We live in a day when too many politicians have wishbones where their backbones ought to be. Not Walter Jones. He had a spine. And he would stand up to the leaders of his own party whenever he believed they were wrong.

On Capitol Hill, no one fought harder for our military and veterans than Walter Jones. A constitutional conservative and deficit hawk, he voted against any spending bill that increased America’s national debt. He fought for the unborn and he fought for religious freedom for military chaplains. When he heard of a U.S. military chaplain being punished for praying “in Jesus’ name” and for obtaining kosher meals for a hungry Jewish sailor, Jones took on “politically correct” bureaucrats at the Pentagon and won.

Walter Jones also understood the very real threat that China poses to America both militarily and economically.  And he called China what it is — communist China.  For years he fought the efforts of communist China to buy into “strategic” American businesses and markets.  And he was a co-sponsor of the Defending U.S. Government Communications Act, which would prohibit the U.S. Government from purchasing or leasing telecommunications equipment or services from Chinese companies Huawei, ZTE, or any of their subsidiaries.

I last saw Walter Jones in the fall, back in North Carolina.  He was still undergoing a battery of medical tests, but he didn’t want to talk about that. Instead, he was concerned about a military widow and her children. Jones felt her late military pilot husband had been wronged by “the system” and was fighting to restore his name for his widow and children.

That was vintage Walter Jones. Always caring about real people and trying to help them.

Yes, Walter Jones reminded us all of the character, integrity, and love of country we should want in our elected officials. At a time when we are more polarized than ever, America needs more like Walter Jones in government today. He was the “gold standard” of what public service should be. My hope and prayer is that our nation will be blessed with more like him.