Gus Douglass

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Gus R. Douglass
Gus Douglass.jpg
Douglass in September 2008
West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture
In office
1965–1989
Governor Hulett C. Smith (1965–1969)
Arch A. Moore, Jr. (1969–1977, 1985–1989)
Jay Rockefeller (1977–1985)
Preceded by John T. Johnson
Succeeded by Cleve Benedict
In office
1993–2013
Governor Gaston Caperton (1993–1997)
Cecil H. Underwood (1997–2001)
Bob Wise (2001–2005)
Joe Manchin (2005–2010)
Earl Ray Tomblin (2010–2013)
Preceded by Cleve Benedict
Succeeded by Walt Helmick
Personal details
Born (1927-02-22) February 22, 1927 (age 87)
Mason County, West Virginia, U.S.
Political party Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Anna Lee Douglass
Alma mater West Virginia University

Gus R. Douglass (born February 22, 1927)[1] is an American politician who served for 44 years as Agriculture Commissioner of West Virginia,[2] having first been elected to that post in 1964.[3] He is a member of the Democratic Party, and the longest-serving Agriculture Commissioner in the history of the United States.[4][3]

Early life[edit]

Douglass was raised in Grimms Landing, West Virginia. He served as state and national president of the Future Farmers of America (FFA) as the first president of the FFA to hail from West Virginia, and later was the inaugural president of the National FFA Alumni Association. He is also a 4-H All-Star. Douglas holds a bachelor's degree and an honorary Doctor of Sciences from West Virginia University and an honorary Doctor of Laws from West Virginia State University. Prior to beginning work for the Department of Agriculture, Douglass operated a farm equipment and motor truck dealership.[5]

Career[edit]

Douglass, then a farmer in Mason County, was recruited to the position of Assistant Commissioner in the West Virginia Department of Agriculture by then-Commissioner John T. Johnson in 1957.[4] He was elected Commissioner in his own right in 1964, serving six terms between 1964 and 1988, when he unsuccessfully ran for Governor of West Virginia (losing the Democratic primary to Gaston Caperton),[3] and five more since 1992.[4] Douglass was re-elected in 2008 over Republican nominee J. Michael Teets, having campaigned on his record of having established programs for meat inspection, food safety and animal health, and calling for technology and security measures including a mobile laboratory able to identify viruses more quickly.[4][6] In his last term, he successfully acquired funding from the West Virginia Legislature for a cold storage facility near Ripley which is used to store food for the state's schools and its donated foods program, and could also be used for disaster preparation.[4]

During his tenure as Agriculture Commissioner, Douglass has served as president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, the Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture and the Southern United States Trade Association; and chair of the Southern Regional Committee for Food and Agriculture and the United States Secretary of Agriculture's Advisory Committee on Foreign Animal and Poultry Diseases.[4]

Douglass worked at the West Virginia Department of Agriculture for half its 100-year history.[3]

Retirement[edit]

Douglass announced on May 17, 2011 that he would not seek re-election in 2012, after colleagues in the Department of Agriculture expressed an interest in the position of Commissioner.[4] At the press conference at which he announced his retirement, he described his electoral history as "truly humbling."[7] In his retirement, he is considering writing a book about his experiences with the Governors of West Virginia under whom he has served.[4] Douglass was succeeded in 2013 by Walt Helmick.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Douglass runs a 540-acre farm which specialises in beef cattle and grain production with his son, Tom. He and his wife, Anna Lee, have four children, six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.[5]

Electoral history[edit]

West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture, Democratic primary, 1964[8]
Gus R. Douglass – 72,016 (27.90%)
Charles E. Jenkins – 46,486 (18.01%)
Roscoe Beall – 38,087 (14.76%)
Carroll R. Hawkins – 34,415 (13.33%)
O. Roy Parker – 27,244 (10.56%)
V. L. Martin – 27,127 (10.51%)
J. P. (Joe) Muck – 12,715 (4.93%)
West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture, general election, 1964[9]
Gus R. Douglass, Democratic Party – 451,850 (62.01%)
Nicholas M. Homes, Republican Party – 276,834 (37.99%)
West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture, Democratic primary, 1968[10]
Gus R. Douglass – 128,774 (52.70%)
Charles E. Jenkins – 115,562 (47.30%)
West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture, general election, 1968[11]
Gus R. Douglass, Democratic Party – 367,949 (53.89%)
Edward T. White, Republican Party – 314,882 (46.11%)
West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture, Democratic primary, 1972[12]
Gus R. Douglass – 179,130 (64.06%)
Charles Jenkins – 100,480 (35.94%)
West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture, general election, 1972[13]
Gus R. Douglass, Democratic Party – 452,829 (100.00%)
West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture, Democratic primary, 1976[14]
Gus R. Douglass – 198,803 (63.70%)
Charles E. Jenkins – 113,295 (36.30%)
West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture, general election, 1976[15]
Gus R. Douglass, Democratic Party – 508,998 (100.00%)
West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture, Democratic primary, 1980[16]
Gus R. Douglass – 183,711 (68.21%)
Charles E. Jenkins – 85,626 (31.79%)
West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture, general election, 1980[17]
Gus R. Douglass, Democratic Party – 442,215 (67.37%)
Lionel L. Smith, Republican Party – 214,228 (32.63%)
West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture, Democratic primary, 1984[18]
Gus R. Douglass – 227,715 (69.84%)
Charles E. Jenkins – 98,326 (30.16%)
West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture, general election, 1984[19]
Gus R. Douglass, Democratic Party – 447,947 (67.46%)
Glenn M. Smith, Jr., Republican Party – 216,100 (32.54%)
Governor of West Virginia, Democratic primary, 1988[20]
Gaston Caperton – 132,435 (37.96%)
Clyde See – 94,364 (27.05%)
Mario J. Palumbo – 51,722 (14.84%)
Gus R. Douglass – 48,748 (13.97%)
Dan Tonkovich – 14,916 (4.28%)
Larry Harless – 5,217 (1.50%)
Paul Nuchims – 1,484 (0.43%)
West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture, Democratic primary, 1992[21]
Gus R. Douglass – 195,494 (70.02%)
Frederick L. Parker – 50,443 (18.07%)
Jeffrey K. Silverman – 33,253 (11.91%)
West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture, general election, 1992[22]
Gus R. Douglass, Democratic Party – 413,869 (70.64%)
Steven C. Teufel, Republican Party – 172,060 (29.37%)
West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture, Democratic primary, 1996[23]
Gus R. Douglass – 252,246 (100.00%)
West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture, general election, 1996[24]
Gus R. Douglass, Democratic Party – 401,961 (72.08%)
Paul Nuchims, Republican Party – 155,673 (27.92%)
West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture, Democratic primary, 2000[25]
Gus R. Douglass – 224,800 (100.00%)
West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture, general election, 2000[26]
Gus R. Douglass, Democratic Party – 485,648 (100.00%)
West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture, Democratic primary, 2004[27]
Gus R. Douglass – 217,069 (100.00%)
West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture, general election, 2004[28]
Gus R. Douglass, Democratic Party – 437,881 (63.34%)
Andrew Yost, Republican Party – 253,402 (36.66%)
West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture, Democratic primary, 2008[29]
Gus R. Douglass – 193,766 (63.08%)
Oscar Wayne Casto – 113,400 (36.92%)
West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture, general election, 2008[30]
Gus R. Douglass, Democratic Party – 352,242 (53.07%)
James Michael Teets, Republican Party – 311,496 (46.93%)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "This week in West Virginia history". The Herald-Dispatch. February 21, 2011. Retrieved February 11, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Burdette, Matthew (January 15, 2013). "Tomblin takes oath of office again". The Journal. Retrieved February 1, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d Rivard, Ry (May 16, 2011). "CAMPAIGN NOTEBOOK: Douglass to announce, Ireland thanks supporters". Charleston Daily Mail. Retrieved May 22, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Smith, Vicki (May 17, 2011). "W.Va. ag commissioner won't seek re-election". Deseret News. Retrieved February 11, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "Biography of Commissioner Gus R. Douglass". West Virginia Department of Agriculture. November 10, 2008. Retrieved May 22, 2011. 
  6. ^ Farkas, Brian (October 8, 2008). "W.Va. ag chief running for 11th 4-year term". Fox News. Retrieved May 22, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Heading To The Farm". WCHS Radio 58. Retrieved May 22, 2011. 
  8. ^ "1964 Primary Election – Official Returns of the Democratic Party". West Virginia Secretary of State. pp. 7–9. Retrieved February 11, 2014. 
  9. ^ "1964 General Election – Official Election Returns". West Virginia Secretary of State. pp. 12–13. Retrieved February 11, 2014. 
  10. ^ "1968 Primary Election – Official Returns of the Democratic Party". West Virginia Secretary of State. pp. 6–7. Retrieved February 11, 2014. 
  11. ^ "1968 General Election – Official Election Returns". West Virginia Secretary of State. pp. 13–15. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 
  12. ^ "1972 Primary Election – Official Returns of the Democratic Party". West Virginia Secretary of State. pp. 15–16. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 
  13. ^ "1972 General Election – Official Returns". West Virginia Secretary of State. pp. 14–15. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 
  14. ^ "1976 Primary Election – Official Returns of the Democratic Party". West Virginia Secretary of State. pp. 14–15. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 
  15. ^ "1976 General Election – Official Election Returns". West Virginia Secretary of State. pp. 12–13. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 
  16. ^ "1980 Primary Election: Commissioner of Agriculture". West Virginia Secretary of State. pp. 1–2. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 
  17. ^ "1980 General Election: WV Commissioner of Agriculture". West Virginia Secretary of State. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 
  18. ^ "1984 Primary Election – Official Returns of the Democratic Party". West Virginia Secretary of State. pp. 13–15. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 
  19. ^ "1984 General Election – Official Election Returns". West Virginia Secretary of State. pp. 13–14. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 
  20. ^ "1988 Primary Election – Official Returns of the Democratic Party". West Virginia Secretary of State. pp. 8–10. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 
  21. ^ "1992 Primary Election – Official Returns of the Democratic Party". West Virginia Secretary of State. pp. 13–15. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 
  22. ^ "1992 General Election – Official Election Returns". West Virginia Secretary of State. pp. 10–11. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 
  23. ^ "1996 Primary Election – Official Returns of the Democratic Party". West Virginia Secretary of State. pp. 14–15. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 
  24. ^ "1996 General Election – Official Election Returns". West Virginia Secretary of State. pp. 11–12. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 
  25. ^ "2000 Primary Election: Commissioner of Agriculture". West Virginia Secretary of State. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 
  26. ^ "2000 General Election: Commissioner of Agriculture". West Virginia Secretary of State. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 
  27. ^ "2004 Primary Election: Commissioner of Agriculture". West Virginia Secretary of State. pp. 1–3. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 
  28. ^ "2004 General Election: Commissioner of Agriculture". West Virginia Secretary of State. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 
  29. ^ "Statewide Results: Primary Election – May 13, 2008". West Virginia Secretary of State. Retrieved February 13, 2014. 
  30. ^ "Statewide Results: General Election - November 4, 2008". West Virginia Secretary of State. Retrieved February 13, 2014.