This is one of a series of guest columns from candidates in contested races in the May 12 West Virginia Primary Election.
My name is Lora Dyer, circuit judge in the Fifth Judicial Circuit (Jackson, Mason, Roane and Calhoun Counties) and I am asking for your vote for the West Virginia Supreme Court, Division III. My main concern is the children in the state.
As a circuit judge, I see the horrors of the drug epidemic on our children every day. In Jackson County alone, there are 300 children in active abuse and neglect cases in my court. In the state, there are 7,000 in foster care, and West Virginia is currently second in the nation for grandparent adoptions of their own grandchildren. This is a nonpartisan election. I’ve yet to see a child sit in a chair and spout their politics; what they’re concerned about is issues we should all be concerned about, and they expect us to be the adults in the room.
As a mother, I know childhood is fleeting. If government is moving slowly, as government tends to do, childhood is being lost. Children love their parents, and I want to keep families together, but it’s not something the judiciary can do alone. People often talk about experience. I have the experience, but being a justice, you are the leader of the judiciary. Communication skills, where I excel, with the other branches and communicating with people — churches, businesses, are as important as writing opinions.
I grew up the daughter of a coal miner in the Southern West Virginia coalfields with modest means. I learned from my parents the value of hard work. I am especially proud that I learned the “can do” attitude from my Navy Seabee Vietnam Veteran dad. My parents loved me and worked very hard so I could go to college. I was the first member of my family to attend college. I graduated from Marshall University. I then studied environmental engineering in England, and ultimately earned my law degree at West Virginia University.
My first legal job was with the West Virginia Supreme Court, where I worked for Justice Albright. No one in my family had gone to college, so professionally, he was a dad figure and very inspirational to me. I also worked as a law clerk for Judge Stucky, and then as an assistant prosecutor before leaving for private practice, where I represented a diverse group of clients, from large companies to police officers. I also worked as general counsel for the West Virginia State Auditor’s Office before being elected circuit judge.
In my role as circuit judge, I never forget my solemn oath to uphold the Constitution. As part of that oath, I strive to treat every single case as the most important one I will hear. I also am mindful that a judge’s role in our constitutional system is to follow the law, not create the law, and to rule promptly, fairly and impartially. I have worked very hard to be a good and faithful public servant.
As a public servant, I created the Jackson County Drug Court; initiated programs to tackle truancy; and worked with local churches and organizations to find solutions to the drug crisis. One of my greatest joys in service is speaking to our children at schools and other events about their dreams and goals for a bright future.
I am thankful for so many people who pray for me to have the wisdom and discernment to make fair and just decisions. I humbly ask for your vote on May 12, 2020. Please check out my facebook page at judge lora dyer for supreme court and my web site at email@example.com.