Wesley Livsey Jones represented Washington State in the House from 1899 to 1909. In 1903, Jones asked Joseph Cannon for an appointment to the Committee on Rivers and Harbors. Cannon was about to become Speaker of the House, a position which, at the time, carried the responsibility of making committee appointments.
The Committee on Rivers and Harbors had jurisdiction over waterway improvements, construction, and pollution. Jones asserted that Washington was “growing very rapidly in population and commerce, having far surpassed Oregon.” With land bordering the Pacific Ocean, Columbia River, and Puget Sound, Washington wanted a voice in the country’s policies about waterways. Jones was appointed by the Speaker, and served on the committee from the 58th to the 60th Congresses (1903 to 1909).