Jim Justice was sworn in as the 36th governor of West Virginia Monday, succeeding former Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, who has served the state for the past six years.
Governor Justice faced Republican nominee and former Senate President Bill Cole during the gubernatorial race. Justice ultimately won by a 49 percent lead, The New York Times reported.
Justice was what some called a “nonpolitician,” due to him never serving in the political sector before and spending most of his life as a businessman.
“I was very interested in this race because the candidates were polar opposites,” Marshall University senior Eli Duduit said. “I had no idea who would win, but it reminded me a lot of the presidential race.”
Duduit said the presidential and West Virginia gubernatorial races paralleled one another due to the major party nominees. He said the nation saw an experienced politician running against the nonpolitical businessman with no experience serving as a politician.
Ultimately, Duduit described that the businessmen were the winners and expressed how many people have discussed the curiosity for both administrations.
Justice is widely known around the state as the owner of The Greenbrier resort. The resort is located in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Although Justice is known for being the owner of the resort, his website also details many other roles he has.
Prior to becoming the owner of The Greenbrier, Justice had a seasoned resume in the world of business, according to his website, justiceforwv.com. His business experience came after he graduated from Marshall University, where he obtained his undergraduate degree as well as his Master’s degree in business administration.
Justice’s website documents how he started his own business, Bluestone Farms, in 1977. The business is still in operation today, now known as Justice Family Farms, LLC. The business consists of 50,000 acres of multiple crops. According to his website, his business is titled “the largest grain producer on the east coast.”
The Jim Justice for WV website also notes that his development of Bluestone Farms was not the only business he has started. Justice created the Stoney Brook Plantation, where avid hunters and fishers can go and practice their sport. The plantation is located in Monroe County, West Virginia.
According to his website, Justice took on the role of President of Bluestone Industries, as well as the Bluestone Coal Operation, after the passing of his father. The website states that he runs a total of 102 companies.
On the campaign trail, Justice used the motto, “Jobs. Jobs. Jobs.” He used this slogan to emphasize his stance on the significance of bringing jobs to West Virginia. As his website states, his experience means he “knows how to create jobs.”
The governor’s website also notes how Justice not only finds business important, but also sports and his family.
According to Justice for WV, Jim has held the title of President of Beckley Little League for 25 years. He also has been a basketball coach for a variety of ages and currently can be seen courtside at the Greenbrier East High School, where he coaches the girls’ basketball team.
His love for sports and business collide, as his website cites he hosts major sporting events at The Greenbrier resort, such as the PGA Tour and the spring training camp for the NFL team, the New Orleans Saints.
Justice for WV also notes the governor is also a devoted family man to his wife, Cathy and their two children, Jay and Jill.
In terms of what Justice plans to bring to West Virginia due to his experiences, Justice’s platform is also outlined on his website and it all seems to comprise from the idea of creating jobs to create prosperity and success for West Virginia.
Being a businessman as well as his campaign slogan, Justice outlines his plan to create more jobs in West Virginia and mend the budget deficit. One of the job markets he hopes to increase is the amount of jobs in the coal industry.
With his background in the agriculture business, his platform also notes how he wants West Virginia agriculture to prosper and to hopefully expand the number of West Virginia employees in this field.
Jim Justice has plans to enhance West Virginia’s appearance to the nation, according to his website. He details how he plans to do this by job creation, tourism and enhancing the West Virginia education system.
“I didn’t know much about Jim Justice prior to his campaign, just that he was the owner of the Greenbrier,” Marshall University senior Mallory Newsome said. “Knowing more about him now, I feel like he will bring a good change to West Virginia.”
According to the West Virginia Legislature website, Governor Justice will start his tenure as the Legislature reconvenes for the first regular session of the 83rd Legislature on Feb. 8.
Read the remainder of this story and view video from the inauguration online at marshallparthenon.com.
Kylee Hurley can be contacted at [email protected]