MARTINSBURG — Twenty-third Judicial Circuit Court docket Chief Decide Michael Lorensen confirmed Wednesday that he has appointed Sen. John Unger II, D-Berkeley, to fill the empty seat on the Berkeley County Justice of the Peace Court docket.
Unger was appointed on Tuesday and shall be sworn in in early September, in accordance with Decide Lorensen. He’ll resign from his place within the West Virginia Senate to take this appointment.
“Senator Unger will deliver a wealth of problem-solving abilities and expertise to our Justice of the Peace courtroom,” Decide Lorensen mentioned in a press launch saying the appointment. “Along with his legislative expertise, Sen. Unger has demonstrated principled management in our neighborhood, in addition to all kinds of experiences which is able to assist in his understanding of the issues confronted by litigants earlier than the Justice of the Peace courtroom.”
Along with his place of state senator, Unger is also founder and present president of the Larger Restoration and Group Empowerment, Inc., which works to supply a pathway of hope for these affected by the opioid epidemic within the Japanese Panhandle. He’s additionally the president of West Virginia Restoration Coach Academy, additionally coping with the opioid epidemic.
“The judicial system is being proactive in figuring out and dealing inside the confines of the regulation on these issues, that are getting worse due to the pandemic,” Unger mentioned within the launch. “The courts are responding to the wants of the inhabitants. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been affected by habit or trauma.
“No one will get nearer to the individuals than a Justice of the Peace. The magistrates are the primary line of protection. It’s the individuals’s courtroom. Courts are there to assist individuals remedy issues by utilizing the regulation. I need to be a part of a group the place I feel I can do the best good for the best variety of individuals.”
As well as, Unger has labored within the discipline of drug habit restoration via drug courts and day report facilities in a number of counties, together with Boone County, which was the state’s first household therapy courtroom.
“My first precedence would be the Justice of the Peace courtroom,” Unger mentioned.
Unger was first elected in 1998 to the West Virginia Senate and has since served as majority chief and been chairman of the Choose Committee on Youngsters and Poverty, the Committee on Youngsters and Households, the Choose Committee on Redistricting (2011), the Joint Legislative Fee on Water Assets and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, in accordance with the West Virginia Judiciary launch.
In accordance with Senate Minority Chief Stephen Baldwin, D-Greenbrier, it has been an honor to serve and study from Unger.
“I take into account him not solely a pal and colleague, however a mentor,” Baldwin mentioned in a press launch from the minority caucus. “This subsequent chapter in his life makes good sense. John at all times says he’ll spend his time the place he can do probably the most good. As Justice of the Peace, John can proceed his work on substance abuse restoration in a county that has been ravaged by overdoses.
“He’s uniquely certified attributable to his familiarity with the regulation and substance abuse disaster in West Virginia. He shall be sorely missed within the Senate attributable to his information of parliamentary process, advocacy for public training, his deep mind and his pastoral coronary heart. Our loss is the achieve of Berkeley County residents.”
Unger is the founder and previous director of West Virginia Campus Compact, founder and previous president of West Virginia Commerce Growth Council, former deputy director of catastrophe providers in Berkeley County and a former regional coordinator of EVAK Search and Rescue Crew. He labored as Non-Governmental Group-Nationwide Guard liaison coordinator in 2001-02. He has held a number of positions in Homeland Safety, humanitarian reduction and communications fields. From 1998 to 2008, he hosted a stay public affairs radio present within the Japanese Panhandle.
“John Unger is certainly one of a sort, and he shall be missed dearly,” mentioned Baldwin.
The emptiness for Berkeley County Justice of the Peace comes after Gov. Jim Justice not too long ago appointed former Justice of the Peace Richard D. Stephens, of Martinsburg, to the twenty fourth Household Court docket Circuit, which serves Berkeley and Jefferson counties. Stephens is about to fill the seat that was vacated by the retirement of Decide David P. Greenberg.
Stephens ran uncontested within the 2020 main, subsequently, Unger will end the remaining three years of the time period earlier than an election shall be held for this place.