The West Virginia Citizen Action Group honored Darrell McGraw and Jorea Marple at its annual banquet Friday night in Charleston for their outstanding community service.
Marple, former state superintendent of schools, was awarded the Don Marsh Public Award, named in honor of the late editor of the Charleston Gazette.
Marple said it was an honor to receive an award named after such a great guy.
“He was an intellectual, fearless warrior for the rights of the people and he understood very clearly the importance of education in terms of how everything turns out,” said Marple.
Marple’s husband, Darrell McGraw, longtime state attorney general and Supreme Court justice, was awarded the Si Galperin, in Defense of Democracy Award, a tribute to former legislator Galperin’s lifelong dedication to election reform and civil rights advocacy.
During the event, time was taken to highlight the accomplishments of both Marple and McGraw over their long careers both in politics and education. Marple said the night was ultimately about the kids.
“I think it’s a time for all of us to recommit to using our voice and our advocacy to put in place what our children need in this state,” said Marple.
Marple added that the event was a pleasant change for the two of them, who have had some obstacles to overcome since November. McGraw lost his bid for a sixth term as attorney general in November and Marple was fired abruptly by the state Board of Education from her state superintendent position in the same month.
Marple has since sued the board over the incident and that case is still pending in federal court.
“It is always a good thing to take the time to be with friends and to celebrate an honor like this,” said Marple.
The West Virginia Citizen Action Group is celebrating its 39th year as the oldest consumer advocacy organization in the state. The group was formed in 1974.