CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – Gov.-elect Jim Justice took office today with his Capitol inauguration, after which the 6-foot-7 coal magnate, an outgoing, nearly larger-than-life figure, stood in a reception line to greet the public.
Justice, elected as a Democrat in his first run for statewide office at age 65, defeated Republican Senate President Bill Cole.
He has emphasized helping the state’s economy add jobs, boosting tourism and protecting nature while encouraging industry in West Virginia.
Justice owns coal mines, farms and the Greenbrier Resort. He has said he’ll put the businesses now run by his children into a blind trust and focus on governing for the sake of the state’s 1.8 million people.
He follows Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, who followed Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin, now a U.S. senator.