By Sara Wilson
Opelika Observer

In 1995, Patsy Jones was elected to the Opelika City Council with the hopes of making Opelika better through her passion for education, economic development and public safety.
Twenty-five years later, and she has done just that.
“We are a city that has been progressing for 25 years. I am proud to be a part of having even led or followed being a part of what has made Opelika better,” Jones said.
During her years on the council, Jones has held many titles. She was the first African American female councilwoman, as well as the first African American female President Pro-Tempore. She has been the longest-serving member on the Opelika City Council with the Mayor-Council form of government.
Serving the community has always been important to Jones. One of her first encounters with public service occurred when she became a deputized register, or someone who helps register people to vote. It was then that she realized how paramount voting was.
Growing up, Jones’s teachers had such an influence on her, that she decided to pursue that same career field. Jones, an Opelika native, attended Alabama State University in Montgomery where she earned a bachelor of science in English and a master of education to pursue a career within the school system.
“Beyond family, education was always important. I went to school and loved my teachers, and because of their influence, this is one of the reasons I wanted to become a teacher,” Jones said.
For 24 years, she worked in the Tallapoosa County school system as an English teacher.
In 1998, Jones left the classroom and began serving as a UniServ Director for District 19, which serves Chambers, Lee and Tallapoosa counties, where she stayed for 13 years. Jones has now retired from the education system.
Considering her background in education, Jones’s platform heavily relied on strengthening the school system. In addition, her platform consisted of supporting economic development and public safety.
“From 1995 to now, that has been what has driven my working on this council,” Jones said.
When Jones, who serves Ward 1, first started working on the council, she helped establish “ward meetings.” These helped educate the community on what was happening in the local government.
“I wanted to see our neighborhoods bettered. For years, there were abandoned homes and buildings along with weeds that had overgrown,” Jones said.
Looking for a way to solve this problem, Jones found her answer at a round-table discussion with Alabama League of Municipalities. She discovered there was already an ordinance to address this issue. All it needed was to be passed. During Jones’s first city-council meeting as a councilwoman, the ordinance passed.
Jones had an apparent passion for economic development within the city. One of her proudest accomplishments was the passing of this ordinance to see the neighborhoods within her district improved.
Opelika mayor Gary Fuller began serving with Jones as a member on the council in 2000 until he was elected mayor in 2004.
“I’ve always admired her hard work and dedication. She will be missed on our city council. Patsy has been a great ambassador for our community,” Fuller said.
As her 25 years of service is coming to an end, Jones said she is looking forward to getting her “me-time.” While she will no longer be sitting on the city council, she still plans to be involved with the city of Opelika.