A Lifelong Resident of Southern West Virginia
Born in Mallory, Richard Browning is son of Oley and Kathleen. A Man High School graduate, he earned his undergraduate degree from Marshall University, where he met his wife, Delores. Richard then went on to earn two masters degrees, from West Virginia University and the University of West Virginia College of Graduate Studies. Before elected to public office, Richard spent twenty-three years as a teacher and administrator in Wyoming County Schools.
A Dedicated Father and Community Leader
Richard is the proud father of three children – sons Shea and Joseph, and daughter Maria. An active member of the community, he worked closely with the School Building Authority to provide new high schools for Wyoming and McDowell Counties. This former educator supported increased salary packages and benefits for educational personnel, full funding and maintenance for classroom computers, anti-bullying legislation, innovation zones for public education, and more.
Richard championed legislation to build Stevens Correctional Center in McDowell County that created more than 100 new jobs, and worked with local elected officials to create 400 new jobs at the McDowell Federal Correctional Institution. In addition, the new market for synthetic fuels allowed small businesses to create 115 new jobs at the John D. Rockefeller IV Industrial Park in Wyoming County.
Richard worked diligently to make sure Southern West Virginia counties received their fair share and control of severance tax dollars. He worked to establish the Hatfield-McCoy Trail system and to secure $8 million for needed renovations to Twin Falls State Park.
A Champion for Southern West Virginia
In 1988, Richard was elected to serve in the House of Delegates. He quickly earned a reputation at the Legislature as a hard-working, reliable leader, and was chosen to serve as Chairman and Vice Chairman of several important committees. Additionally, Richard was chosen to serve as Assistant Majority Whip.
In 2008, Richard was elected to the West Virginia State Senate. He currently serves in the Senate Leadership as Democratic Majority Whip and is also Chairman of the Committee of Economic Development.
Among the many awards and recognitions Richard has earned for his public service to the people of Southern West Virginia, he is the recipient of two State Use Mountaineer Awards from the state Association of Rehabilitation Facilities. He was also awarded both the West Virginia Education Association Legislative Service Award and the Vocational Education Legislative Service Award.