Ben Jones (Georgia congressman)

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Ben Lewis Jones
Ben L. Jones 101st Congress 1989.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 4th district
In office
January 3, 1989 – January 3, 1993
Preceded by Pat Swindall
Succeeded by John Linder
Personal details
Born (1941-08-30) August 30, 1941 (age 81)
Tarboro, North Carolina U.S.
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Profession Actor

Ben Lewis Jones (born August 30, 1941) is an American actor, politician, playwright and essayist, best known for his role as Cooter Davenport in The Dukes of Hazzard. Jones also served for four years in the United States House of Representatives from January 3, 1989 to January 3, 1993.

Personal life

Jones is a 1959 graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School in Portsmouth, Virginia and attended the University of North Carolina for four years. He is married to Alma Viator.[1] By previous wives, Ben has a daughter, Rachel, and a son, Walker.

File:Ben L. Jones and the General Lee (1999).jpg
Ben Jones and the General Lee, taken outside his store "Cooter's Place" in Sperryville, Virginia in 1999.

Since the 1990s, Jones has run a chain of "Cooter's museums" across the U.S., dedicated to The Dukes of Hazzard. He also organized the annual "Dukefest" gathering and has most recently been hosting "The Shenandoah Jamboree" music shows featuring country music legends, past and present, at The Shenandoah Caverns Yellow Barn in Shenandoah county Virginia.[citation needed]

Political career

Following the end of The Dukes of Hazzard, Jones entered the political arena as a Democrat. In 1986, he ran unsuccessfully against Pat Swindall for a seat in the United States House of Representatives from Georgia, garnering 47% of the vote, more than expected. He ran again in 1988, against Swindall, this time easily winning with 60% of the vote. Jones was narrowly re-elected in 1990, but in 1992, following redistricting which moved his home into another district, he was defeated in the Democratic primary election. In 1994, he ran against the then-House Minority Whip and soon-to-be House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Jones received 35% of the vote.

Jones has since returned to acting, as well as becoming a well-known writer, writing many political essays and a one-man play about Dizzy Dean in which he plays the famous "Gashouse Gang" pitcher and baseball announcer.[citation needed]

In 1998, he broke from most Democrats and asked President Bill Clinton to resign during his trial and impeachment. Jones is still active in the Democratic Party. In 2002, he ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the United States House from Virginia against Republican incumbent Eric Cantor, thus becoming one of very few recent American politicians to seek elective office in more than one state.

Confederate flag controversy

In 2015, Jones announced his support of the Confederate flag, which can be seen on the exterior top of The Dukes of Hazzard signature car, the General Lee. His defense of the flag served as his response to Warner Bros.' decision to no longer manufacture any merchandise that features the flag, such as the General Lee, and the discontinuation of reruns of the show due to Dylann Roof's infamous reputation associated to the flag.[2][3][4][5][6][7]


  1. "Top Fund-Raiser Is Also a Billionaire's Wife" New York Times November 3, 1996 By Elizabeth Bumiller
  2. Derschowitz, Jessica (24 June 2015). "Dukes of Hazzard actor Ben Jones defends Confederate flag". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 27 August 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Ramisetti, Kirthana (24 June 2015). "'Dukes of Hazzard' star Ben Jones defends Confederate flag, attributes backlash to 'political correctness'". Daily News. Retrieved 27 August 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. McAfee, Tierney (24 June 2015). "Dukes of Hazzard Actor Defends Confederate Flag: It Represents 'Courage and Family and Good Times'". People. Retrieved 27 August 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Fisher, Luchina (1 July 2015). "TV Land Pulls 'Dukes of Hazzard' Reruns". ABC News. Retrieved 27 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. CNN's Ashleigh Banfield Gets Into Shouting Match With Ex-Rep. Ben 'Cooter' Jones on YouTube
  7. Ben Jones tells CNN why the Confederate flag should be on license plates on YouTube

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Pat Swindall
United States Representative for the 4th Congressional District of Georgia
January 3, 1989 – January 2, 1993
Succeeded by
John Linder