CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice announced last week that he had signed into law a bill that will solidify continued efforts to promote West Virginia to the outside world by prioritizing economic development and tourism.
House Bill 2019 reorganizes and redesignates the Development Office as the West Virginia Department of Economic Development and the Tourism Office as the West Virginia Department of Tourism to reflect the importance of economic development and of tourism programs and initiatives to Gov. Justice.
“I am excited beyond belief to officially elevate our economic development and tourism offices to cabinet-level agencies because these are the areas that enable us to tell West Virginia’s story and market ourselves to the outside world,” Gov. Justice said. “This is going to bring so much goodness and opportunity to our state it’s unbelievable.’
The Governor also announced March 10 that he had appointed Mitch Carmichael as the first Cabinet Secretary of the new West Virginia Department of Economic Development and has appointed Chelsea Ruby as the first Cabinet Secretary of the new West Virginia Department of Tourism.
“I am incredibly appreciative and humbled to be selected by Governor Justice to lead the charge as we continue opening up the doors to more possibilities and opportunities in West Virginia through our economic development efforts. I also thank the Legislature for their support,” Carmichael said. “West Virginia is the kind of place people are proud to call home. We combine a business-friendly environment with access to unmatched resources – all in one of the most beautiful places in the world to live and raise a family. I’m excited to help more companies discover West Virginia as the perfect place to thrive. I’m excited to bring more growth, jobs, and opportunity into our great state.”
“It’s a tremendous honor to be able to work with Governor Justice to grow the state’s tourism industry,” Ruby said. “The creation of the Department of Tourism as a cabinet-level agency underscores the Governor’s commitment to the industry as a pillar of the state’s economy; now and in the decades to come. I’m proud to be part of that work. Many thanks to the Governor and the Legislature for prioritizing this growing industry, this focus is going to continue to pay off for our state.”
“Chelsea and Mitch are two people who are stuck on ‘on’ all the time, have incredible talent and a passion for what they do, and flat out love the state of West Virginia,” Gov. Justice said. “I have all the confidence in the world that Chelsea will continue her great work developing our tourism industry into one of the best in the country and that Mitch will enhance our efforts to attract and recruit new businesses to West Virginia. With their leadership and expertise in their fields, the momentum we’ve been building in our state is only going to continue to grow.”