Senator John R. Unger was elected to the West Virginia State Senate in 1998, from Berkeley County, to represent the 16th Senatorial District and serve during the 75th Legislature. Since then, he has served as Chair of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, during the 78th and 79th Legislatures; as Vice Chair of the Committee on Economic Development during the 79th Legislature; ans as Vice Chair of the Commission on Interstate Cooperation, 78th Legislature. Senator Unger was re-elected in 2002, 2006, and 2010. During his tenure the Transportation Committee was expanded to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. While Chairman of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, he sponsored groundbreaking legislation including the Community Empowerment Transportation Act (CETA) enabling local communities to address transportation needs, the Electronic Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Act (ETOPIA) supporting the deployment of broadband, water protection legislation, and transportation legislation supporting Route 9. In addition to transportation and infrastructure legislation, Senator Unger sponsored the creation of the State Division of Energy, anti-animal cruelty, and numerous education bills.
Senator Unger was appointed Senate Majority Leader on January 12, 2011 by Acting Senate President Kessler. The role of the Senate Majority Leader is to be the Senate floor leader of the majority party, especially with respect to Senate procedure. The Majority Leader also aids any Senator of the majority party, participates in debate, suggests committee assignments, and provides input with respect to appointments and the passage of legislation important to the majority party. He also has been given the distinct honor of serving as Chairman of the West Virginia Redistricting Task Force.
Born in Martinsburg, West Virginia, in 1969, to John Unger and Starlette J. Laughlin, he also, along with his legislative duties, is pursuing a Masters of Divinity at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. and serves as Vicar/Pastor of St. John Lutheran Church in Harpers Ferry, WV. He resides in Martinsburg with his wife Cara, who is a teacher at Berkeley Heights Elementary School.