Governor James C. Justice, II was born April 27, 1951, to James Conley Justice and Edna Ruth Justice. He attended Raleigh County public schools and graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1969, attended Greenbrier Military Academy as a post-graduate. Governor Justice went on to Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, and was captain of the golf team for two years before earning his undergraduate degree and a Masters in Business Administration.
Governor Justice joined his family’s business in 1976. Because of his keen interest in nature and the outdoors, he started Justice Family Farms in 1977 in beautiful Monroe County, West Virginia. Under his direction, Justice Farming Operations has grown to be a significant agricultural enterprise. His companies farm more than 50,000 acres of corn, wheat, and soybeans in West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
Governor Justice is the largest farmer east of the Mississippi River. He is a member of the National Corn Growers Association, and a seven-time national corn growing champion. Governor Justice, a passionate sportsman himself, developed Stoney Brook Plantation, a 15,000-acre hunting and fishing preserve in Monroe County, West Virginia.
Upon the death of his father in 1993, Jim became the President and CEO of Bluestone Industries, Inc. and Bluestone Coal Corporation. Over the next 15 years, Jim launched a massive expansion of multiple businesses, which included significant coal reserve expansion, Christmas tree farms, cotton gins, turfgrass operations, golf courses, timber enhancement, and land development projects.
Before being elected Governor of West Virginia, he was the president and CEO of 102 different companies. Governor Justice spent his career creating thousands of jobs and understands how to put people to work.
In 2009, Justice rescued The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, from bankruptcy. The workforce was facing deep cuts in jobs and benefits. Immediately after purchasing The Greenbrier, Jim Justice reversed many of the benefit cuts and invested in renovations and expansions. He brought major events like the PGA Tour, training camps for the NFL and NBA, and countless high-profile acts and conferences to The Greenbrier.
Governor Justice has carried on his family’s tradition of being major supporters of youth programs in Southern West Virginia. Since 1992 he has been President of Beckley Little League. His participation has helped the program expand to over 1,000 kids playing on 80 teams. He has coached basketball teams of all ages for the past 36 years and is currently the head girls and boys basketball coach at Greenbrier East High School in Lewisburg, WV. On November 29, 2016, Justice coached his 1,000th career win in basketball.
As part of his involvement with the West Virginia Coal Association in the early 1990s, Jim became Tournament Director of the Mountain State Coal Classic Basketball Tournament. The Classic was moved to Beckley and has enjoyed tremendous success by awarding hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships and direct support to participating schools.
Governor Justice was the 1998 Recipient of the Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce’s Community Service Award as a result of his involvement with youth programs in the area, the 1998 Recipient of the “Spirit of Beckley” Award from the Beckley-Raleigh County YMCA, the 2000 recipient of the City of Hope Medical Center’s “Spirit of Life” award, the 2009 Charleston Gazette’s “West Virginian of the Year.”
In 2010, he was named a “Distinguished West Virginian” by Governor (now Senator) Joe Manchin and the 2011 Honoree at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Blue Ridge Chapter “Dinner of Champions.” Jim was chosen Mountain Athletic Conference “Coach of the Year” and West Virginia High School “Coach of the Year” in 2012 and was named” West Virginian of the Year” in 2014 and again in 2016 by the Clarksburg Exponent Telegram.
In May 2015, Jim announced his campaign to seek the office of Governor of West Virginia. After 19 months on the campaign trail sharing his vision for transforming West Virginia, Jim was elected the 36th Governor of West Virginia. He won with a broad coalition of support from Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. On January 16, 2020, he filed the appropriate paperwork to seek a second term as Governor of West Virginia.
Jim and his wife Cathy have been best friends since high school. The Governor and the First Lady have two children, James (Jay) C. Justice, III, a Virginia Tech graduate who runs the Justice family’s coal and agriculture operations, and Dr. Jill Justice, a graduate of Marshall University and The Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Blacksburg, VA.
The Justice family has recently grown to include Jay’s wife, Catherine Grainger Justice, and Jill’s husband, Adam Long. Jim and Cathy live near downtown Lewisburg.