CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The newly named chief of staff for Governor-elect Jim Justice says West Virginia is in for a new kind of leader in the New Year.
“He’s a business guy,” said Nick Casey, Justice’s chief of staff. “He is not a partisan politician. He is cut from a much, much different cloth and he looks at the opportunities and outcomes and how can things get better.”
On Monday, Justice announced the selection of Casey who is a former state Democratic Party chair and served as treasurer for Justice’s gubernatorial campaign.
“Nick Casey is as genuine as they come and will be a tremendous asset to my administration and the people of West Virginia,” Justice said in a statement. “He has the experience and the background to really help me transform our state.”
“I thought this was an opportunity where I could actually give back to West Virginia with somebody that’s very dynamic and has got big ideas and big successes on the way,” Casey said during an appearance on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
Among Casey’s first tasks is assembling Justice’s staff. The goal is to present the Justice Team in full before Inauguration Day, he said.
Applications, resumes and recommendations have already be coming to the transition office where Casey was on Tuesday.
“Just like business, we want everybody to have an opportunity to apply for these positions and we want to be sure and pick the best, brightest and the people that we think can do the best job.”
Casey said he would be part of interviews of prospective members of the Justice Administration beginning on Wednesday and continuing through the rest of the week.
The only pending departure he confirmed was the retirement of Kay Goodwin, secretary of the state Department of Education and the Arts.
The Justice Administration, Casey predicted, would be a mix of new hires and current executives within Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s administration.
Casey brings 39 years of experience practicing law to his new role as chief of staff.
In 2014, Casey ran unsuccessfully for Congress in West Virginia’s 2nd District. That was the year current 2nd District Congressman Alex Mooney (R-W.Va.) was initially elected.
Casey is also a certified public accountant who calls the current state budget “upside down” with revenues that are “stark.”
Justice, in Casey’s view, is a “doer” and a “builder” who can address those issues in any number of ways.
“The challenge, I think, on a policy side is how do we fund those building programs that will open up West Virginia and fix things that need to be fixed and open us up for some new tourism opportunities?”
“I think he is, I won’t say demanding, but I think he has a whole different concept on accountability,” Casey said of Justice who has never before worked in state government.
Inauguration Day is Monday, Jan. 16.