Maw's top priority in 1941 was the reorganization of numerous commissions, boards, and bureaus under the direction of a handful of departments, one of which, Publicity and Industrial Development (PID), Maw saw as promoting tourism and new business. The PID department built access roads to scenic attractions and film locations in southern Utah, and also built a natural history museum in Vernal; but funding for PID remained controversial throughout Maw's administration.
During World War II, Maw helped to lead a successful campaign to attract major military facilities and related war industries to Utah; this created thousands of jobs, reviving the economy and enabling the state to retire its debts. In 1944, with support from conservative Democrats being only lukewarm, Maw supporters created a controversial pamphlet, Morals and the Mayor, that purported to expose lax law enforcement in Price under its colorful mayor, J. Bracken Lee, the Republican nominee. Maw eked out a slim 1,056-vote victory, unsuccessfully contested by Lee.