Tom Jones rode into office in the November election on a wave of grassroots support in the northwest corner of Lancaster County and parts of Lebanon County.
And last week more than 100 constituents and supporters of the 98th District turned out to the former legislative office of Rep. Dave Hickernell in Elizabethtown to welcome Jones into his new role at a legislative open house.
Jones, the successful small business owner and former East Donegal Township supervisor, said he’s ready to get to work in Harrisburg whenever the House officially comes back into session. He said he’s already put in requests to be seated on five different House committees, including Agriculture & Rural Affairs, Education, Veterans Affairs & Emergency Preparedness, Game & Fisheries and Local Government.
But Jones said he was especially excited to meet and greet the people of the 98th District and to show them around the office.
“A number of people were praying for me, and the fact that I can reassure them that I have a good team of conservative friends in the House that I have partnered with, and they have my back and I have theirs, has been a blessing,” Jones said. “So, this turnout has been a blessing. Regardless of the number, it’s just been nonstop encouragement.”
Jones took turns bringing constituents into his office adorned with an American flag, a “Don’t Tread on Me” Navy Jack flag and a sign stating, “Welcome to Conoy Township: This is Not a Gun Free Zone.”
Former Elizabethtown Police Chief and local resident Bob Ardner asked Jones in his office for an American flag to fly on a flagpole he’s installing on his property in the borough. Ardner said he served as a poll watcher during the election for the first time, helping out Jones’ campaign.
Ardner said he was especially impressed with Jones’s credentials in small business instead of having another politician with a legal background.
“This was the first time that I really felt compelled to support somebody at that level, but he seems like a hard worker,” Ardner said. “I think he’s going to be approachable for the people in his district.”
Donna Coble of Mount Joy Township said she also volunteered for the first time on Jones’ campaign and now serves as a Lancaster County Republican Committee member for the Elizabethtown region.
Coble said she was also impressed by Jones’ background as a “down to earth” businessman who “relates with the common people.” She also said she was glad for his Christian outlook on life.
“Tom’s never been a politician before, so I think he’s going to do us good,” Coble said.
Several local politicians also turned out for the open house, including Lancaster County Commissioners Ray D’Agostino and Josh Parsons.
D’Agostino called Jones a “man of the people” who will do well representing his constituency.
“When you think of who you want to represent you in a body like the state legislature, you want someone like Tom,” D’Agostino said. “He works in his community to help his community. He’s been on the township board of supervisors. He’s a businessman. You want somebody who really understands the community and what individuals are going through.”