Councilman Elect Julian Earl Jones, Jr. with wife Sabrina Jones, are the new first couple of Baltimore County’s African American community.
Rising to rank of the first African-American lieutenant, captain, battalion chief and now division chief in the Anne Arundel Fire Department might have been enough of an achievement for most men, but for Randallstown’s Julian Jones it was just the beginning of what promises to be a lifetime of achievements.
Born and raised in East Baltimore, Democratic candidate Julian Earl Jones Jr. was this week elected to be only the second African American ever to serve as a county councilmember.
Newcomer Julian Jones, faced off against incumbent Councilman Kenneth Oliver in a hotly contested primary election race four years ago in the 4th Council District, only to lose by fewer than 100 votes.
Having cross-filed and won as a candidate for the Baltimore County Democratic State Central Committee, Jones was initially challenged about assuming his Democratic Central Committee position because he had later filed as a Democratic write-in candidate for the general election against a Democratic primary winner.
After being clear to assume his elected position, a very affable and energetic Jones went on to prove himself one of the most popular, valued contributing members of the Baltimore County Central Committee.
This also gave Jones the opportunity to get the exposure and make the political connections necessary to mount a much stronger second challenge of Oliver earlier this year.
This time Jones prevailed with a very convincing win, and had no Republican challenger in the general election.
A 1981 graduate of Dunbar High School, Jones grew up one of four children in the 1600 block of E. Oliver Street with sisters Danita, Vernetta, and Theresa (deceased).
He remains proud of his humble roots that included a tough neighbor that taught him at an early how to fight hard for what you want, but also what it takes to be a survivor, rather than a victim of your environment.
“I was named after my dad, Julian Earl Jones Sr. He certainly would have been so very happy and proud of me today. He taught me a lot of things, but one of the most important was that regardless of where you come from, you don’t have to do what was done to you. You don’t have to abuse or hurt. You don’t have to repeat history, instead you can and should strive to change it,” said Jones.
Those words and the important life lessons came from a man who had been largely abandoned as a child at the age of eight, who became part of a gang-laden environment in Lynchburg, Va., and who cautiously made a decision to escape the harsh, criminal life surrounding him by raising his age and joining the U.S. Army.
After serving 9 years he met Margaret Watkins, his future wife, with whom he then built a life in Baltimore working for Bethlehem Steel first as a laborer and then as a crane operator for 43 years. She died eight years ago.
Julian Jones with members of the Woodlawn Volunteer Fire Department in Baltimore County.
These experiences and values framed the life of now Councilmember Jones, who is married to Sabrina Heyward Jones, a vice president for Walters Relocation.
Jones has tried to instill similar values in each of his three children, daughter Julianna (29); stepson Malik (24); daughter Sanaa (12), and granddaughter Janiyah (11).
Julian Jones’ assent to Councilmember is all the more noteworthy because unlike Baltimore City and Prince Georges County where scores of African Americans have served at the highest level in local government, that achievement has been nearly impossible in Baltimore County.
Five decades after desegregation and urban sprawl, 65 percent of the Baltimore County’s population remains White. By comparison 65 percent of Prince Georges County’s population is African American.
Moreover, Baltimore County has the highest percentage of registered Republican voters.
His priorities include schools, transportation options, and transit oriented developments for commercial, office and residential use.
“I am a firm believer in moving in a slow and methodical way so as to avoid making unnecessary mistakes.,” said Jones. “I know I will be different from my predecessor in terms of style and positions, but I am not prepared to say exactly what I will do at this point.”
Those differences have not gone unnoticed by the other current Baltimore County Council members , who at this point have gone out of their way to welcome Jones, inviting him to participate in their campaign and community events, and showing him the ropes of the job.
Councilmember Jones and his family are active members of New Antioch Baptist Church of Randallstown.
He attended CCBC and later UMBC where he graduated with a major in information systems.
It was while attending UMBC that Jones began working with the Anne Arundel Fire Department to make additional money, and soon realized that firefighting was far more fulfilling.
Councilman Julian Jones will continue to work as Chief Julian Jones even after he assumes his new position as the County Council’s sole African American member and leader of the 120,000 resident 4th Council District, noon, Dec. 1, with the full support of the Anne Arundel Fire Department and a county full of well-wishers.