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WV Department of Transportation

Senator John D. "Jay" Rockefeller IV

Senator John D. "Jay" Rockefeller IV Year Inducted: 2014


  • Staunch Supporter of Aviation as Former WV Governor and US Senator
  • Authored Small Community Air Service Development Program Benefiting WV Airports
  • Leader of Essential Air Service Program Enabling Air Service at Smaller WV Airports
  • Author of Aviation & Transportation Security Act Leading to Creation of TSA
  • Chair of Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation​

Born June 18, 1937 in New York City, John Davison “Jay” Rockefeller IV had a very distinguished public service career representing and governing the State of West Virginia and championing the importance of aviation along the way. Rockefeller first moved to Emmons, West Virginia in 1964 with Volunteers in Service to America where he quickly became involved in politics. He was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1966 and the office of West Virginia Secretary of State in 1968. Prior to being elected Governor of West Virginia in 1976, he served as President of West Virginia Wesleyan College. After two terms as Governor he was elected to the United States Senate representing the people of West Virginia.

It was in the U.S. Senate where Rockefeller’s staunch support of aviation shined. He authored the successful Small Community Air Service Development Pilot Program which provides air service development assistance to those that qualify through the Department of Transportation. He became an outspoken leader of the Essential Air Service program, preventing drastic cuts to the program in 2012, enabling West Virginia airports to continue providing vital service to their communities. Following the tragedies of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, he was one of the co-authors of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act which led to the creation of the Transportation Security Administration.

Rockefeller was honored the Wings of Liberty award from the Aerospace Industries Association in 2006. He held numerous leadership positions including Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation where he tirelessly advocated for adequate funding for the nation’s air transportation system. Speaking engagements at industry conferences include the American Association of Airport Executives as well as the National Association of State Aviation Officials and the Aero Club of Washington.

West Virginia appreciates and honors John D. Rockefeller IV’s commitment to our state and the various efforts in which he supported aviation throughout his career.

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