Long-time West Virginia democratic legislator Warren McGraw, who experienced Parkinson’s Infection, died Wednesday at 84 years old.
The brother of the former Attorney General Darrell McGraw, McGraw began his political career in 1968 when he was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates, where he remained until 1972. In May 2021, he resigned from his position as a Wyoming County Circuit Court Judge due to the onset of the disease.
After that, in 1972, he was elected to the Senate of West Virginia, where he served three consecutive terms. McGraw was then twice elected 44th Senate President during his third term.
After serving in the West Virginia Legislature, McGraw returned to Wyoming County to practice law. He was elected to the Board of Education in 1986 and became the prosecuting attorney in 1996. McGraw ran successfully for a six-year term on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals 1998. In 2001, he was appointed Chief Justice.
McGraw ran for Wyoming County Circuit Court Judge in 2008 and 2016, both of which he won with more than 80% of the vote.
On the passing of former Senate President and Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Warren McGraw, Senate President Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, issued the following statement:
“Though he may be most remembered for his public service as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals, Justice McGraw proudly served the people of Wyoming County as their Senator, and he never forgot his deep, proud southern West Virginia roots. On behalf of the entire West Virginia Senate, I pray to former Senate President Warren McGraw’s family and friends during their sorrow.”
According to Judge Mike Cochrane of the Wyoming County Circuit Court, McGraw was a small-town lawyer who went on to big things but never abandoned his principles.
Cochrane stated, “He cared about the underprivileged and wanted to ensure every citizen got an equal shot at life.” He was very generous with his time and cared about everybody. As a judge, he was very fair, and his decisions were always people generated and in the best interest of justice.”
Del. Mike Pushkin, D-Kanawha, Chair of the West Virginia Democratic Party, released this statement regarding McGraw’s legacy.
“Warren McGraw never forgot that a society is measured by how it treats its most vulnerable members. From the school board to the state legislature to his time on the Supreme Court, he fought with every ounce of his ability to improve the lives of the poor and those struggling to make a better life for themselves and their families. We extend our deepest condolences to his friends and family during this difficult time.”
According to Cochrane, McGraw was a staunch supporter of the West Virginia Democratic Party and an active U.S. Attorney during the civil rights movements of the 1960s.
Cochrane stated, “When I was prosecutor, his wall was decorated with pictures of famous people.” A month or so before his death, Robert Kennedy was in this area, and Judge McGraw took him around the county. Pictures of Jimmy Carter, Jesse Jackson, and Hubert Humphrey were in there. He was one of the last true Democrats of the Kennedy-Johnson era.