John Edwards

  • District: 21
  • Member since: 1996
  • Localities represented: Craig County, Giles County, Montgomery County, Pulaski County, Roanoke City, Roanoke County
  • Committees: Courts, Privileges & Election, Transportation
  • Website:

John S. Edwards, born October 6, 1943 in Roanoke, Virginia, attended the public schools in Roanoke graduating from Patrick Henry High School. He was the first president of the student government, state pole vault champion and voted "most likely to succeed." In 1966 he graduated from Princeton University with honors majoring in history. He attended Union Theological Seminary in New York on a Rockefeller Brothers Theological Fellowship. In 1970, he graduated from the University of Virginia Law School where he was a member of the Virginia Law Review.  

Edwards served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a Captain/JAG officer in the early 1970's. Before returning to Roanoke in 1976, he practiced law with Sidley and Austin in Washington, D.C., where he also worked as a volunteer attorney for the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights under Law.

 In 1980, President Carter appointed him United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia. During his term, Edwards' office achieved several milestones. The Roanoke Times & World News reported that he had one of the "perhaps most successful tenures of any federal prosecutor in recent years."

 Among other community and professional activities, Edwards has served as Chairman of the Virginia Bar Association's Criminal Law Committee and Chairman of Virginia Lutheran Homes, Inc., which operates the Brandon Oaks retirement community in Roanoke.

 In November 1993, Edwards was appointed to fill a vacancy on Roanoke City Council and was elected to a four year term and as Vice-Mayor in 1994.

 In 1995, Edwards unseated a Republican incumbent to win a seat in the Senate of Virginia, representing the 21st District. Edwards was re-elected in 1999 and 2003. He serves on the Commerce and Labor, Courts of Justice, Education and Health, Privileges and Elections and Rules Committees in the Senate. He also serves on the Virginia Board of Veterans Services, the Virginia War Memorial Foundation and the Code Commission.

 Legislation which Edwards has successfully sponsored include: establishing the Roanoke Higher Education Center (of which he is Chairman), requiring Character Education to be taught in the public schools, and establishing the Virginia Department of Veterans Services.

 Senator Edwards has been honored for his legislative leadership by, among others, the Virginia Association of Nonprofit Homes for the Aging, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, Coalition of Labor Union Women, Virginia PTA/PTSA, Virginia Association of Family and Consumer Services, Virginia League of Conservation Voters, Equality Virginia, and Child Health Investment Partnership.  

Edwards is married to Cathye Dabney Edwards and the couple has three children, Jack, Dabney and Catherine. They are members of Christ Lutheran Church in Roanoke.

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