Grant Woods, former Arizona Attorney General, will be speaking at Senator John McCain’s funeral Thursday morning. Woods describes his personal and professional relationship with McCain as a “heck of a ride.”
Woods served as Attorney General of Arizona from 1991 until 1999. He was a staunch supporter of McCain in his race for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination against J. D. Hayworth in 2010, and was McCain’s chief of staff when he was a congressman.
Here’s what you need to know about Woods:
1. Woods Was Close to McCain & Called Him a “Warrior”
Woods was close to McCain, remembered him as “warrior,” and told KNXV that “it was [his] time.” He remembers him as someone who didn’t enjoy just sitting around waiting to die, and that he was a “fighter” who was ready to go.
In a heartwarming interview with the Arizona Republic, Woods told a story about McCain’s time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, and how a man brought him “gruel” every day while he was in solitary, and every day the man demanded that McCain bow to him. Every day, McCain told the man to “f-himself,” according to Woods.
Woods has often been referred to as Arizona’s most famous RINO, or Republican in Name Only. He ran a private legal practice in Phoenix, and began his career as a politician in 1983 as chief of staff to John McCain. Although he served as Attorney General for eight years, he has “since broken with the GOP establishment by endorsing some Democrats in local elections,” according to the Arizona Republic.
As an attorney, Woods was esteemed. Since returning to private practice in 1999, he has won many multi-million dollar verdicts, including “successful litigation involving antitrust, fraud, breach of contract, wrongful termination, medical malpractice, and toxic torts,” according to Grant Woods Law. He was also elected to the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, which is limited to the top 500 trial lawyers in the world.
2. Woods is a Playwright & Wrote a Comedy Called “The Things We Do”
He staged a reading for his play at Theater Works back in 2016, as part of the annual Dan Schay New Works Festival. The performance featured Hollywood actor Rob Estes, according to the Arizona Republic.
“It’s two couples approaching middle age whose lives all become intertwined, and they have to figure out what their lives are all about with each other,” Woods told the Arizona Republic. “So it’s kind of a modern relationship comedy. It’s fun, but it has its serious moments.”
Although he chose a more “practical” career path, Woods wanted to be a writer before he became a politician. In the past few years, he has focused on a plethora of creative endeavors, including “The Things We Do.”
“I reached a point in life where I just said, ‘OK, I’ve kind of done it all on the legal side. If I’m going to do this writing, if I want to do it, now’s the time,’” he said. “I didn’t need to have a clear path in that I didn’t have to support myself necessarily by writing. So that gives you a lot of freedom, obviously. You can write what you want to write. And it took me in different directions.”
3. Woods Has Written Children’s Book & a Novel, On Top of Several Screenplays & Songs
According to the Arizona Republic, Woods has written screenplays, songs, a children’s book and a novel. In 2015, he put together an album called “The Project” that features Arizona musicians Ray Herndon, Francine Reed, Hans Olson and Nils Lofgren of E Street Band fame. He even started his own label, Bright Angel Records, to release the CD, the Arizona Republic reports.
“I am dedicated to promoting the arts in Arizona — within Arizona and promoting Arizona’s talents to the rest of the world,” he told the Arizona Republic. “I’ve lived here my whole life, so I know Arizona has great talents across the board. I think we’re under-recognized for that.
Check out some of his music below:
He told the Arizona Republic that he’d like Arizona to be known for more than just “crazy politics,” which is a driving force behind his motivation to promote music and art in the state.
4. He Led a Successful, Humble Life & Founded Several Organizations, Including the Mesa Boys & Girls Club & an Outreach Program That Helps Prevent Elder Abuse
He graduated from Occidental College in 1976, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, according to Grant Woods Law. He graduated from Arizona State University College of Law in 1979 and was the 1999 Alumnus of the Year from the law school.
“Woods was President of the Conference of Western Attorneys General and chaired the Civil Rights and Supreme Court committees for the National Association of Attorneys General. He was selected by his peers as the nation’s top attorney general in 1995,” Grant Woods Law reports.
Woods founded the Mesa Boys & Girls Club, the Mesa Education Foundation, and the Mesa Arts Academy, according to Grand Woods Law. The Boys & Girls club is named after Woods. He and his wife also helped launch the Phoenix Children’s Museum, where the Woods family sponsors a construction exhibit.
Woods has won several awards from a plethora of organizations, including the American Cancer Society, Salvation Army and the Children’s Action Alliance. He also created a community outreach program that helps raise awareness and prevent elder abuse called MEAPA, Grant Woods Law reports.
5. Woods is Married With Five Children & Endorsed Hillary Clinton for President in 2016
Woods is married to former Fox and CBS anchor Marlene Galan Woods. They have five children: Austin, Lauren, Cole, Dylan and Ava. According to Grant Woods Law, Austin is a Phoenix attorney and Cole recently graduated from the Dodge Film School at Chapman College. His youngest daughter attends school at the Arizona School for the Arts in Phoenix.
According to Wikipedia, during the U.S. Presidential election of 2016 he was the only Arizona Republican to have “held high office to endorse the Democratic candidate for President, Hillary Clinton.”
“Hillary Clinton is one of the most qualified nominees to ever run for president,” he said during the election. “Donald Trump is the least qualified ever. The stakes are too high to stand on the sideline. I stand with Hillary Clinton for president.”