Last updated on September 17th, 2018 at 12:42 pm
Jim Justice is the 36th and incumbent Governor of West Virginia. He assumed office on January 16, 2017 as the successor of Democrat Governor Earl Ray Tomblin. Besides politics, Justice is a well-known conglomerate businessman who has executed over 50 companies in his life. He is in one of Forbes’ Billionaires List.
Early Life and Education
Jim Justice was born on April 27, 1951 to father James Conley and mother Edna Ruth. Although he was born in Charleston, he grew up in Raleigh County and went to a local school.
Graduating from the high school, Justice joined the University of Tennessee for undergraduate studies. Later, he transferred to Marshall University and completed both his undergraduate and postgraduate studies.
Jim Justice is married to his high school acquaintance, Cathy Justice. The couple has two children: Bill and Jay Justice.
Jim has always been a National Football League fanatic. Moreover, he is a huge supporter of New Orleans Saints and has spent millions of dollars on the team.
Coming to Jim Justice’s career, it doesn’t even start without talking about his adventurous business ventures. Graduating from Marshall University, Justice went on to use his advanced business knowledge on building an agricultural empire. In 1977, he established Bluestone Farms and Stoney Brook Plantation. Now, the two firms operate over a total area of 65,000 acres. Moreover, Bluestone Farms is one of the largest grain producers in the US east coast.
Jim Justice’s another venture started after his father died in the early 1990s. He supposedly inherited Bluestone Industries and Bluestone Coal Corporation. These two companies largely diversified Justice’s agriculture-focused business. Above all, these particular ventures have made him worth over $1.5 billion today. In 2009, he sold the coal business to Mechel but again repurchased it in 2015.
Having been the CEO of more than 50 companies in his lifetime, Jim has gathered a large set of special business skills. For example, in 2009, as the five-star resort, The Greenbrier, was about to go bankrupt, he bought the facility for $20.5 million and turned around its fate. All the 650 laid-off workers were called back for work with added perks such as vacation, health benefits, and pay rises. Likewise, he managed to expand the hospitality business to casinos. Now, it is one of West Virginia’s best resorts.
Justice loves sports, especially basketball and golf. He was even an athletic scholar for golf at the University of Tennessee. Since recently, Justice has been investing develop golf courses in collaboration with some golf legends such as Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino.
Besides golf, Jim is frequently involved in coaching boys and girls basketball at various levels, being an AAA – the highest classification – level coach. He has done some coaching for Greenbrier East High School.
As a billionaire, Justice has a lot of money to spend on philanthropic purposes. Reportedly, he supports Dream Tree for Kids organization to distribute Christmas gifts to children. Likewise, he granted $10 million to Cleveland Clinic, $25 million to James C. Justice National Scout Camp and $5 million to his alma mater.
Jim Justice was primarily a Republican. He changed to the Democratic Party in 2014 and subsequently ran for Governor of West Virginia in the 2016 Gubernatorial Election. He gained the Republican nomination with 51.37% votes against Booth Goodwin’s 25.32% votes and Jeff Kessler’s 23.31% votes. In the general election, Justice won a tight competition against Republican nominee Bill Cole with a 49.1% – 42.3% margin.
Donald Trump and Jim Justice
As evident, President Donald Trump and Governor Justice have one huge similarity: they both are billionaire business moguls. However, the two business leaders represent two opposing American parties.
As Justice was elected for Governor, President Trump gave him a congratulatory call and discussed various ways to revive the coal mining industry in West Virginia. After the call, Governor-elect said, “It’s an exciting day for West Virginia because we now have a pathway to the White House and a president-elect who is totally committed to putting our coal miners back to work. President-elect Trump made it clear that he won’t forget about West Virginia when it comes to our nation’s energy policies. I will work closely with the President-elect and his administration on clean coal technology, rolling back the job-killing EPA regulations on coal, and growing West Virginia’s other job opportunities.”