Holk-Jones brings insurance expertise, passion for youth mental health
When Frances Holk-Jones, the newly elected state representative for District 95, enters the Alabama State House of Representatives for the next regular session this coming March, it won’t be her first time working in the chamber.
Jones, the daughter and granddaughter of former Foley mayors, had worked as a page in the Alabama House of Representatives as a teenager and said in a recent interview with APR that she “really fell in love with Montgomery” as a result.
The seat Jones won in November had previously been held by the late state Rep. Steve McMillan, R-Bay Minette, who was the longest-serving member of the Alabama state House of Representatives at the time of his death in April. In January, McMillan announced that he would not seek re-election because of tumors discovered in his brain.
Jones said he has always had an interest in state and local politics throughout the years of his career.
“I have always been very interested in local county and statewide political events, how the system works and being very involved in the growth of Baldwin County, and how it partners with city government and state government,” he said. Jones. “Steve McMillan has been a lifelong personal friend who I respect very much; Steve McMillan and I had wonderful conversations about his plans, and it all seemed to come together with Steve’s blessing.”
In the primary, Jones faced Reggie C. Pullman, an insurance industry insider and former member of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation think tank in Washington DC, and Michael Ludvigsen, Jr, founder of the Bon Secour Bay Oyster Company and a sixth generation Baldwin County Resident.
Jones claimed victory during the Republican primary with 65.9 percent of the total vote, then faced Democratic nominee Richard Brackner in a lopsided victory during the November midterms. No candidate in the primary or midterm elections, including Jones, had held public office before.
Baldwin County is one of the fastest-growing areas in the state, a fact not lost on Jones, who said he wants to make sure that “Montgomery and the entire state of Alabama recognize the benefits and assets” that his county native owns
“I think the thing that we are most proud of in Baldwin County is the growth that we’re experiencing, but with growth, there are challenges and it’s a good problem,” Jones said. “We want to make sure Montgomery is aware of what all of Baldwin County brings to the table financially and the wonderful opportunities we have here.”
Youth mental health is also an important area for Jones.
“Mental health is one of my passions,” Jones said. “I think mental health is involved in a lot of day-to-day activities. It has to do with absenteeism. It has to do with our prison system. Mental health can be connected to many things.”
Jones co-founded the Jennifer Claire Moore Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the mental health of young people, in honor of her late daughter Jennifer. Jones currently serves as chair of the group’s advisory board.
Above all, Jones said she will be going to Montgomery to “represent” and listen as a freshman lawmaker.
“I go there to represent; I think the word representative is vital to my job, which is to represent Baldwin County but also to represent what is best for the citizens of the entire state of Alabama,” Jones said.
The next regular legislative session is expected to begin in early March next year.