to his late mother, Mayo Louise Jones.  In a conversation with EBONY, Mr. Jones explained why:

LEROY JONES, JR.: When I first started the 30-minute commentary show, The PoliticalJones Report with Leroy Jones, Jr. and had to come up with a tag line, I thought about my life and who I am at my core and why.  I’m a product of Lenoir, North Carolina. People act surprised that I haven’t lost my accent or become “L. Jones” instead of Leroy, but that’s just not who I am.

My mother raised me to give the square deal and tell the truth about what’s going on. I came from “common folk,” and that’s who I want to stay true to.  My tagline, “Commentary for the Common Folk,” is one of love and respect for real people and real talk. It’s a tribute to all those folks that made me: my parents, my uncles, and my friends’ fathers in the neighborhood who all helped to raise me. I do it for them.

EBONY: And you’ve been very successful in engaging the Black community in dialogue on matters of political interest. What’s the next step?

I think that we have to really focus on making people get out to vote. It’s of huge importance that the community feels they have power to make a difference. Make sure now you’re registered to vote so that when election time comes around, you’ll have your things in order.  Be informed about what’s going on not just on the federal level but in your state and local governments.

I think we have a unique opportunity to make some changes in the lives of our people. And that’s why I try to educate our community through the show and have celebrity guests, doctors, lawyers, experts on who can talk about what’s happening in America.  If you have folks who are voting and staying a part of the process and holding elected officials accountable, who knows what would happen when laws like “Stand Your Ground” come up. There could be an organized group of people who are saying, “no, we’re going to stop that from becoming a law.”  So I’m really trying to encourage people to get involved on a state and local level because they can have much more of a profound impact on laws that way. If 100 people show up to a city council meeting, they’re going to be paid attention to.

My tagline, “Commentary for the Common Folk,” is one of love and respect for real people and real talk

EBONY: But now it seems like we’ve got the U.S. Supreme Court working against us too.  Even if we have representatives who create laws that we like, like the McCain-Feingold Act limiting the amount of money corporations can pour into elections, you’ve got the Supreme Court that can strike those laws down and declare that corporations are people  who should be able to contribute millions of dollars into the campaigns of their choice.

LJ: True, but who confirms Supreme Court judges? Senators that we vote for. We have a lot more power than we take advantage of and we just have to be paying attention. How many people of color are in the Senate? None. That needs to change. 

EBONY: You bring a really unique perspective to your show because you’ve worked in both houses of Congress and in the White House. What role do those experiences play in your ability to break down for the people what’s really going on in Washington?

LJ: Because of all of the opportunities I’ve had on the inside in Washington over these twenty-plus years, I know the real deal. “Game recognize game,” as they say, and I’ve learned that it’s not what you see and hear that you’ve got to be worried about, it’s what you don’t see or hear.  Behind the scenes, I’ve seen some very interesting things and it definitely shapes my perspective, but I’m only going to go into detail about that in my book, whenever I write it!

EBONY: So you’re holding on to your secrets about President Clinton?

LJ: (Laughs) No, I couldn’t tell you a thing! I’m not going to act like I was in the inner circle up there. I was a political appointee and I can only say I was around and saw certain things and it will be an interesting part of my book!

EBONY: Who do you think will be the next