David Jones Steps Into GOP Chairman Role

David Jones, long-time co-chairman of the Belmont County Republican Party, has stepped in to help local chapter in the role of chairman.

Jones took the helm after former chairman Chris Gagin unexpectedly stepped down in July. Gagin said he was stepping down as a protest to President Donald Trump’s statements about the U.S. intelligence community during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Gagin’s resignation briefly brought national attention to Belmont County, with his announcement on Twitter shared millions of times. However, GOP party officials here said they have continued business without disruption.

Cynthia Fregiato, the Belmont County GOP treasurer, said the group named Jones chairman at an Aug. 7 meeting. The Belmont County party has three officers: Jones, Fregiato and Kelly McCabe, who serves as secretary. Fregiato said the group will continue with three officers temporarily until they select a new chairman.

“We may just operate with the three officers until our reorganization,” she said.

Fregiato said she is confident in Jones’ experience and dedication to the party.

“He’s been co-chair for many years,” she said. “He’s always been available to run a meeting if the chairman wasn’t there. He’s been very, very active in the party and he’s stepped right up without hesitation to fill that position.

“Everything has run smoothly,” said Fregiato. “We had a meeting, we appointed the co-chair and chairman, and plans are ahead for the (Belmont County Fair). … “It was a surprise with the resignation, but everything has gone without a problem.”

Jones said he felt he had the time to step forward as chairman. However, he said the move for him will be temporary.

“I’m not interesting in serving long-term,” he said. “We’re going to select a chairman sometime in the future. As to who that is and how soon, I don’t know. We’re going to try to be very cautious as to who we pick as chairman. I’m sure someone will step forward.”

Jones said he is confident in the quality of Belmont County GOP members and potential leaders.

“We’re talking to different people,” he said. “It’s not going to happen immediately.”

An auctioneer and dedicated member of the Belmont County Fair Board, Jones was busy last week among the volunteers and workers preparing the fairgrounds for the event. He said the Republican Party is also expected to make a strong showing at the fair, during the election and beyond.

“Our party’s alive and doing well,” he said. “We’re very, very proud of what we’ve got accomplished, the people that we have in office. We’ve got a commissioners race, a candidate running for that spot, and we’re supporting him. We’re also going to have a booth at our Belmont County Fair.

“We want unity, we do have unity, and we’re going to continue to have unity … I see nothing but a bright future for our party,” said Jones.

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