CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Gov. Joe Manchin today announced that he has named Joe Thornton as cabinet secretary of the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety (DMAPS). In December 2009, Thornton, who had served as deputy cabinet secretary of DMAPS, was chosen in an acting capacity to succeed Jim Spears, who was promoted to be Gov. Manchin’s chief of staff.
Manchin said that Thornton has worked diligently to keep DMAPS operating smoothly during that transitional period.
“For the past six months, Joe has taken on challenges and shown a great deal of leadership. I believe he has proven himself capable of leading this department.” Manchin said. “I am confident that Joe will continue to work hard and maintain a high level of commitment that is necessary for DMAPS to operate effectively.”
Prior to Thornton’s move to DMAPS in 2005, he worked for the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources as a public information specialist.
Thornton is a native of Athens, W.Va. He served 10 years in the U.S. Air Force, including posts in Texas, North Dakota and Turkey. After he was honorably discharged from the Air Force, he returned to West Virginia and earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communications at Marshall University.
Thornton is a current resident of Culloden, W.Va. He is married and has one daughter.