EXCLUSIVE – An Interview With CA-03 Candidate Scott Jones

Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones. Image courtesy of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office.

Sierraville – At yesterday’s meeting of the Gold Nugget Republican Women, The Mountain Messenger was able to get an exclusive interview with Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones (R-Colfax), one of the three major candidates for the newly-created open CA-03 Congressional seat, including Plumas, Sierra and Nevada Counties.  Jones’s interview was part of the Messenger’s coverage of the meeting, which shall be detailed in full separately in next week’s edition.

Can you give us a short run-down of your life story and career?

Jones is 54 years old (55 in August) and has been working for the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office since 1989, when he joined at the age of 21; at the time, his greatest ambitions in life were to make it to be a lieutenant in the department and retire at that rank.  He spent time working as a corrections officer shortly thereafter and took classes at Lincoln Law School to earn his Juris Doctor while working at the Sacramento County Jail (leading him to joke that he earned his law degree in jail).

Afterwards, he worked as a legal aide for the department, before returning to patrol duty and eventually working his way up to Captain.  In 2010, retiring Sheriff John McGuinness recruited Jones to run as his replacement in the Sheriff election; Jones narrowly defeated fellow Captain Jim Cooper for the office (Cooper is now running to be Jones’s replacement after serving four terms as an Assemblyman).  Jones was re-elected in 2014 and 2018 and narrowly lost a 2016 Congressional race to Ami Bera.

He has been married to his wife Christy for 27 years, and they have four children.

Why did you decide to run for Congress?

The Sheriff’s principal concerns and the main issues he is running his campaign on are public safety, immigration, and maintaining law and order.  While he never foresaw a Congressional campaign in his future during his youth, Jones became a nationwide sensation for a video plea he issued in 2014 to then-President Barack Obama, asking to better secure America’s borders after having one of his officers die in the line of duty at the hands of an undocumented immigrant who had crossed into the United States illegally on four separate occasions and had killed a detective in Placer County early the same day.  Jones was recruited for this reason for his original campaign by House Republican leadership in 2015, and to run in the open CA-03 seat by incumbent Congressman Doug LaMalfa and the staff of Congressman Tom McClintock.

Jones hopes to help create a more rational immigration policy that continues to allow legal immigration of talented individuals seeking a better future to the United States while keeping out individuals with less savory intentions in this country.  He sees this as an issue that has affected his personal life and professional career deeply, and hopes to take his law enforcement expertise to Congress to find a solution.  His view is that “I’m not trying to make a career in Congress, I want to take my career to Congress.”  He adds that undocumented immigrants are frequently the main victims of undocumented criminals, since they don’t feel that they can report these crimes to the authorities, and wants to find a way to address this issue.

Can you share your stance on each of these topics?

  • Inflation: Sheriff Jones is of the opinion that inflation is both predictable and manageable, and is the result of the federal government being too enthusiastic about printing and spending new money, which has greatly devalued the dollar.  His belief is that this issue can be mitigated if the federal government stops printing new money, works within a tighter budget, and takes the time to pay off the $32 trillion national debt.
  • Drought and Agriculture: For Jones, coming from the Sacramento metro out to the rural parts of California has been “something of an eye-opener”, and says that there needs to be improvement of storage infrastructure and water resource management.  He does not think there is a supply issue so much as a management issue, and when asked about using nuclear energy to run massive desalination plants, was open to the idea.  To prevent further outsourcing of food production in California, he pondered exploring tax incentives to encourage domestic production and hopefully make the process more affordable.
  • Climate Change: Jones believes climate change is real and has become a global issue, but is part of a long-term natural cycle that humans can barely influence in either direction; his opinion is that it is “supremely arrogant” of people to think that mankind can overpower natural systems, and that “Mother Nature is in charge”.  He supports climate change mitigation strategies, and his energy views are an “all of the above” approach – we should increase our oil production while also improving our renewable energy technologies, adopting electric vehicles en masse, and building more nuclear power plants if the technology is improved to become safer.  Jones does not think it is possible to immediately stop using fossil fuels, but believes we need to become less dependent on them to avoid pumping out dangerously more carbon emissions.
  • Taxes: “They’re too high” says Jones regarding state and federal tax rates.  His opinion is that the government could easily work within its current budget and provide essential services like national defense and infrastructure if it laid off scores of bureaucrats and eliminated wasteful and inefficient spending programs.  The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office has consistently operated tens of millions within its half-billion-dollar budget under Jones’s leadership and frequently returned surpluses to the county government year after year, and he is confident that the federal government could be similarly efficient if there was the political will to make it so.  Jones has signed Americans for Tax Reform’s “No New Taxes” pledge and maintains in his campaign that “bureaucracy is the enemy of democracy”.
  • Healthcare: Jones admits to having little expertise in the healthcare field and is willing to learn more on the subject before making a strong statement on the subject, but does have some opinions on it.  He supports repealing Obamacare and is against the legislation’s regulatory details, but wants there to be a national discussion on the specifics of what repealing Obamacare actually means instead of having it simply be used as a campaign slogan.  He is against both extremes of the healthcare debate – both the idea that the uninsured deserve nothing in the way of healthcare and the idea that everyone should be insured by a single-payer program – and believes there has to be some common-sense middle ground that can be reached on the topic.
  • Second Amendment: Sheriff Jones supports the Second Amendment “as written” and is proudly endorsed by both the Gun Owners of America and the California Rifle and Pistol Association; he has issued roughly 12,000 – 13,000 concealed carry permits to verifiably competent and law-abiding Sacramento County citizens over his tenure as Sheriff and touts the fact that there has yet to be any issue with this program.  He notes that criminals generally do not care about gun laws, and that law-abiding citizens should not have their rights abridged because of these criminals.
  • Rural broadband: Jones believes that this is an important issue for rural citizens and has personally lived with connectivity issues himself, having bad access to internet at his house in Colfax and quipping that “HughesNet wasn’t all that good after all”; his opinion is that better internet connectivity is going to become more critical as the average person’s life becomes more digital, and that rural areas should not be overlooked in this matter just because they have a lower population.
  • Forest management: Having recently lived through the River Fire burning almost to his back porch and torching his neighbors’ homes in Colfax, Jones is increasingly passionate about the forest management issue, which is new to him since “Sacramento County has no National Forest land”.  Jones says there is no guarantee that this year’s fire season won’t be even worse than last year’s, and the Forest Service needs to be better prepared to manage fires in remote areas while being more stringent about actively combating them in the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI).
  • Foreign Policy: Jones is currently the chairman of the Central California Intelligence Committee and his department hosts the Regional Terrorism Threat Assessment Center, so he has firsthand experience with matters of national security and foreign policy through these entities.  He is of the opinion that China is the most major adversary to the United States on the world stage, and is the puppetmaster behind Vladimir Putin and the Iranian Ayatollah, who themselves are not nearly as threatening.  Jones’s take is that the United States needs to engage in some level of pushback against Chinese empire-building around the globe before we well and truly fall to second place on the world stage and are too compromised to form any opposition.

Do you have any sort of personal connection with the rural Sierra Nevada?

Sheriff Jones has become more familiar with rural areas since moving into Placer County (Foresthill, Weimar, most recently Colfax) but has little connection to the far-flung rural reaches of the Third District such as Plumas, Sierra and Inyo counties – something he aims to correct, as he hopes to learn more about these places and the issues they face while he is on the campaign trail.

How do you intend to represent the rural Sierra Nevada’s interests in Congress?

As part of his campaign and if elected, Jones hopes to establish stronger lines of communication with the people in this district and make sure the concerns of ordinary citizens in these areas are better heard in Washington.  Of places like Alpine and Sierra counties, Jones says these areas justifiably feel overlooked and underappreciated, and he wants to make sure their voices are heard as much as those in Placer and Sacramento counties.  In order to better represent this district, Jones would like to make his way onto the Natural Resources Committee in Congress in addition to representing his fields of expertise on the Judiciary and Homeland Security committees.

Do you have any ideas for how to help the Sierra recover from wildfires?  Specific legislation?

Jones wants to work to make sure that relief is available to fire victims and that they have the means to rebuild their lives without being displaced out-of-state the way that victims of the Camp Fire were in 2018, and would like to encourage the Forest Service to double down on mitigation efforts on public lands to avoid further blowing up the agency’s firefighting budgets, while pursuing better awareness of the dangers to people living in fire-prone areas, since “knowing is half the battle”.

Do you see any ways that the rural Sierra Nevada can diversify and rebuild its economy, and what could you do as a legislator to help?

In order to help the area diversify its economy and recover from the funk it fell into after the forestry and logging opportunities were “largely regulated out of existence”, Jones wants to pursue better lines of public comment and dialogue in different parts of his district to find what individual strengths each community has to offer and capitalize on, instead of encouraging the entire district to pursue a one-size-fits-all solution that may not work in reality.  Jones would also like to learn more about each community in order to better help them at the federal level with legislation or advocacy for their issues.

Would you be willing to return to Plumas and Sierra counties for one or multiple candidate forums, hosted by local entities such as the League of Women Voters or the Mountain Messenger?

Absolutely.

The Mountain Messenger would like to thank Scott Jones and Kyle McDonald for agreeing to this interview, Cynthia Kaui of the San Diego County GOP for putting us in touch with them, and the Gold Nugget Republican Women for hosting us and feeding our intrepid reporter a free steak lunch.  If Kermit Jones or Kevin Kiley is willing to be interview as well, they can contact us at info@themountainmessenger.org

2 thoughts on “EXCLUSIVE – An Interview With CA-03 Candidate Scott Jones”

  1. Sacramento county had to pay out over 100 million dollars in settlements because of Sheriff Scott Jones incompetence. Sheriff Scott Jones was illegally using Stingray technology to spy on citizens. Scott Jones is also accused of sexual harassment by a female deputy.Do we really want this guy representing our district?

  2. Sacramento County had to pay out over 100 million in lawsuits due to Sheriff Scott Jones incompetence. The Sheriff Department under Scott Jones was illegally using Stingray technology to spy on citizens. ScottJones is being accused of sexual harassment by one of his female deputies.Do we really want this person representing our district?

Leave a Reply