Charles Slemp to run for Wise commonwealth’s attorney

Chuck SlempBy Lynn R. Mitchell

I received an email from Chuck Slemp with the newspaper attachment announcing his run for Wise County commonwealth’s attorney. I smiled because it was not unexpected. I didn’t know what he would run for but knew he would probably be a candidate for public office (see Slemp announces bid for commonwealth’s attorney). The article noted the reason the position has recently become available:

Wise County’s current commonwealth’s attorney, Ron Elkins, will vacate the county post on Nov. 30 as a result of his election late last week by the Virginia General Assembly to a judgeship on the 30th Circuit Juvenile & Domestic Court.


During the summer of 2005, Republicans in the SWAC area — Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County — gathered for lunch with their nominee for Governor, Jerry Kilgore, who had won as Attorney General in 2001. His driver that day was a young man with a friendly smile and engaging personality and for some reason he stood out to me. It was Chuck Slemp and, though I have encountered many campaign staffers throughout the year, he still has that memorable friendliness, instant smile, and a desire to serve the citizens of Wise County.

When I met him, he was planning to attend law school … and he did, now practicing from his Slemp Law Office with a location in Wise and another in Pennington Gap. A look at his bio reveals many achievements:

He is a graduate of the University of Virginia’s College at Wise with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. He holds a Master’s Degree from Regent University School of Government in Law & Public Policy and a Juris Doctor from Regent University School of Law. He completed post graduate study of Anglo-American Constitutionalism at Oxford University Hertford College.

Slemp is a native of Southwestern Virginia. Born in Wise County, Virginia, he grew up on a tobacco farm near Big Stone Gap where his father owned a small business and his mother taught special education courses at the public high school. Upon graduating from UVa-Wise, Slemp moved to Richmond, Virginia and served as a Special Assistant and advisor to three Attorneys General of Virginia: Jerry W. Kilgore, Judith Williams Jagdmann, and Robert F. McDonnell. He returned to Southwest Virginia in 2010 to raise a family, open a small business, and focus on private law practice.

He has authored and published scholarly articles on the subject of Law and Public Policy including a study of the Tobacco Buyout and American Jobs Creation Act of 2004, a historical examination of the Establishment Clause in American Jurisprudence, a commentary on good public policy in the modern political environment, and an guide to best practices for the office of General Receiver in Virginia.Slemp was appointed by the Governor of Virginia to the Virginia Commission on Youth, a standing bi-partisan legislative commission of the General Assembly which, by mandate, provides a legislative forum in which complex issues related to youth and their families may be explored and resolved. He served on the statewide steering committee for the “Virginia Adopts: Campaign for 1,000,” an effort to promote foster care adoption in Virginia. He serves on the Virginia Special Advisory Commission on Mandated Health Insurance Benefits. He also is a member of the board of directors for Norton Community Hospital.

Chuck’s father, Charles H. “Charlie” Slemp Jr., is chairman of the Lee County Board of Supervisors.

Chuck told the Times News he wanted to return home to where he grew up (see Slemp announces bid for commonwealth’s attorney):

… Slemp said he and his wife “wanted to come home and raise our kids here,” and upon hearing news of a pending vacancy for county commonwealth’s attorney, believes it is a professional and personal calling to serve his community and the people.

“I have a record of public service. I have been in private practice but I feel I serve others all the time I’ve worked,” he said of his professional and personal philosophy toward work and life.

Slemp said he will bring “youth and vigor to the office, also some hard work and dedication. I want to continue the good work Ron has done and his other predecessors to the office before him. I will work vigorously to protect our community. The way I have always felt about it, as a lawyer I have been blessed by the opportunity to serve others. It’s not about a big job with a big salary. It’s to serve others. In a lot of what I do, whether it’s about Juvenile & Domestic Relations or criminal cases, the folks you are serving are, in most cases, underprivileged and need an extra hand.”

The date for a special election has not been determined.

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