Gov.-elect Jim Justice announced Thursday that he has filled the third of eight department secretary positions in his new administration, appointing retired Kanawha County Schools assistant superintendent Dennis Davis as secretary of the Department of Veterans Assistance.
“Dennis Davis served our country and comes from a family of veterans, and understands what our state can do to better serve West Virginia’s veterans,” Justice said in a statement.
Davis, a lifelong resident of Institute, spent his career in the Kanawha County schools system, advancing from teacher to job placement specialist, to adult education coordinator, and ultimately to assistant superintendent. After retirement, he served briefly on the county Board of Education.
An Army veteran, Davis said he looks forward to working with department staffers, saying, “We have a tremendous network of programs, facilities, and benefits to assist veterans as they re-enter and establish themselves in our communities. We must seek ways to expand the program, improve access, and increase veteran awareness and participation. Veteran success means West Virginia success.”
The office has been vacant since January 2016, when Rick Thompson stepped down to run for Wayne County sheriff. Deputy Secretary Billy Wayne Bailey has been the top-ranking official in the department since.