Houston City Councilmember Jolanda "Jo" Jones believes in a Houston where a kid like her can grow up to be a city council member, a proud mom, a homeowner and a successful lawyer and businesswoman.
Council Member Jones knows that our city government can make a real difference in the life of every Houston child because it did for her.
From a childhood of poverty to the Academic All American Hall of Fame, a successful career as an attorney fighting to reform our criminal justice system, and election to Houston's City Council, Jones has a proven track record of leadership, commitment, and teamwork.
Council Member Jones continues to fight for solutions to make our neighborhoods safer, keep our economy growing, make our city work more efficiently and ensure that every child in Houston has the best opportunity to learn.
Council Member Jones credits an excellent public school education and a rich after-school life in sports and community with her successes. She attended Alief Elsik High School in Houston, where she graduated magna cum laude and was an All-American in track and field and basketball. From there, she went on to the University of Houston, where she was nominated for the Rhodes Scholarship, earned an unprecedented three NCAA heptathlon championships and the title of Greatest Female Athlete of the Century. She graduated magna cum laude with a degree in political science, and later went on to earn her Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Houston Law Center. In 1996, she qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials and holds numerous Hall of Fame titles.
Throughout her life, Council Member Jones has stayed active in the community. For her outstanding service, she earned Congressional recognition from the U.S. House of Representatives, a key to the city of Galveston, Texas and three Jolanda Jones Day proclamations from the cities of Houston and Galveston.
From her long list of achievements, it is nearly impossible to tell that Jones' early life was colored by tragedy and personal setbacks. Jones grew up poor, was sometimes evicted and lived in apartments that often had no electricity or running water. After her father’s suicide she helped her mother to raise her four younger siblings while still a child herself. Yet, Jones fought her way out of poverty because she saw a better future and a chance to serve her community.
"I learned some important lessons along the way," says Council Member Jones. "I learned we don't win in life by pushing people down. We win by lifting them up. We don't win by tearing communities apart. We win by bringing them together. Most of all, I learned that winning ultimately means nothing unless we give back by serving others."