CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) – A new secretary of the West Virginia Department of Commerce has been appointed, effective immediately.

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

“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. I have all the confidence in the world that he will do a tremendous job as our new Secretary of Commerce.”

Governor Jim Justice, (R-WV)

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

Prior to that appointment, Bailey was the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Commerce since August 2021. He also concurrently served as the General Counsel for the Departments of Commerce, Tourism, and Economic Development from August 2021 until his appointment as Acting Secretary. 

Secretary of Commerce James Bailey

“I look forward to serving the governor and state in this new role. 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.”

Secretary of Commerce James Bailey

Bailey previously served as Senior Counsel for Policy and Legislation to Gov. Justice. He also served as Counsel to the President of the West Virginia Senate, Committee Counsel to the West Virginia Senate, and as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in Kanawha County.

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.