CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Chelsea Ruby, currently the spokeswoman for the state Department of Commerce, has been named to serve as the commissioner of the West Virginia Division of Tourism in Jim Justice’s administration.
She will replace the current Tourism commissioner, Amy Shuler Goodwin, whose husband Booth ran against Justice in the Democratic primary for governor. Shuler Goodwin has served as chief spokeswoman for two West Virginia governors, Bob Wise and Earl Ray Tomblin.
In the Commerce Department, Ruby serves as the chief spokeswoman and manages its full-service advertising agency. Prior to joining the Department of Commerce, Ruby worked in Governor Tomblin’s communications office and served as the executive director of West Virginia’s 150th birthday celebration.
The incoming Justice administration says Ruby will spearhead its effort to grow tourism in West Virginia— one of Justice’s top priorities. She will help Justice promote West Virginia to a broader audience, and market the state’s four beautiful seasons and prime location, according to a news release from Justice’s transition team.
“Chelsea Ruby knows how to market and I know she will really help me aggressively market our state to get tourists from all over the world to visit West Virginia,” Justice stated in the announcement. “Chelsea has the skills and the energy to help West Virginia reach its full potential in the tourism industry. She knows how to think big, and I look forward to working with her to increase tourism in our state. My goal is to make tourism an economic driver and bring jobs to West Virginia.”
Ruby stated, “Governor-elect Justice is a genuine visionary when it comes to West Virginia tourism, and I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve as his Tourism Commissioner. He has proven his ability to unlock our potential as a vacation destination, and with him shaping our tourism strategy, the rest of the country–and the world — will recognize just how remarkable our state is.”
Ruby continued, “West Virginia has received a double blessing when it comes to tourism: We are both America’s most beautiful state and its friendliest. Governor-elect Jim Justice knows that if you’ve ever ridden a West Virginia ridge line at sunset, or golfed our championship mountain courses, or rafted our rivers, or hunted our hills, or fished our streams, or skied our slopes in winter — that if you’ve ever spent a minute in West Virginia, you understand the magnificent corner of the world with which we’ve been entrusted. He knows better than anyone the limitless tourism potential we have here, and I’m excited to be a part of what he’s about to accomplish.”
Ruby lives in Charleston with her husband Steve and their son Robert. In 2014, Chelsea Ruby was named West Virginia Public Relations Society of America’s Young Practitioner of the Year, and was also in the Generation Next 2015 40 Under 40 Class.
Steve Ruby is an assistant U.S. Attorney who helped lead the federal prosecution against Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship. In that office, Steve Ruby worked under Booth Goodwin when he was the chief federal prosecutor for southern West Virginia.
When Booth Goodwin resigned from the office to run for governor, Senator Joe Manchin nominated Steve Ruby to be the next U.S. Attorney for southern West Virginia.
When Jim Justice won the Democratic nomination for governor, Booth Goodwin did not endorse him. In a Gazette-Mail story about the general election for governor, indicated there weren’t many policy differences between Justice and his Republican opponent, Bill Cole.
“One’s registered as a Democrat and one’s registered as a Republican,” Booth Goodwin said in that story. “It’s a difference in registration.”
Amy Shuler Goodwin, who was named Deputy Secretary of Commerce and the Commissioner of Tourism in May 2014, declined comment earlier this week when asked about her employment status with the Justice administration.
Shuler Goodwin has been managing member of a public relations firm where she worked on behalf of health care organizations, major trade and issue associations, not for profit organizations, universities, Fortune 500 companies, labor unions and small businesses.
She also led communications for the City of Charleston and is a former anchor and reporter for WTRF-TV in Wheeling and WCHS-TV in Charleston.