James Campos. Official portrait.
James Campos. Official portrait.

The Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission has a new acting executive director, James Campos. This comes about a year after the commission’s former executive director left to take a job with the Biden administration. 

The appointment comes from Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s office, not from the commission itself. It was a dual appointment, and Campos now also holds the position of deputy secretary of commerce and trade, in addition to executive director of the Tobacco Commission. 

The commission, which invests in economic development projects across Southwest and Southside Virginia, met Jan. 5 in Richmond for the first time with Campos. 

Campos previously served as the Department of Energy’s director of the office of economic impact and diversity during the Trump administration. 

In a release by the commission Jan. 6, Campos said that he’s excited to get started in his new role. 

“The commission does important work and after attending the meetings over the last few days it is clear that it is a critical asset for the communities of Southern and Southwest Virginia as they seek to grow and diversify their economies,” Campos said in the release. 

Before working for the Department of Energy, Campos worked in government administration in Nevada. 

His background is primarily in energy, not rural economic development. But Sen. Frank Ruff, Tobacco Commission Chairman, said that Campos brings “a wealth of experience” to the position. 

“I am delighted that James Campos will be coming to us as the acting director of the commission,” Ruff said in an email to Cardinal. “He has experience with economic development, energy, and workforce issues, all of which are major focuses of the Tobacco Commission.”

The commission also approved 29 funding requests at the meeting, totaling about $10 million. 

“I am proud to be a part of this team and look forward to getting to work to help ensure a bright future for our rural communities,” Campos said in the release.

Grace Mamon is a reporter for Cardinal News. Reach her at grace@cardinalnews.org or 540-369-5464.