Chris Jones Wins the Arkansas Democratic Gubernatorial Nomination
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS — Despite a crowded field, Dr. Chris Jones secured more than 70 percent of votes on Tuesday to win the Democratic nomination in the 2022 Arkansas governor race. Jones makes history as the first Black American nominated for any statewide office in Arkansas.
The following is a transcript of his prepared remarks, delivered in North Little Rock, Arkansas, Tuesday night. In the speech, Jones recognizes the other candidates with whom he competed for the nomination, and thanked all Arkansans who voted in the primary. As he turned his attention to November’s election, he kept his focus on Arkansas, and with an inspiring message to “turn from a politics of fear, hate and cronyism and choose a politics of Faith, Hope, and Hard Work.”
"A Choice" - Tuesday, May 24, 2022
As prepared for delivery.
My name is Chris Jones and I am honored to be the Democratic Nominee for Governor of this great state of Arkansas
A first-time candidate. A grassroots campaign. A little black boy, born and raised in Pine Bluff who grew up riding dirt bikes, eating honeysuckle, fighting grasshoppers, and wearing hand me down clothes.
From Lewisville to Bentonville. From Chicot County to Pulaski County. Across this entire state – Tonight. Together. We made history.
First, I want to thank God. To whom I owe everything and who should get all the credit.
I want to pause for a moment of silence for the horrific shooting in Texas. At least 18 young lives were senselessly taken. My heart goes out to all the families impacted. (Pause.)
Tonight is indeed historic. I want to thank everyone who got us here: our campaign team, the friends who volunteered, and my family who is here with me tonight. My parents, Beverly and Leon Jones, my wife, Dr. Jerrilyn Jones, and our three daughters Jordyn, Janelle, and Jasmine.
I also want to recognize the other candidates who fought for their belief in a better state including the other Democratic gubernatorial candidates Supha Mays, Anthony Bland, James Russell, and Jay Martin - and all candidates who stepped up - up and down the ballot.
Almost one year ago, we started this journey.
Since that time, we’ve gathered in barbeque restaurants in Pigot, festivals in Dumas, libraries in Eureka Springs, cookouts in Ashdown, and churches in Camden to begin the work of dreaming of a new Arkansas.
Let’s be very clear. In November, Arkansas will make history. We will either elect the first woman or the first African-American to this very seat. Here’s the truth - Neither should ever be a barrier again.
The question we must ask ourselves is “Is your politician qualified to make your life better?”
Are they willing to listen to every Arkansan, regardless of party affiliation?
Do they lean into the tough questions and lead with the right heart?
Do they respect you with the truth? and honor you with their behavior?
Have they worked with the public and private sector to improve economic conditions in communities?
Are they preparing for a brighter future by working together to address big challenges like climate chaos and healthcare access?
Are they willing to put in the work or do they feel entitled to the position?
Are they willing to stand up for our most vulnerable and forgotten, whether they be LGBTQ, rural, homeless veterans, disabled, incarcerated, drug addicted, immigrants or any other group that can be made an easy target?
More importantly - are they willing to meet you where you are?
This campaign is. And as Governor, I will.
That’s why we have traveled to all 75 counties and listened to Arkansans in every pocket of our state.
We believe that – whether you are a janitor closing in on the final hours of your 12-hour shift or a construction worker working your fingers to the bone in order to provide for your family – you deserve to be heard.
Arkansas was built through the sweat of our values.
Through grandparents' prayers and children’s laughter- Arkansans at home and abroad are the visions and dreams of our ancestors. These dreams are what ground us and hold us to our truth.
We have listened and we’ve shared our agenda. While there are a range of critical cross-cutting issues we face, Arkansans are clear that the key to unleashing our potential is spreading PB&J across every corner of the state. And what’s PB&J? Preschool, Broadband, and Job. Say it again? Preschool, Broadband, and Job. That’s high quality education starting with preschool, solid infrastructure starting with broadband for everyone, and real economic development starting with good paying jobs.
Every Arkansan deserves these things, whether you vote for me now, in November or never. And as Governor, I’d commit myself to spreading PB&J to all Arkansans.
Why? Because Arkansans are tired of the politics of division and fear.
As I’ve listened, I have been reminded of something I learned in my nuclear engineering classes. There are two types of nuclear power. One type is Nuclear Fision. It’s where you take an atom and split it. When you split it, energy is released. This energy is powerful but it only comes because you divide.
Our politics today is too close to the politics of nuclear fission. It’s a politics based on fear, hate and cronyism. A politics that is dividing us against each other and where belonging requires turning neighbors into enemies. Arkansans have been clear that they are sick and tired of that kind of politics.
But there is another type of energy. Nuclear Fusion. Nuclear Fusion is the combining of atoms. When you combine atoms, you also release energy. That fusion energy (joining and combining) is actually far more powerful than nuclear fission (splitting and dividing). It takes a lot of effort to create nuclear fusion but it does occur in nature. The sun is a big ball of nuclear fusion and there is nothing more powerful than the sun. Some of you will get that later.
This kind of “coming together or fusion” politics takes a lot of work. It means atoms, that have not always seen eye to eye, must join together and work together.
This kind of “coming together or fusion” politics means taking risks. When we come together, when we take risks, when we are willing to put old divisions behind us, when we join as One Arkansas, what we can create is beyond our wildest dreams.
This kind of “coming together or fusion” is what Arkansans are asking for. A politics based on Faith, Hope, and Hard Work.
This type of nuclear fusion politics requires that we meet people where they are and make space for them in the room where it’s happening.
This type of nuclear fusion politics demands that we put forth the effort to understand our neighbors struggles, their pains, their joys, and their journey.
This type of nuclear fusion politics needs us to literally put ourselves in their shoes.
WALK A MILE IN YOUR SHOES
So starting next week - we will continue the work with the launch of our Walk A Mile In Your Shoes Tour. Through this tour - we will once again travel to all 75 counties and will walk, together with Arkansans, one mile in every county.
These one mile walks are a reminder of a time when neighbors walked with and talked to each other. Go to our website chrisforgovernor.com to find out more and stay tuned for updates in the coming days. Our Walk A Mile In Your Shoes Tour is headed your way.
Join us on this journey. We can turn from a politics of fear, hate and cronyism (nuclear fission politics) and choose a politics of Faith, Hope, and Hard Work (nuclear fusion politics).
The truth is, They say we’re the underdog in this race.
They say that we are facing a giant.
That the machine is too massive to overcome.
BUT I know Arkansas. I have 200 years of Arkansas in my blood. I have visited every county in this great state of ours.
I know something different is in the air.
Most of you in the room have a bumble bee pin that looks like this. (Holds up pin.)
How many of you have ever been bitten by a bumble bee? How many of you have ever seen a bumble bee?
There is something strange about its body.
When scientists were studying how a bumble bee flies they were confused. It did not make sense. You see, it has this massive body when compared to its tiny wings. The best minds could not figure it out so they concluded that it was aerodynamically impossible for the bumble bee to fly. A bumble bee that can’t fly is a dead bumble bee. But guess what? The bumble bee just refused to listen, and it flies anyway.
Despite being told that it does not have enough resources. It flies.
Despite hearing that it is not well known enough. It flies.
We have to be like the bumble bee. Ignore the experts and those who think they know what will or won’t happen. Ignore the experts who say no one will vote.
If we had listened, we would not have taken flight and made it this far. If we had listened, we would not have unleashed the hopes and dreams of so many.
LIFT UP ONE ANOTHER
Everyone in this room and watching on TV or online, please hold your hands as high as you can in the air. Reach high. That’s us being like the bumble bee and flying. That’s us putting in the work of engaging voters in every corner of the state. That’s us awakening Arkansas’s True Grit.
Now, raise your hands a little higher.
You see what you did?
I asked you to raise your hand as high as you could, which should have been the limit. But then I asked you to push yourself just a little bit harder. Reach just a little higher. You did it. We each have a little more lift inside of us waiting to take us higher.
The little further stretch. That is where we accomplish the impossible. That is where Arkansas reaches the growth.
This is the lift we need to engage the 1 million voters who could have voted last cycle but didn’t.
This is the lift we need to show up in every county and on every street.
This is the lift that we need to take us to a win in November.
This is the lift we need to spread PB&J across the whole state.
This is the lift we need to show that Faith, Hope, and Hard Work really does pay off.
Now here is the interesting part of that bumble bee story. Decades later, scientists realized that as the bees were flapping their little tiny wings, there was a vortex created that created the extra lift that the bumble bee needed.
The bumble bee always knew that it had that extra lift, it just took the experts a little longer to figure it out.
Arkansas, we do not have to listen to how others define us.
Let me say that again.
Arkansans, we do not have to listen to how others define us.
While the experts are figuring things out, let’s keep flying.
We know we stand true to our belief in Faith, Hope, and Hard Work.
So from Harrison, Arkansas to Little River County - I want to serve you.
Not because of me - but with you.
Not because of what they say - but because of the Arkansas we know.
Not because of who they want for us but because of the type of leader we know we need. For this generation and the next.
I’m honored. I’m grateful. I’m blessed.
Thank You Arkansas. God bless you all and good night.
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For additional information and media inquiries, please contact the campaign. Chris Jones is available for post-nomination interviews Wednesday, May 25, Thursday, May 26 and Friday, May 27. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on Dr. Jones can be found on the campaign website and media kit.
About Chris Jones
Dr. Chris Jones grew up in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. A son of two preachers, Chris was raised with a strong sense of faith. He attended Morehouse College on a NASA Scholarship, for physics and math, then went on to study at MIT becoming a nuclear engineer and earning a Ph.D. in urban planning. After becoming ordained as a minister, Chris returned home to Arkansas and led the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub. Through this work, he has seen firsthand how disparities within Arkansas have gotten worse, not better. He believes there is much room for growth, including improving public education opportunities in every community, strengthening infrastructure from roads to broadband access, protecting and securing our right to vote, and bridging the rural and urban divide. Chris has faith in Arkansas’s potential, and he’s running for governor to ensure every person in Arkansas has an opportunity to succeed.