Senator Robert Karnes served in the WV State Senate from 2015 to 2019.
Part of the Republican Revolution in WV, Robert helped set the tone for a pro-business, pro-jobs and educational reform agenda. This was the beginning of West Virginia’s turn from 84 years of failed democrat party leadership, and the begining of building a firm foundation for West Virginia’s economy and offering hope for West Virginia’s children.
Robert was born in South Charleston, WV. He grew up in Nitro and graduated from Poca High School in 1987. His ancestors arrived in the central WV mountains in the 1830s, long before we became an independent state. His family has been involved in exploring, timber, mining, education, agriculture and business from the beginning.
Karnes has worked in the IT industry for over 30 years and has worked in all 50 US states. He has lived in Pennsylvania, Florida, Tennessee and Washington State, but has always considered WV home. Robert has owned and operated several businesses including IT Services, retail sales and self-storage.
Robert and his wife Amy recently celebrated 25 years of marriage. They have 8 children.
For Robert serving in the WV Senate was a chance to create hope for WV’s kids. Nobody wants to see our children forced to chase jobs in other states, Robert decided to seek political office to ensure they have jobs and opportunities here at home.
While in the WV Senate Robert chaired the Committees on Natural Resources, Agriculture & Rural Development and Pensions. He also chaired the Select Committee on Tax Reform and Vice Chaired the Education Committee. Robert also served on several other Committees including Judiciary, Health, Labor, and the Joint Committee on Government and Finance.
Successfully serving in these roles resulted in Robert being an integral part of the leadership team in the WV Senate. He used that leadership role to more effectively advocate for the 11th district. A few examples; when the governor wanted to log state parks to fill holes in the budget, Robert helped blunt that effort by insisting any proceeds from logging be used to pay for improvements to the park where the timber came from. Holly River in Webster and Watoga in Pocahontas stood to suffer or benefit the most. He helped municipalities in Upshur and Grant County negotiate the DEP regulatory minefield related to water and sewer treatment. He worked to keep coyote control funding flowing to help farmers in Pendleton. Karnes also helped prevent the loss of magistrates in Randolph and Nicholas counties where caseloads were too high to justify the reductions.
During his tenure in the WV Senate Robert:
Robert is ready to build on his strong, conservative, pro-Christian, pro-growth leadership in the West Virginia State Senate.