John (John) S. Edwards (D-SS21)
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Capitol: 804.698.7521
FAX: 804.698.7651
District: 540.985.8690
Room 508 General Assembly Building 201 North Ninth Street
Richmond, VA 23219

District Office:
PO Box 1179
Roanoke, VA 24006-1179
Elected: 1995    Next Election: 2023
Spouse: Catherine (Cathye) Dabney   DOB: 10/6/1943
Committee Assignments
ChairmanSubcommittee on Claims
ChairmanJoint Commission on Code
ChairmanJoint Commission on Crime
ChairmanJoint Commission on Criminal Sentencing
Co-ChairSenate Committee on Judiciary
MemberJoint Appalachian Region Interstate Compact Commission
MemberJoint Commission on Health Care
MemberSubcommittee on Public Safety
MemberSubcommittee on Health Professions
MemberExecutive Subcommittee
MemberSubcommittee on Higher Education
MemberSenate Committee on Commerce and Labor
MemberSenate Committee on Finance and Appropriations
MemberSenate Committee on Rules
MemberJoint Commission on Administrative Rules
MemberJoint Commission on Interstate 81
MemberJoint Committee on District Courts
MemberJoint Commission on Tobacco Region Revitalization
MemberSenate Committee on Education and Health
Counties Representing
Giles / Montgomery / Roanoke City / Roanoke / Salem City


John S. Edwards, born October 6, 1943, in Roanoke, Virginia, is the son of the late Judge Richard T. Edwards and Augusta Saul Edwards Farrier. He is married to Cathye Dabney Edwards and they have three children, Jack, Dabney and Catherine, and seven grandchildren. They are members of Christ Lutheran Church in Roanoke.

Edwards attended Roanoke City public schools graduating in 1962 from Patrick Henry High School, where he was the first president of the student government. He was a record setting pole vaulter and state high-school champion and voted by his classmates as "most likely to succeed". In 1992 he was inducted in the high school's Sports Hall of Fame.

Edwards graduated from Princeton University in 1966 cum laude. He majored in history doing independent work on Woodrow Wilson, the Cold War, and Soviet-American relations. He wrote his Senior Thesis on "The Making of the Marshall Plan".

Edwards lettered on the varsity track team as a pole vaulter. He was class representative to the Faculty-Student Committee on Student Life his sophomore and junior years and chaired his senior Class Memorial Fund committee. He was a member of the Chapel Deacons, Orange Key Society, Student Christian Association and the Tiger Inn club.

Upon graduation, he attended Union Theological Seminary in New York City for a year a Rockefeller Brothers Theological Fellowship.

He graduated in 1970 from the University of Virginia Law School where he was a member of the Virginia Law Review. He was elected to the University Judiciary Committee and inducted into The Raven Society and Omicron Delta Kappa honor societies. He was a summer associate for White & Case in New York. He was writing instructor assistant to Professor Antonin Scalia, later Supreme Court Justice. Edwards has also been an adjunct professor in trial advocacy at UVA Law School.

Edwards served on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps as a Captain from 1971 through 1973. He served as a JAG Officer with the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing in Iwakuni, Japan, and Futema, Okinawa, and with the 2d Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

LEGAL CAREER Edwards practiced law with Sidley & Austin in Washington, D.C., in 1970 and 1974-76. He also did volunteer work for the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. He was chief trial attorney in the first successful Civil Rights class action law suit for federal employees, representing several thousand minority employees at NASA.

Edwards returned to Roanoke in 1976, practicing law with Gentry, Locke, Rakes & Moore until appointed United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia in 1980 by President Carter. Afterwards, he joined the law firm of Martin, Hopkins, Lemon & Carter, later Martin, Hopkins, Lemon & Edwards. He is currently practicing in the Edwards Law Firm.

He has been active in bar related activities, including serving on the Board of the Roanoke Bar Association, Chair of the Virginia Bar Association's Criminal Law Committee/Section, and on the Board of Governors of the Virginia Bar Association.

In 1980 President Jimmy Carter appointed him United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia. During his term, his office achieved several milestones. Among other things, he prosecuted the largest bank robbery in Virginia history, had the best record in the country at the time in enforcing criminal provisions of the Mine Safety and Health Act, prosecuted public corruption in the Mine Safety and Health Administration, prosecuted the first Criminal Civil Rights case in Virginia, prosecuted organized crime, and increased debt collections substantially from prior years. The Roanoke Times & World News> reported that he had one of the "perhaps most successful tenures of any federal prosecutor in recent years".

Edwards has long been active in community, professional and political affairs. He chaired the Roanoke Valley Young Democrats, the Roanoke City Democratic Committee, and the Sixth Congressional District Democratic Committee. He was a delegate at National Democratic Conventions in 1978 and 1984. He also chaired the board of Virginia Lutheran Homes, Inc., which built and operates Brandon Oaks life care retirement community in Roanoke and other retirement facilities in Virginia. Among other community activities, he served on the board of United Way and chaired the Roanoke Civic Center Commission. For many years, he regularly taught adult education classes at his church.

ELECTED GOVERNMENT SERVICE 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 May 1994.

In November of 1995, Edwards unseated a Republican incumbent to win a seat in the Senate of Virginia, representing the 21st District. He was re-elected in 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019.

In the Senate, he has served as Chair of the Rules Committee, Chair of the Civil Law Subcommittee, and Chair of the Higher Education Subcommittee. He has served on the Commerce and Labor, Education and Health, and Finance Committees, and currently serves on Courts of Justice, Transportation, and Privileges and Elections Committees.

Edwards currently is Chair of the Virginia Code Commission, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Roanoke Higher Education Authority, and Chair of the Virginia War Memorial Board. He is also a member of Joint Commission on Administrative Rules, Joint Commission on Health Care, Virginia Recreation Authority Board, Southern States Energy Board, Western Virginia Education Consortium, and Virginia Capital Representation Resource Center Board. He is a former member of Virginia Veterans Care Center Board, Virginia Veterans Services Board, Virginia Commission for At-Risk Youth & Children, and Virginia Birth-Related Neurologically Injured Compensation Board.