WELCH, W.Va. (WVVA) Gov. Jim Justice has named a replacement for McDowell County’s retiring Circuit Judge Booker T. Stephens.
The governor has tapped the county’s prosecuting attorney, Ed Kornish, to the bench.
Growing up in Bluefield, Kornish never thought he would grow up to be a judge. At age 3, he said he would routinely witness his drunk father beating his mom. He would end up one of very few children in his neighborhood with a single mom.
“My mom taught me early on, in the second grade, that you’ve got to fight your own battles. I’m a single mom raising three kids and God didn’t give you much of a body…but he gave you a brain,” recalls Kornish.
His mother taught him lessons that he would later take into the courtroom. In Bluefield, and later when he moved to Welch, other adults would come into his life and help steer the angry young child in the right direction.
“I was bullied. Not a lot of people grew up with single parents back then. But because of my mom and some other important people who took an interest in my life, I survived that.”
Kornish later joined the military and served several tours overseas, including in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I learned we’re all dealt a certain life, some better than others. But no matter how bad your life is, there’s always someone whose life is better and someone whose life is worse. But you can’t be angry about the situation you’re given.”
Now, he hopes to be that guiding voice to others — the same voice that helped a troubled little boy from Bluefield become judge.
“If you’re an addict, if you don’t have a job…if people say you’re too little, too big, too white, too black….none of that should stand in your way. You can’t let that anger define you.”
Kornish will be officially sworn-in on June 24.
The seat will be up for election in 2020.