Goodwin Talent Will Be Missed

Since she was named West Virginia commissioner of tourism in 2014, Amy Shuler Goodwin has made a variety of improvements in how our state attracts visitors. If you want a look at the initiatives she has overseen, stop at the state Welcome Center on Interstate 70 westbound in Ohio County.

Or, do what many people from all over the world do: Visit the tourism division website, There, you can get a sampling of how well Goodwin has upgraded efforts to use social media to promote our state.

Her reward for doing a great job for Mountain State residents? She has been shown the door. Even before taking office, Gov. Jim Justice let it be known Goodwin would not be retained. She has been replaced as tourism commissioner, by Chelsea Ruby, who had been director of marketing and communications for the West Virginia Department of Commerce.

It is difficult to understand why Goodwin was replaced so early. Why she was replaced at all is puzzling, as a matter of fact.

Administration of many state divisions, departments, boards, etc., indeed does need to be improved. The tourism agency was not one of them.

Goodwin displayed enthusiasm, intelligence, energy and innovation — all the things the tourism division needs.

She had and has excellent ideas about promoting the state. Some of them, as we noted in an editorial earlier this week, may well have grated on others in the state bureaucracy. Goodwin told legislators, in effect, that communication and coordination of tourism programs is not handled well in West Virginia.

Precisely that type of shake-’em-up attitude is needed throughout state government. It is a shame Goodwin, who displayed it, is no longer at the helm of the Division of Tourism.