|Jonathan Earl "Jon" Woods|
|Member of the Arkansas Senate
from the 7th district
January 14, 2013 – January 9, 2017
|Preceded by||Bill Pritchard|
|Succeeded by||Lance Eads|
|Member of the Arkansas House of Representatives
from the 93rd District
January 8, 2007 – January 14, 2013
|Preceded by||Doug Matayo|
|Succeeded by||Jim Dotson|
August 23, 1977 |
Charlotte, North Carolina
|Alma mater||University of Arkansas|
|Birth name||Jonathan Earl Woods|
August 23, 1977 |
Charlotte, North Carolina
|Instruments||Thunderbird Bass, vocals|
|Associated acts||A Good Fight|
|Website||A Good Fight Website|
While serving 10 years in the Arkansas State Legislature from 2007-2017, he was successful in passing over 80 bills, creating nearly a dozen task forces and commissions, passing four constitutional amendments, and earning numerous awards and recognitions.
He also produced the first record for the popular geek rock band "The Plaid Jackets" which featured the international hit "Adam West is Batman". That song is featured on Adam West's documentary, Starring Adam West, which was premiered at the Napa Valley Film Festival in 2013. He is the bass guitarist for the rock band, A Good Fight which has played shows with many national acts, had their music on several reality shows on MTV and also a song featured on Sony PlayStation's MLB 13: The Show.
On March 1, 2017, Woods was indicted on 13 federal counts for his alleged collusion in a kickback scheme involving Oren Paris III, the president of Ecclesia College in Springdale; Randell Shelton Jr. of Alma; and Micah Neal, a former Arkansas State Representative who pleaded guilty to one act of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud. Woods' attorney Patrick Benca has denied the allegations.
- 1 Early Life & Education
- 2 Music background
- 3 A Good Fight
- 4 The Plaid Jackets
- 5 Political career
- 6 Election history
- 7 External links
- 8 References
Early Life & Education
Jon was born in 1977 in Charlotte, NC. He and his family relocated to Blytheville, Arkansas in 1979. His home in Blytheville was located 50 feet from 400 acres of cotton and in the heart of the Arkansas Delta. He attended Gosnell public schools through ninth grade. His mother was the high school librarian. Jon was Student Council Vice President during his freshman year of high school, where he also played football, basketball and ran track. He began his involvement in local and state government through the mentorship of Arkansas State Representative Ann Bush. Ann and her husband, Allen, recruited Jon to join the Boy Scouts where he earned the rank of Eagle Scout. Ann mentored Jon through his teens and taught him the importance of government’s role at the local, state and national levels. Allen and Ann Bush are highly respected in the eastern Arkansas community, the state Republican Party of Arkansas, and are former part owners of the family business, Bush’s Baked Beans.
Having grown up in the Arkansas Delta, Jon was heavily influenced by the Memphis music scene. Within a 50 mile radius of Jon’s home was: Memphis, the home of Elvis Presley; Dyess Colony, the childhood home of Johnny Cash; and Twist, Arkansas, where B.B. King named his guitar “Lucille” after a woman named Lucille, who was the cause of a fight between two men in a dance hall during King’s performance. Just a little further south is the famous Crossroads where famous blues musician Robert Johnson supposedly sold his soul to the devil in exchange for mastery of the guitar. This account has been referenced in numerous films such as O Brother, Where Art Thou, and Crossroads starring Ralph Macchio.
In 1993 at the end of Jon’s freshman year of high school, Jon’s father was offered a job with Allen Canning located in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. There were two main contributing factors to the family’s decision to move. Jon’s father turned down an upper level position with his company that would have required relocating the family to Nashville, TN. Jon’s father was determined to remain in Arkansas. (He thought Arkansas was a beautiful state and loved its people and natural beauty.) Also at this time, the Blytheville Air Force Base was closing due to the end of the cold war, and many of Jon’s friends had already moved due to their parents being in the military.
After relocating to Siloam Springs, in Benton County, Arkansas, Jon attended the John Brown University basketball camp during the summer before his sophomore year. While at this camp, Jon met John Brown (no relation to John Brown University founder). John Brown was Jon’s first friend in Siloam Springs. John Brown was to become a Special Operative Pararescueman (sometimes referred to as Para Jumpers or PJ) teamed with SEAL Team Six, Gold Squadron. He was later killed in action, in what is considered the worst loss of American lives in a single incident in the Afghanistan campaign, known as the 2011 Chinook shootdown in Afghanistan, surpassing Operation Red Wings in 2005. There has since been a book written about the event titled Call Sign Extortion 17: The Shoot-Down of SEAL Team Six.
During Jon’s junior year Jon was one of only a handful of students selected by the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars to attend Arkansas Boys State. While in high school, Jon played football and basketball, but chose soccer instead of pursuing track. Several of the soccer team players were musicians, who inspired Jon to pick up the guitar more seriously. He also took private vocal lessons at John Brown University. During this time, fellow basketball and soccer player, and musician and close friend Tim Berry died in a fatal car accident at the age of 16. Years later, Tim would be the inspiration for the band name, “A Good Fight”, named for the verse in the Bible from II Timothy 4:7. Upon graduation from Siloam Springs High School in 1996, Jon attended the Northwest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville, Arkansas. He obtained two degrees, an Associate of Arts and an Associate of Science in Business.
He continued his education at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, and served in the Associated Student Government (ASG) Senate. Jon was elected Chairman of the College Republicans and stayed involved with the Benton and Washington County Republican Committees. Jon was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, Alpha Zeta Chapter and was a member of the Intramural soccer team for the fraternity. While at the University, Jon completed an internship at the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC) where he helped small businesses develop through market research and business development. During this time, his non-college activities included taking private drum, guitar and bass lessons. He was also in his first band called Westone for several years before the band broke up. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a focus on Marketing Management from the Sam Walton College of Business in 2002. His name, ironically enough, is engraved on the sidewalk in front of the University of Arkansas George and Boyce Billingsly Music Building on the east entrance.
After graduation Jon began working in the commercial banking industry in Benton and Washington Counties. He co-founded the popular pop rock band, A Good Fight, in 2004, and in 2006, at the age of 29, he was elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives and was sworn in on January 8, 2007 as the youngest member of the Arkansas 86th General Assembly.
Growing up in the Arkansas Delta, Jon and his brother, Dustin, were heavily influenced by the Memphis Music Scene and events held on Mud Island during the 1980's. As a child, the radio stations in Memphis exposed Jon to Led Zeppelin, The Beach Boys, Brian Wilson, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Chuck Berry, The Beatles, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and Elvis Presley, along with popular music of that time period, such as Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Queen, Poison, Pink Floyd, Boston, Lynyrd Skynryd, Guns N' Roses, Kiss and Aerosmith. When he became a teenager, he became very interested in the alternative rock movement and bands like Nirvana, Helmet, Green Day, The Smashing Pumpkins, The Nixons, Tripping Daisy, Toadies and Soundgarden. The growing popularity of Stevie Ray Vaughn also had a major influence on him at the time.
After the family relocated from the Arkansas Delta to Northwest Arkansas Jon's brother Dustin began to practice the guitar religiously. Dustin took guitar lessons while Jon took drum, bass and vocal lessons. Due to Jon's interest in politics and sports he was not as devoted to music as his brother. Dustin was named most talented in the class of 1997 from Siloam Springs High School. Dustin had two bands in High School one in 1996 and a second in 1997. Jon's first band was with his brother Dustin called "Westone" pronounced "Wes-Stone" in 1998. They recorded four tracks and played a dozen live shows before disbanding. Dustin went on to form a band called "Levld" pronounced "leveled" in 2000 which disbanded in 2002.
A Good Fight
Jon and his brother Dustin (stage name Rizz) founded A Good Fight in 2004. Jon and his brother secured the federal trademark of A Good Fight through the law office of Asa Hutchinson, who is now the governor of Arkansas. Dustin came up with the name of the band one evening, but then both decided the band name would be final after reflecting on close friend Tim Berry, who had died in 1994 in a fatal car accident at the age of 16. The verse in the Bible from II Timothy 4:7 "I have fought the good fight" is a tribute to their friend. They then reached out to local and popular drummer Sean Marriott of Hot Springs, Arkansas, who at the time resided in Fayetteville, Arkansas. After the three met they agreed this would be an attempt to form a band with the goal of seeking national recognition. Their next focus was finding a lead singer. During this time, Jon ran successfully for state representative. Drummer Sean Marriott also was briefly married during this time to Juliet of Fayetteville, Arkansas who is good friends with Billy Joe Armstrong of Green Day. Billy Joe wrote the song, "One for the Razorbacks", about her on the Kerplunk album ". The band had set high goals and they were in no hurry to settle for a singer. After a grueling two year period and over 30 auditions, the band agreed to add vocalist Eddie Love to the lineup in 2006.
2006 - 2008: First performance and success of first album
With the lineup complete in 2006 the band rehearsed and wrote material during most of 2006 and 2007. They performed their first show at George's Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville, Arkansas to a crowd of 400 fans on April 21, 2007. Their first album, The City Could be Ours by Morning, was released in 2008. It was released at a sold out show at George's Majestic Lounge to critical acclaim. Within just months of the release of the album, the band won a nationwide MTV contest in which 4000 bands competed to have their music played during an MTV reality show. Over a half a million votes were cast and A Good Fight received an overwhelming number of them for the music video for their debut single, "The Drama". MTV contacted the group, after they won the competition, and hosted a party at the Embassy Suites John Q. Hammons Center in Rogers, Arkansas, August 1, 2008. The song was played during the season finale of A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila , several episodes of Made, and their music video for "The Drama" was also played on MTV.
2009 - 2012: Second album release and new members
Due to the popular response of their first album, the band was invited to play at the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas on March 21 2009. They went back into the studio in 2009 and began working on their next album, the self titled, "A Good Fight". The second album was released on May 1, 2010, to another sold out show at George's Majestic Lounge to critical acclaim. With extensive touring, the lifestyle of the road took its toll on the drummer, Sean Marriott, who asked to be replaced on good terms. In October of 2010, drummer Rob Lee replaced Sean as the new drummer of A Good Fight. The band toured extensively. In early 2011 Rob Lee approached the band about bringing in a good friend and talented guitarist, Eddie Mekelburg. The band was hesitant at first but became open to the idea of having the sound of a second guitar in their live performances. Eddie Mekelburg's talent impressed the band members and they all agreed to add him to the band.
The band played at Rocklahoma in Pryor, Oklahoma on May 26, 2012, where drummer Rob Lee met his future wife. Several months later, Rob asked to be replaced on good terms so that he could focus on law school and his new relationship. In August of 2012, Christian Sanchez was named the new drummer for A Good Fight. Jon took a break from the road to focus on his new position. He had recently been elected to the Arkansas State Senate and was replaced on the road by experienced, local bassist, Jake Norton in August 2012. Jon still had a presence in the band, producing the new recordings for a third album, and a manager role.
2013 - Present: Third album recordings, continued commercial success and break from touring
In 2013 the band consisted of Eddie Love, Rizz, Eddie Mekelburg, Jake Norton and Christian Sanchez. The band toured extensively and expanded their influence into the video game industry by landing on Sony PlayStation's MLB 13: The Show. The group played a sold out reunion show on November 8, 2013 at George's Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville, Arkansas with former drummers Sean Marriott and Rob Lee, and bassist Jon Woods. It was announced weeks before the show that this would be their last live show. The band was taking a break from the road after seven years of touring and two albums to spend time with their families and focus more time in the studio on their third album. Due to the success of their previous two albums, and the high expectations for their third album, the band has been in the studio recording tracks since 2010, working on their much anticipated album "The Kids Keep Asking For More".
The Plaid Jackets
Woods is the Republican member of the Arkansas Senate from Springdale, Arkansas. In 2006, he ran for a seat in the Arkansas House of Representatives. He was the youngest legislator of Arkansas's 86th General Assembly in 2007. He was re-elected to this position twice. Restricted by term limits that allow only 3 terms in the House of Representatives, Woods decided to run for the Arkansas State Senate from District 7, which includes most of Springdale, Johnson, Tontitown, Goshen, Elkins, Durham and parts of Fayetteville and all of eastern Washington County. In 2012, Woods was elected to the Arkansas State Senate. In 2015, Woods received an award from the American Red Cross for performing life saving CPR on a visitor to the Arkansas Capitol Building.
Arkansas House of Representatives 2007-2012
2007-2008 86th General Assembly
During his first term he showed his ability to bring people of differing points of view together by making Arkansas’ first Umbilical Cord Blood Bank a reality. This institution harvests primitive stem cells from umbilical cords, helping advance stem cell research without abandoning his pro-life convictions. Along with Senator Johnny Key, Woods was awarded the Invest in Life award for his work on the project.
2009-2010 87th General Assembly
In his second term during the 87th General Assembly in 2009, he became the chair of the technology committee, an unheard of feat for a second term member from the minority party. He sponsored legislation that helped amend the Arkansas State Constitution granting the citizens of Arkansas the right to hunt, fish, trap, and harvest wildlife. It was referred to the voters in 2010 where it passed with 612,495 votes or 82.78% of the vote with 127,444 or 17.22% voting against.
2011-2012 88th General Assembly
In his third and final term in the Arkansas House of Representatives during the 88th General Assembly in 2011, Jon took on sex offenders, increasing the penalties for sex crimes and expanding notification to the public about sex offenders living in their neighborhoods. He also sponsored legislation to create the Office of Health Information Technology to implement electronic health records in Arkansas and cosponsored legislation to create a sales tax holiday weekend for families to buy school supplies for their school aged children.
Arkansas State Senate 2013-2016
2013-2014 89th General Assembly
Woods served on the Insurance and Commerce, Joint Performance Review, Public Retirement & Social Security Programs, and Judiciary Committees and the Arkansas Legislative Council. Woods sponsored Carter's Law in 2013, creating a comprehensive program of education regarding shaken baby syndrome.
2015-2016 90th General Assembly
|Democratic||Diana Gonzales Worthen||8,221||35.24|
- "The Plaid Jackets find their place on the Comic Con circuit, meet their idols".
- "Plaid Jackets Are No Joke, But Funny | The Free Weekly". Retrieved 2017-04-30.
- "MLB 13: The Show". Videogame soundtracks Wiki. Retrieved 2017-04-30.
- "Updated: Former State Sen. Jon Woods, Ecclesia College President Oren Paris III Indicted". Arkansas Business. Retrieved 2017-03-06.
- "Indictment Woods, Paris, Shelton" (PDF). KUAR. March 2, 2017. Retrieved March 6, 2017.
- "Lawmakers React To Former State Senator Indictment". Fort Smith/Fayetteville News | 5newsonline KFSM 5NEWS. 2017-03-04. Retrieved 2017-03-06.
- "B.B. King's "Lucille" Marker". Arkansas Tourism Official Site. Retrieved 2017-04-30.
- Crossroads, retrieved 2017-04-30
- Clooney, George; Turturro, John; Nelson, Tim Blake; Goodman, John (2001-02-02), O Brother, Where Art Thou?, retrieved 2017-04-30
- Ap (1991-06-29). "Commission Votes to Close 6 Big Air Force Installations". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-04-30.
- "Air Force Tech. Sgt. John W. Brown | Military Times". thefallen.militarytimes.com. Retrieved 2017-04-30.
- "Air Force Tech. Sgt. John W. Brown | Military Times". thefallen.militarytimes.com. Retrieved 2017-04-05.
- "The Depiction of Arkansas Women in Music - The Ozark Echo". The Ozark Echo. 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2017-04-27.
- "Arkansas' A Good Fight Hits MTV at 1 p.m. | The Arkansas Project". The Arkansas Project. 2008-08-10. Retrieved 2017-04-30.
- "'A Good Fight' Plays SXSW, March 21 | The Arkansas Project". The Arkansas Project. 2009-03-16. Retrieved 2017-04-30.
- Flyer Profile: A Good Fight April 8, 2009 · By Dustin Bartholomew http://www.fayettevilleflyer.com/2009/04/08/flyer-profile-a-good-fight/
- "Welcome to My Campaign Website!". woodsforarkansas.com. Retrieved June 24, 2012.
- "Arkansas Senator Saves Life at Capitol with CPR".
- "Red Cross To Honor Locals Credited With Saving Lives".
- "HB 2416". Arkansas State Legislature. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- "SENATOR JOHNNY KEY, REPRESENTATIVE JON WOODS RECEIVE FIRST EVER "INVEST IN LIFE" AWARDS FROM CORD BLOOD BANK OF ARKANSAS". Retrieved 26 January 2013.
- "Arkansas Senate". www.arkansas.gov. Retrieved 2017-01-28.
- "ADVANCED COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY - JOINT". Arkansas State Legislature. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- "SJR3". Arkansas Stale Legislature. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- "Election Results". Arkansas Secretary of State. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- "HB 1015". Arkansas State Legislature. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- "HB 1009". Arkansas State Legislature. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- "HB 1905". Arkansas State Legislature. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- "HB 1369". Arkansas State Legislature. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- Woods, Jon. "Member Profile". Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- "Carter's Law" (PDF).