WVPB Staff Published

Justice Appoints New Commerce Secretary


Gov. Jim Justice has appointed James Bailey as the new Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Commerce.

Bailey has served as Acting Secretary of the Department of Commerce since July 2022, following the retirement of Ed Gaunch.

“James Bailey has spent his career in public service, and his passion for serving West Virginians is exactly the trait I look for in my Cabinet members,” Justice said. “I have all the confidence in the world that he will do a tremendous job as our new Secretary of Commerce.”

Previously, Bailey was the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Commerce and served as the General Counsel for the Departments of Commerce, Tourism, and Economic Development from August 2021 until his appointment as Acting Secretary.

“I look forward to serving the governor and state in this new role,” Bailey said. “We will continue the wonderful momentum we have generated under the leadership of Gov. Justice. It is an honor to be chosen to continue the outstanding work of Secretary Ed Gaunch and the team here at the Department of Commerce.”

Bailey holds two degrees from West Virginia University, a B.S. in Journalism from the Reed School of Media and a J.D. from the College of Law. He resides in Charleston, West Virginia with his wife Megan and their two sons, Jack and Henry.

His appointment is effective Wednesday.

The West Virginia Department of Commerce’s mission is to promote and preserve the well-being of the citizens of West Virginia by providing a cooperative, interagency system that stimulates diverse economic growth, encourages the appropriate use of our state’s abundant natural resources, improves the safety and productivity of our workforce and promotes the beauty and desirability of our state as a world-class tourism destination.

The Department of Commerce includes the following agencies: Division of Forestry, Division of Labor, Division of Natural Resources, Geological & Economic Survey, Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training, WorkForce WV, and The Division of Rehabilitation Services.