New Pocahontas Commissioner Walt Helmick’s Career in Government Service
Newly elected Pocahontas County Commissioner Walt Helmick maybe the newest Commissioner, but he is no rookie to either County or State Government. We provided Helmick with the opportunity tell our listeners about his political career and the experience he brings to his new job on the Commission. Commission.
“I’m Walt Helmick, I want to give a brief background of my past” said Helmick. “I’ve been currently re-elected to the Pocahontas County Commission. I came to Pocahontas County in nineteen and seventy – by the way, I am a native of Webster County- and taught school. I was the welding instructor at Pocahontas County High school, which I dearly loved. Then I moved into private business and started a company called H & S Welding supply. Ran it for many, many years. During that time I also ran for public office, so in 1976, I ran for the Pocahontas County Board of Education, and was elected. I served on the Board of Education for a short period of time. We built some schools, in fact built the Elementary schools in Hillsboro, Marlinton and Green Bank during that period of time, so it was a productive time for us. Had wonderful people to serve with and a good solid Superintendent, so we were able to accomplish a number of things. Then in 1978 I ran for County Commission to fill an unexpired term. And again, I was successful, served that two-year term and then ran again in 1980 and served a six-year term. During that period of time, I was President of the County Commission for nine years in succession. Served that six-year term, and we did a number of things: Built the Landfill; worked diligently to build and promote Mid-Atlantic Molding in Edray; water and sewage throughout the County; and we also did things with Parks and Recreation -built facilities here in Marlinton and at Green Bank, as well as Whitney Park in Durbin. Then in nineteen and eighty-eight, I was reelected to the County Commission We passed some significant legislation. We implemented the Hotel – Motel Tax, and it speaks for itself. The good it has done for this County is hard to measure, including -in conjunction with a piece of legislation later- helped us build, and provided the collateral base for the new hospital. So, we were very successful and I want to emphasize, had a wonderful County Commission to work with = those days were very positive for us. And then in 1989 I moved from the Pocahontas County Commission to the West Virginia House of Delegates, representing Randolph and Pocahontas Counties. And there we did some other things, including implementing in the Legislature, a piece of legislation which authorized us to do the School Building Authority, which has helped all the counties in West Virginia. So I always stayed deeply involved, but I only stayed there for the one term and then moved over to the West Virginia Senate, where I served 24 years, six four-year terms and moved up to the position which is second in rank, called the Chair of Finance. And the State did all right in those years. And when I left the State Senate, we had over a billion dollars in the rainy-day funds -there’s three of them – and I won’t go into detail about those, but there’s not quite so much there now, but we had over a billion dollars in the rainy day funds. And then moved on to run Statewide, and ran for Commissioner of Agriculture. Was elected there for a four-year term and we were really moving in the right direction, however the State was changing, and I was not successful in my last attempt to stay in the position of Commissioner of Agriculture in West Virginia. So then I moved back to Pocahontas County and looked at what I might be able to do to help out here In the County and in this section of West Virginia, and that was the Pocahontas County Commission.”
Be sure to tune in to the second part of this story, where we let Commissioner Helmick tell us about the goals and priorities he brings to the Commission.