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Jim Justice
Governor Jim Justice 2017.jpg
36th Governor of West Virginia
Assumed office
January 16, 2017
Preceded by Earl Ray Tomblin
Personal details
James Conley Justice II

(1951-04-27) April 27, 1951 (age 70)
Charleston, West Virginia,
Political party Republican
Other political
Democratic (2015–2017)
Cathy Comer (m. 1975)
Children 2
Education University of Tennessee
Marshall University (BA, MBA)
Net worth IncreaseUS$1.6 billion (2017)

James Conley Justice II (born April 27, 1951) is an American coal mining and agriculture businessman and politician who is the 36th and current Governor of West Virginia. An owner of over 50 companies, including The Greenbrier, a luxury resort, Justice is one of the few billionaires from the state of West Virginia.

In 2015, Justice switched from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party and announced his candidacy for Governor in the 2016 election. He ran as a Democrat and defeated the Republican nominee, Bill Cole. Less than seven months after taking office, Justice switched back to the Republican Party the day after announcing his plans at a Donald Trump rally in the state.

Early life

James Conley Justice II was born in Charleston, the son of James Conley Justice and Edna Ruth (née Perry) Justice. Justice grew up in Raleigh County, West Virginia. He enrolled at the University of Tennessee on an athletic scholarship for golf, but transferred to Marshall University. At Marshall, he was a two-year captain on the Thundering Herd golf team. He earned his bachelor's degree and Master in Business Administration from Marshall.

Business career

Jim Justice DSC 7173 (33495337991)
Governor Jim Justice and First Lady Cathy Justice hosted a legislative reception at the Governor's Mansion 2017

After college, Justice went into the family agriculture business. Justice founded Bluestone Farms in 1977, which now operates 50,000 acres (20,000 ha) of farmland, and is the leading producer of grain on the East Coast of the United States. During that time, he also developed Stoney Brook Plantation, a 15,000-acre hunting and fishing preserve in Monroe County.

Justice is a seven time national corn growing champion. After the death of his father in 1993, Justice inherited ownership of Bluestone Industries and Bluestone Coal Corporation.

Justice is in the process of building a new mountain top golf course with golfers Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, and Lee Trevino.

Forbes estimates Justice's net worth at $1.6 billion, making him the richest man in West Virginia.

As of 2014, he owned 70 active mines in 5 states. His charitable activities have included $25 million for the James C. Justice National Scout Camp at The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve, $5 million for Marshall University, and $10 million to the Cleveland Clinic.

Justice gives away more than $1 million in Christmas gifts annually through the Dream Tree for Kids campaign.

Personal life

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Governor Jim Justice - State of the State Address 2017

Justice lives in Lewisburg, West Virginia. He met his wife, Cathy (née Comer) in high school. They have two children, Jay and Jill. He stands at 6 feet and 7 inches.

Justice is a lifelong fan of the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League (NFL), and spent $30 million to develop a training facility for the team to use in 2014 at The Greenbrier. He hosts the Greenbrier Classic, a PGA Tour event, at The Greenbrier annually.

Since 1992 Justice has been President of Beckley Little League. His participation has helped the program expand to over 1,000 children playing on 80 teams.

Having lived in Lewisburg since 2001, he has been the girls basketball coach at Greenbrier East High School since 2003, having won the state championship in 2012. In 2011, he also became the head coach for the boys basketball teams, a position from which he stepped down in September 2017.

He was the only coach at the AAA level (the state's largest classification) who coached both the girls and boys basketball teams.

He has been director of the Mountain State Coal Classic since 1995. The basketball classic has enjoyed tremendous success awarding hundreds of thousands in scholarships and direct support to participating schools.

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