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John Unger

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John Unger
Unger john.jpg
West Virginia State Senate District 16
In office
Term ends
January 14, 2015
Years in position 17
Minority Whip, West Virginia State Senate
Majority Leader, West Virginia State Senate
Base salary$20,000/year
Per diem$131/day during session
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2014
First elected1998
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sWest Virginia University, 1993
Master'sUniversity of Oxford, 2004
Date of birthJanuary 24, 1969
Place of birthMartinsburg, WV
Office website
John R. Unger II (b. January 24, 1969) is a Democratic member of the West Virginia State Senate, representing District 16. He was first elected to the chamber in 1998. Unger served as Majority Leader from 2011 to 2014. He currently serves as Minority Whip, beginning in 2015.[1]


Unger attended both the University of Hong Kong and Georgetown University School of Law. He then earned his B.A. from West Virginia University in 1993. He went on to receive his BA/MA from the University of Oxford in 2004.

Unger was a Missionary for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hong Kong in 1988, and again from 1990 to 1991. He also worked as Special Assistant to the Director for the United States Refugee Program in Hong Kong from 1989 to 1991. In 1991 he was a member of United Nations Operation Provide Comfort. He was also Liaison Coordinator for the Non-Governmental Organization/Private Voluntary Organization in the United States Agency for International Development Disaster Assistance Response Team in 1991. From 1991 to 1993 he was coordinator and founder of the West Virginia University Office of Service Learning Programs. Unger was Chief of Staff in the Hong Kong Legislative Council for Councilor Simon Ip from 1994 to 1995. He then worked as vice president of Community and Economic Development for Van Wyk Enterprises from 1996 to 1998. In 2000 and 2001 he worked as Non-Governmental Organization/National Guard Liaison Coordinator. Unger became Director of Communications for Save the Children International, Iraq in 2003. Since 1998 he has worked as producer and host of WEPM Panhandle Live Talk Show. He became Senior Advisor of Homeland Security and Economic Development for Edgerton, Germeshausen and Grier, Incorporated/United Research Services, National Energy Technology Laboratory in 2003 and has worked there since.[2][3]

Committee assignments

2015 legislative session

At the beginning of the 2015 legislative session, Unger served on the following committees:

West Virginia Committee Assignments, 2015
Enrolled Bills
Health and Human Resources
Interstate Cooperation


At the beginning of the 2013 legislative session, Unger served on the following committees:


In the 2011-2012 legislative session, Unger served on these committees:


In the 2009-2010 legislative session, Unger served on these committees:


Free school lunches

Unger visited a school to talk to students about government processes when he heard one student say that having food at school would be preferable to a longer recess. Unger asked the students how many were in situations where their parents had trouble feeding them at home, and the vast majority raised their hands. Unger subsequently supported a program that would provide free lunches to all students in West Virginia public schools, which overwhelmingly passed both the Senate and the House.[4]



See also: West Virginia State Senate elections, 2014

Elections for the office of West Virginia State Senate took place in 2014. A primary election took place on May 13, 2014. The general election was held on November 4, 2014. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was January 25, 2014. Incumbent John Unger was unopposed in the Democratic primary, while Larry V. Faircloth was unopposed in the Republican primary. Unger defeated Faircloth in the general election.[5][6]

West Virginia State Senate District 16, General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJohn Unger Incumbent 52.5% 12,287
     Republican Larry V. Faircloth 47.5% 11,122
Total Votes 23,409


See also: West Virginia State Senate elections, 2010

John Unger was re-elected to the West Virginia State Senate, District 16. He defeated Democrat Patrick Murphy in the May 11 primary. Unger defeated Republican Craig Blair in the November 2, 2010, general election.[7][8][9]

West Virginia State Senate, District 16 (2010) General Election
Candidates Votes Percent
Green check mark transparent.png John Unger (D) 18,800 50.43%
Craig Blair (R) 18,482 49.57%
West Virginia State Senate, District 16 Democratic Primary (2010)
Candidates Votes Percent
Green check mark transparent.png John Ronald Unger II (D) 4,073 43.27%
Patrick Hale Murphy (D) 1,784 18.95%


On November 7, 2006, John Unger won re-election to the West Virginia State Senate, District 16.[10]

Unger raised $139,583 for his campaign, while Jerry Mays raised $40,631.[11]

West Virginia Senate, District 16 (2006)
Candidates Votes
Green check mark transparent.png John Unger(D) 19,640
Jerry Mays 10,729

Campaign donors


In 2010, Unger received $140,285 in campaign donations. The top contributors are listed below.[12]

West Virginia State Senate 2010 election - Campaign Contributions
Top contributors to John Unger's campaign in 2010
West Virginia Appalachian Laborers District Council$2,000
West Virginia Federation Of Teachers$2,000
West Virginia Education Association$2,000
West Virginia Regional Council Of Carpenters$2,000
West Virginia Building & Construction Trades Council$2,000
Total Raised in 2010 $140,285


Unger raised $139,583 for the 2006 election.

His major contributors are listed below.[13]

Donor Amount
Jefferson County Teachers $2,000
West Virginia Education Association $2,000
Contractors Association of West Virginia $2,000
West Virginia Bankers Association $2,000

Additional reading


See also: State legislative scorecards and State legislative scorecards in West Virginia

Legislative scorecards are used to evaluate elected public officials based on voting record. Some scorecards are created by political advocacy groups with a focus on specific issues, while others are developed by newspapers and are broad in scope. Scorecards are meant to be used as a tool for voters to have a quick picture of whether their views align with a particular legislator's record.

Because scorecards can be specific to particular issues or general to a state’s legislative term, for example, each report should be considered on its own merits. Each entity that publishes these reports uses different methodologies and definitions for the terms used.

An overview for scorecards in all 50 states can be found on this page. To contribute to the list of West Virginia scorecards, email suggestions to

Please see our writing guidelines if you would like to add results from an individual scorecard to this legislator's profile.


In 2014, the West Virginia State Legislature was in session from January 8 through March 10.

Legislators are scored on their votes for or against Regenerate WV's position.
Legislators are scored on their votes on lawsuit-related legislation.
Legislators are scored on their votes on the Water Resources Protection Act and its amendments.

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Political offices
Preceded by
West Virginia State Senate District 16
Succeeded by