Gov. Justice appoints James Bailey as Secretary of Commerce



CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice announced today 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,” Gov. Justice said. “I have all the confidence in the world that he will do a tremendous job as our new Secretary of Commerce.”

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. 

"I look forward to serving the governor and state in this new role,” Secretary 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 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. 

His appointment is effective today.
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.


Contact Information

Jordan Damron,; CJ Harvey,


Office of the Governor
State Capitol, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E
Charleston, WV 25305

Office Phone:
304.558.2000 or 1.888.438.2731

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