Education advocates give Jones high marks

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 30, 2005

It’s been a few years since Del. S. Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, sat in a classroom, but according to a state think tank, the legislator deserves a spot in the top of his class.

Virginia21, a youth advocacy group, gave Jones a 3.4 GPA Friday, heading up a list stemming from the first ever evaluation of Virginia lawmakers on higher education and young voter issues.

Each representative received a Grade Point Average out of 4.0 for their efforts to keep tuition affordable, financial aid available, campuses safe, curb the rapidly rising costs of textbooks and other legislative priorities.

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&uot;Delegate Jones has consistently stood in support of students and our families. His work has kept tuition affordable, created a fair market for textbooks, protected campus safety, and grown our local economy,&uot; said Melissa Bell, student body president of Christopher Newport University.

Jesse Ferguson, executive director of Virginia21, had similar sentiments.

&uot;S. Chris Jones is a responsible, pro-education leader in Richmond. Students and their families should note how Delegate Jones has helped them by keeping college affordable&uot; said Ferguson, &uot;protecting their safety, and making sure financial aid is available,&uot; said Jesse Ferguson, executive director of Virginia21.&uot;

There are 210 Virginia21 members in Jones’ district.

The report covers votes cast on a wide range of issues such as creating a more open political process, higher education funding, protecting students, reforming higher education, and ensuring college is affordable and accessible.

Leaders of Virginia21 grassroots chapters and the students body presidents of Virginia’s public colleges and universities chose the areas to grade lawmakers. GPAs are given to lawmakers by a mathematical formula based on their vote history on these issues. The Report Card covers 16 votes on 12 pieces of legislation, all of which were patroned by Republican members of the General Assembly.

The complete Report Card can be viewed or downloaded from