PARKERSBURG -- A Wood County circuit judge is joining the race for the state Supreme Court.
Circuit Judge J.D. Beane announced his candidacy Thursday afternoon at the Joseph P. Albright Justice Center in Parkersburg.
Beane, currently a judge for Wood and Wirt counties, said he wants the chance to represent the people of the Ohio Valley on the Court like Albright did before his death in 2009.
"This is a seat that I would be running for that was filled by Justice Albright from here in Wood County," Beane, 48, said. "When he passed, the unexpired term was appointed to Justice (Tom) McHugh, who then ran for the two-year unexpired term. And, of course, he's not running for the full 12-year term.
"Had Joe still been living and healthy, I'm sure he would've sought this seat again. But given the circumstances, I have an interest in running for his seat now.
"I've talked with his wife, and she is wholeheartedly in support of me running. I've been approached by others to seek the seat. I've enjoyed my time as a circuit court judge, but I guess the limitation of what I do is confined to Wood and Wirt counties. My interests would be helping West Virginia with the issues that we're facing."
Beane was appointed circuit judge by Gov. Joe Manchin on Dec. 15, 2006. Before becoming a circuit judge, he was in private practice from 1990 to 2006.
He also served in the West Virginia House of Delegates from 1990 to 2006. There, he served on several committees, Government Organization, Insurance, Banking, Judiciary Finance, Constitutional Revisions, Industry and Labor and Rules.
Beane said his experience as a legislator and a circuit judge would benefit the Supreme Court.
"My experience in those different aspects would help," he said. "I've been there making laws. As a circuit judge, I make sure the laws are followed. And as a Supreme Court Justice, I would be have the chance to interpret the law."
Beane joins current Justice Robin Jean Davis, fellow Circuit Judge Jim Rowe and attorney Tish Chafin in the Democratic primary for two open seats. Circuit Judge John Yoder and Supreme Court law clerk Allen Loughry are running on the Republican ticket.
"This seat won't be considered again for 12 years," Beane said. "However this election shakes out, that has to be considered. But without speaking about the other candidates' qualifications, I have experience serving in Legislature for 16 years.
"It has certainly helped having an understanding of the law and that experience helps me with the Supreme Court. I certainly think that it enables me to better serve as a justice."
Beane, who said he plans to file his pre-candidacy papers soon, is a native of Gassaway in Braxton County. He grew up in Parkersburg. He holds a law degree from Capital University Law School, attended summer school at Ohio State University College of Law and Oxford University and received a bachelor of arts degree from West Virginia University.