CHARLESTON – State Treasurer John D. Perdue released the following statement regarding the passing of his long-time friend and mentor, former Agriculture Commissioner Gus Douglass:
“Commissioner Gus Douglass was an influential state leader and a prominent role model for so many people during his decades of service. It is difficult for me to express the impact he had on my life.
“During my youth, as a member of the Future Farmers of America in Boone County, Commissioner Douglass auctioned off my strawberries after I won a contest. That day, I remember making a vow to one day work for the Commissioner. Not long after I graduated college I showed up at his office, reminded him of my determination to work for him and he hired me. I spent 16 years under his direction. During my time in his office, Gus taught me about government, agriculture, business and life. He nurtured me like his own son.
“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.
“While my sadness is great, I am proud to have known Commissioner Douglass as a mentor and friend. Today Robin and I extend our love and prayers to his family.”