CHARLESTON — Attorney and pastor Jeff C. Woods hopes to bring West Virginia together if he is elected to the Supreme Court.
Woods said campaigning is fun and informative.
"It's learning and a little hard, but it's worth it," Woods said in an interview with The West Virginia Record. "You really wish you weren’t in this position for the reasons you’re in it right now. This election would not be taking place if the people who were previously elected in the behavior they did."
Woods said he loves the law and he had wanted to be a lawyer since he was 6 years old.
"I felt, and I still feel, that I’ve been given a gift," Woods said. "Our court now is so far removed from the people it was time for somebody who loves the law and people the way I do to get involved. I’m convinced that the court — what they’ve done — people have lost faith in the system."
Woods said the legal system is important.
"As a black man, I realize in this nation, black people would not be where we are today without our legal system," Woods said. "Everything that black people have been able to get involved in and achieve has been because the law went first. Before black people weren’t even a whole person—we were three-fifths of a person. It took the law to change that."
Woods said he loves the law so much that he believes it’s the only way West Virginians can resolve so many of the social and economic crises that the state is currently in.
"As a result, I believe it’s time for us to stop sitting on the sidelines and get involved," Woods said.
Woods wants to look at resources and make sure that they are being properly allocated to help West Virginians.
"I want to look at what’s going on with the resources and whether or not we’re properly using these resources to serve the people in the administration of justice," Woods said.
Woods said the people in the system have forgotten why they're in the positions they are in.
"We have a serious problem," Woods said. "We’ve got to get this system back to thinking about people. Everything we do is ultimately going to affect somebody else’s life."
Woods said his experiences and qualifications are quite diverse, more than anybody currently sitting on the court.
"I’ve done everything in our legal system in one way or another," Woods said.
As a pastor, Woods said he wants to make it clear that he understands the difference between church and state.
"My faith means the world to me and even if you don’t believe the way I do, you can’t argue with the fact that my beliefs and my faith make me the man I am, which will help me in the fair administration of justice," Woods said. "I’m not going to laud my faith over anybody, but the bottom line is that I’m not going to abandon my faith. I won't abandon my foundation."
Woods graduated from West Virginia University with a degree in Sociology. He then received his law degree from Howard University Law School. He also received a doctorate in African-American Ministries from Newburgh Theological Seminary.
Woods has served clerkship with the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals and was the acting director for the Magistrate Court System. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps
Woods served as an active ordained minister and Chaplain of the West Virginia State University Football Team for 10 seasons.