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Howard Mason Gore

Compiled by the West Virginia State Archives

October 12, 1877 - June 20, 1947
(R) Harrison County
Elected governor in 1924

Howard Mason Gore was born on a Harrison County farm that had been in his mother's family since 1778. He was a graduate of Clarksburg High School and the West Virginia University College of Agriculture. Gore was involved in the banking industry and owned a hotel in Clarksburg, but his chief interests were farming and education. During World War I, he was the assistant food administrator for the state. Gore was a member of the State Board of Education while serving as the United States Assistant Secretary of Agriculture. He was later named Secretary of Agriculture by President Calvin Coolidge. He resigned from the Coolidge cabinet in 1925 to become governor of West Virginia.

As governor, Gore improved the state's agricultural programs and acted on requests from rural areas for reforms in handling state funds. Through a bipartisan commission, he was able to disperse more tax money to counties and municipalities. In addition, his support of road construction earned Gore the nickname, "road building governor." During Gore's administration, disaster again struck West Virginia's statehouse. In 1927, fire destroyed the temporary "pasteboard capitol," built after the old capitol burned in 1921.

Following his term, in 1931, Governor William Gustavus Conley appointed Gore as state Commissioner of Agriculture. Gore was defeated in attempts to be re-elected commissioner in 1932 and 1940. During these years, he was a leader in the development of livestock auction markets. Gore was named director of the federal government's rural rehabilitation program for Harrison County in 1935 and served on the Public Service Commission from 1941 to 1947. He died in Clarksburg in 1947.

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