From a modest upbringing to a seat on the West Virginia Supreme Court, Tucker County native Allen Loughry II proves that sincerity and hard work can satisfy extraordinary dreams.
During his oath of office ceremony in Charleston Dec. 14, this radiating theme was conveyed to the standing-room-only crowd of convivial family, friends and dignitaries. The five current sitting justices welcomed Justice-elect Loughry with opening remarks, while Justice Margaret L. Workman delivered the oath of office.
Loughry, who has been an attorney at the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals for the last nine years, will join the Court Jan. 1. Working directly with Justice Workman since she rejoined the Supreme Court in 2009, Loughry listened intently as Workman praised his work ethic, intelligence, and commitment to both his profession and family.
Photo courtesy of Lisa Loughry
Supreme Court Justice Margaret Workman administers the oath with new Justice Allen Loughry, as his wife, Kelly, and 6-year-old son, Justus, look on.
During the 45-minute ceremony that some had to watch from television monitors from a room adjacent to the court chambers because of overcapacity, each justice shared positive comments about Loughry, with several stressing his diligence.
"He didn't miss a day of work during the campaign for Supreme Court," Workman said.
An almost constant banter among all the justices induced eruptive laughter from the audience.
"We never thought we would have someone here with more degrees than The Weather Channel," declared Justice Brent Benjamin, referencing Loughry's four law degrees.
Justice Menis Ketchum produced a miniature skeleton in reference to Loughry's campaign commercials where he proclaimed that he had "no skeletons" in his closet.
Responding to the remarks by thanking each justice independently, Loughry followed by acknowledging the many family members and friends who have influenced and supported him throughout his life and during his campaign, with special appreciation of his parents. Loughry extended a special tribute to his father, who was celebrating his 75th birthday.
Loughry asserted that he comes from "an average West Virginia family" and that his electoral victory proves that it is possible for any average West Virginian to participate in and to win a statewide election.
When Loughry shared a message he received from a young man that he met along the campaign trail, he affirmed that "the next generation of West Virginians needs to know that they count. They need to know that they matter. They need to know they can make positive changes in West Virginia.
Ending his remarks to a standing ovation, Loughry emphasized, "This is not my day, this is our day. Thank you for being here and sharing it with me."
Loughry, a 1988 graduate of Tucker County High School and 1992 graduate of West Virginia University, always had an interest in politics. During his senior year of high school, he was one of the two West Virginian students chosen to spend a week in Washington, D.C., for the prestigious Presidential Classroom program, joining students from each of the remaining states and an array of students from other countries. This was Loughry's first organized exploration of the political system and thus, he graduated from WVU with a bachelor's degree in journalism and minor in political science. He would later earn his first of four law degrees from Capital University School of Law.
During Loughry's stint at The American University, Washington College of Law in D.C., he would compose a thesis that would later become a central theme of his 2006 book "Don't Buy Another Vote, I Won't Pay for a Landslide," a retrospect of the continuing history of political corruption in West Virginia and what West Virginians can do to obstruct corruption in the political arena.
From the inception of his book to the present, Loughry has consistently said there is too much money involved in elections. He believes that people want to elect judges, not politicians, and this is what he set out to do during his campaign.
"The judiciary should be the non-political branch of government," Loughry reasoned. Throughout his campaign, Loughry told West Virginians that if they would honor him with their vote, he would "serve them with honor." During his swearing-in ceremony, he reminded the attentive and enthusiastic crowd that this is exactly what he plans to do during his 12 years in office.
In addition to his Master of Laws in law and government from the American University, Washington College of Law, Loughry earned two additional degrees, a Master of Laws in criminology and criminal justice from the University of London and a Doctor of Juridical Science from The American University, Washington College of Law.
Loughry's extensive resume highlights his service to West Virginia. He has served as a senior assistant attorney general, special prosecuting attorney, assistant to a county prosecutor, direct aide to former Gov. Gaston Caperton, special assistant to a U.S. congressman, and adjunct professor at the University of Charleston.
Loughry was born in Elkins in 1970 and raised in Tucker County. During the general election in November, he won overwhelmingly in his native Tucker County over his opponents.