Jeff Groscost, 1961-2006

Jeff Groscost

I first met Jeff Groscost in 1994 when I made my first run for the state legislature. At the time, I was a 30-year-old college grad so imagine my surprise when Jeff made a special trip to Tucson to see what he could do to help me get elected. What impressed me most about Jeff was that he recognized some “green-behind-the-ears” aspiring politician and took the time to help.

Those were the days when it was us – Tucsonans – against them – Phoenicians. And here was this conservative Republican official putting in the time to help build a stronger coalition of conservative Republicans. Jeff even introduced me to the Speaker of the House, Mark Killian, by setting up an appointment and meeting me at Mr. Killian’s home office. I was scared to death but Jeff made me feel very welcome in the midst of one of the most powerful elected officials in the state.

I didn’t win that election but I didn’t forget Jeff Groscost and all the help he provided me. And Jeff Groscost didn’t forget me.

When I moved my family to Mesa in 2000 to take on the role of Executive Director of Arizona Right to Life (a position I no longer hold), Jeff was the Speaker of the House. He had apparently paid his dues and worked very hard to earn that title. He had also just taken the House of Representatives through a difficult session in which Arizona’s Parental Consent and Abortion Clinic Regulations laws were successfully passed. Jeff Groscost was instrumental in both laws’ passage. Again, I was grateful that Jeff had made my job easier.

When the whole alt-fuels issue broke, I felt bad for Jeff. He took much of it on his shoulders but managed to get through it. That election cycle, a Democrat named Jay Blanchard decided to challenge Jeff in the General Election for the senate seat that by every demographic indication, Jeff was sure to win. Right before the election, I remember calling in to a live radio show with Blanchard and taking him to task over his pro-abortion views. I knew Jeff was in political trouble but damned if I wasn’t going to do what I could to help him win that senate seat. Jeff even came to the Right to Life office where we helped to stuff envelopes with pro-life campaign literature. I felt terrible when he lost. But Jeff bounced right back. Nothing was going to keep him out of the political arena.

Since then, I saw Jeff every once in awhile at Republican events or down at the legislature. He always would pull me aside and start his sentence with “What are we going to do about…” I came to expect that from him and I knew that his political brilliance would always proceed him.

Jeff Groscost will be sorely missed. He worked hard to help a lot of people because he loved people and he loved Arizona. We all owe him a lot and now we won’t be able to pay him back personally. But we will be able to do so in our memories and tributes to him. While I didn’t know him as well as others, I do feel a very important part of the East Valley is missing tonight. It’s tough to see a man leave this world at such a prime period in his life. I especially pray for his family.

While my thoughts and prayers are with his family, I also hope that Jeff’s legacy will be remembered as a man who truly loved his community and pursued a vision to make Arizona a better place for his children.


Comments

  1. Ken Groscost says

    Thank you for your positive response to our son, Jeffrey. I was heartbroken at the vindictiveness of Hull and the editor of the Phoenix Gazette. Jeff became active in politics soon after returning from a church mission to Brazil, and at the time the newspaper was demonizing Governor Meacham. I got involved and was invited to a talk show in Phoenix, but was so livid about the lies and railroading going on with Meacham I didn’t dare do it for fear of losing my temper. Jeff said “I’ll go”. He did, and set the host on his ear, and went on to become one of the best legislators Arizona has ever had. Sincerely, Ken Groscost “Poppa”

Leave a Reply