Jones Osborn (’43) was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006.
Jones Osborn, who set aside his journalism education at the UA to volunteer for active duty following the attack on Pearl Harbor, has a record of public service befitting of someone from the “greatest generation.”
Serving nearly four years in the Army, Jones left the service in 1946 as an infantry captain and returned to his hometown of Yuma. For 25 years he was editor of the Yuma Daily Sun and was president of the Arizona Newspapers Association in 1950. The ANA recognized Jones as “master editor and publisher” in 1967.
Throughout his life, Jones has been active in civic service in Yuma as a member of many community groups and organizations. But it is as a legislator that Jones made his mark on the state.
First elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 1970, Jones was appointed to the State Senate in 1973 and re-elected for 8 terms. He was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and served also on the Education Committee, the Commerce, Labor, Insurance and Banking Committee, and the Legislative Ethics Committee. He served both as a majority whip and then minority leader when party control changed.
Jones counts as his legislative achievements being author of the state’s Sunset Law in 1978, creating the Residential Utility Consumer Office (RUCO) in 1983, and authoring Intensive Probation Services legislation in 1984. Jones was rated on several occasions as one of the “Ten Most Effective Legislators” by the Arizona Republic and, among many other distinctions, he received the National Distinguished Legislator Award from the Democratic Legislative Leaders Association in Washington, D.C. in 1988.
Jones was appointed to the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education (WICHE) in 1976 and was elected chairman in 1990. He has served since 1994 on the Arizona Judicial Commission, among numerous other civic posts following his legislative career.
While at the UA, Jones wrote for the Wildcat, the Desert yearbook and the humor magazine Kitty Kat.