Physicist/minister Chris Jones announces his bid to be Arkansas’ next governor

“Arkansas is ready for a big leap forward, but we need the right leaders”
Pine Bluff, Ark., native Christopher "Chris" Jones has announced his candidacy to be the next...
Pine Bluff, Ark., native Christopher "Chris" Jones has announced his candidacy to be the next governor of Arkansas. The Democrat is a physicist and an ordained minister.(Source: Chris Jones for Governor campaign)
Published: Jun. 15, 2021 at 4:17 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 4:18 PM CDT
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(KSLA) — A Pine Bluff, Ark., native who is a physicist and an ordained minister wants to be the next governor of his home state.

“To me, there’s never been a conflict between science and religion.”

That’s how Christopher “Chris” Jones starts “About Time,” a video he released Tuesday, June 15 to help launch his campaign for governor.

Arkansas voters will go to the polls Nov. 8, 2022, to decide who will succeed Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who is unable to again run for re-election due to term limits.

“Arkansas is ready for a big leap forward, but we need the right leaders,” Jones says in his campaign video. “The last few years have shown just how easy it is to slip back in time. So that’s why I am running for governor.”

Like many, as a youth the Democrat entertained the idea of becoming an astronaut. But being deaf in one ear kept him from flying.

His resume now includes roles as a middle school teacher, assistant dean for graduate students at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a management consultant with BCT Partners in Newark, N.J., and, most recently, executive director of Winrock International’s nonprofit Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub.

Jones believes taking Arkansas into the future requires:

  • improving education opportunities from cradle to career,
  • enhancing infrastructure from bridges to rural broadband, and,
  • making available to Arkansans every tool needed to build businesses and healthy families.

After graduating from Watson Jones High in Pine Bluff, he went to Morehouse College on a full scholarship from NASA. There he studied math and physics and spent summers working at NASA.

Jones then headed to MIT to earn a master’s degree in nuclear engineering and a Ph.D. in urban planning.

“As an assistant dean, he led efforts to double minority enrollment in MIT’s graduate programs,” according to a “PBS NewsHour” segment about Jones and the Innovation Hub.

Jones is married to Jerrilyn Jones, an Air Force veteran from Montgomery, Ala., who is an associate professor of emergency medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock.

Their three daughters are eighth-generation Arkansans.

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