CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Longtime revenue secretary under Governor Jim Justice, Dave Hardy is officially taking up his role behind the bench as Kanawha County’s newest Judicial Circuit Court judge.

After being appointed by Justice to the position on Dec. 13, 2023, Hardy was officially sworn in during an investiture ceremony in the historic Kanawha County courthouse Friday.

He now fills the vacated seat in the circuit court left behind by the late Judge Joanna Tabit who passed away in September 2023.

Hardy said the main emotion he was feeling during Friday’s ceremony was gratitude.

“I’m very grateful for the life that I’ve had, I’m very grateful to be a member of this community and have the opportunity to be a member of the judicial branch, and I’m very thankful for the governor for appointing me,” Hardy said following Friday’s investiture ceremony.

Hardy said he’s now ready to get to work handling cases in his new judicial role, particularly those involving the well-being of children, of which he said make-up about three quarters of his docket.

Many of those cases relating to child abuse and neglect, Hardy said he feels adamant about standing up for them and being their voice.

“There are some children at high-risk in our county, and I want very much want to be sure that we do everything with in our power, that I do everything within my power, to protect those children,” he said.

Justice appointed Hardy as cabinet secretary of the West Virginia Department of Revenue in Jan. 2017.

Hardy has served alongside Justice throughout his seven-year term as governor, working together through a financial downturn in the form of a $500 million dollar deficit and the many challenges faced by the Covid-19 Pandemic; to also making history with the passage of the largest tax cut the state has ever seen, as well as bringing the budget up to a $1.1 billion dollar surplus in 2023.

“We started out with a deficit and as soon as we got the deficit resolved the pandemic hit, and then we had to navigate under his leadership through the pandemic,” Hardy recalled. “We’ve come out on the back end and West Virginia is setting record after record financially.”

While cabinet secretary, Hardy was also the governor’s designee on the Municipal Home Rule Board, Investment Management Board, and the Board of Treasury Investments.

Hardy added that despite the challenges, it was an overall good run serving under the governor’s administration.

“It has been a long, production run and I have much enjoyed serving the governor and the people of West Virginia,” said Hardy.

A Kanawha County native hailing from Pratt, WV, Hardy’s public service roots in the region extend far beyond the governor’s administration, however, as before he served as a member on Charleston City Council, a Kanawha County Commissioner, and has more than 33 years of experience in private law practice.

At the time of his appointment to the bench, Hardy taught graduate classes at West Virginia State University.