CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice said retiring Commerce Secretary Ed Gaunch has been an effective member of his administration.
“I could not have been more blessed, there’s no way, than having you in that job. You’ve done a great job and I’m so happy for you,” Justice said last Friday.
Gaunch is stepping down after three years as Commerce secretary. He was a state senator representing Kanawha County before that. Justice appointed Gaunch after he was defeated in the 2018 election.
Gaunch won a Senate seat after 34 years in the insurance business. He grew up in Boone County as is a graduate of West Virginia State University.
Woody Thrasher was Justice’s first secretary of commerce but Justice announced Thrasher’s resignation in June 2018 after complaints connected to recovery efforts from the 2016 flood.
Gaunch said he’s enjoyed the job.
“It has been my pleasure and privilege to serve the State of West Virginia,” Gaunch said concerning his retirement. “Over the past several years, we have been continuously striving to ensure West Virginia is an amazing place to live, play, and do business. I am proud of what the Justice Administration and the Department of Commerce have accomplished and look forward to the state’s continued successes.”
Justice said he still wants to hear from Gaunch.
“I don’t you to just go away. I want you to know that you’re welcome anytime to stroll in to give us great advice and great wisdom as you’ve done many times,” Justice said.
Gaunch’s retirement becomes effective July 15.
Justice will choose his replacement at a later date.