Justice appoints former magistrate to Kanawha County House seat

By: - September 19, 2023 4:03 pm

Gov. Jim Justice appointed former Kanawha County Magistrate Hollis Lewis II to the state House of Delegates on Tuesday to fill the seat left vacant earlier this month by Doug Skaff.

Skaff, a democrat who served as House minority leader until stepping down from that position in August, resigned from the House on Sept. 8. He said in an interview with West Virginia Watch that day that he is considering switching parties and running for statewide office.

“Hollis, I’ve known of you — in many ways, I feel like I’ve known you and know you as a friend — but I know you’ll do a great job,” Justice said of Lewis during his Tuesday news briefing. “I am really proud to be able to appoint you …”

Lewis was appointed to serve as a Kanawha County magistrate court judge in March 2019, taking the position left open by former magistrate Kim Aaron, who transitioned to a senior status magistrate earlier that year.

In 2020, Lewis lost his bid for election to a full term on the court, falling to longtime magistrate Ward Harshbarger, who resigned in 2022 after facing a string of disciplinary actions. In December 2020, Justice appointed Lewis to the state’s Parole Board, where he is still listed as an active member.

Lewis is an graduate of George Washington High School and has held several football coaching positions throughout Kanawha County. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from West Virginia State University and earned his law degree at the Southern University Law Center in Louisiana.

He has served as a legal clerk for U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin and as a program coordinator for the City of Charleston’s Parks and Recreation Department. From 2011 to 2013, he worked in the Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney’s office as a student attorney and assistant prosecutor. Lewis is not a licensed member of the West Virginia State Bar, according to the agency’s membership directory.


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Caity Coyne
Caity Coyne

Caity Coyne covers state policy and how it intersects with individuals and communities for West Virginia Watch. She's been reporting in West Virginia for 10 years, most recently covering public health and the Southern Coalfields for the Charleston Gazette-Mail.