Agriculture chief leaves a great legacy

An editorial from the Parkersburg News and Sentinel

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — Across the Mountain State, praise is pouring in for the man who guided West Virginia’s agricultural efforts longer than any other state agricultural commissioner in the country. As friends and family mourn the loss of Gus Douglass, who died Thursday at age 88, the recurring theme is one of remembering a man who loved and served his home state with unmatched dedication.

Those who worked with Douglass in Charleston knew firsthand of his passion for this land. State Treasurer John Perdue, who first met Douglass as a member of Future Farmers of America during an event in Boone County when Douglass auctioned off strawberries he had grown, called him a mentor and friend.

“He was a strong advocate for our state and had great vision for West Virginia’s potential in agriculture. During his 11 terms as commissioner, he transformed the way we do business in the state and advocated for farming issues on the national level,” Perdue said.

U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., recalled Douglass as a “tireless advocate for West Virginia’s farmers, agriculture and rural communities.” In a state known to most of the outside world as a coal-mining and industrial economy, that mission was vital.

Condolences are extended to Douglass’s family, as they grieve the passing of a great man who gave so much of himself to the state he loved. In doing so he set an example many in Charleston would do well to remember. Capito summed it up when she said “He always put the values of West Virginians before politics and, as a result, was able to accomplish great things for the Mountain State.”

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