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Walter Dolph (“Walt”) Helmick, a state legislator and Agriculture Commissioner, was born April 25, 1944, in Webster Springs. He received his bachelor’s degree from West Virginia Institute of Technology (now WVU Institute of Technology). In 1988, Helmick, a Democrat, was elected to the House of Delegates, and served one year before his appointment to a vacant seat in the state Senate where he served 24 years. He was chairman of the Senate finance committee for eight years.

Helmick owns a number of businesses, and he and his wife, Rita, currently operate Allegheny Enterprises LLC, which includes Allegheny Lodge and a 200-acre farm in Minnehaha Springs, Pocahontas County. They bottled spring water at Allegheny Lodge for ten years and currently operate a rental cottage business.

Several candidates entered the race for agriculture commissioner following Gus Douglass’s announcement in 2011 that he would retire and not seek reelection. West Virginia law dictates that the state agriculture commissioner be a “practical farmer,” and Helmick’s opponents said he did not meet the requirement. A Kanawha Circuit judge ruled that Helmick could stay in the race, saying the Legislature overstepped its bounds by imposing restrictions on who could run for the office. Helmick won the race and was inaugurated on January 14, 2013. In November 2016, he lost his bid for reelection. Helmick won a seat on the Pocahontas County Commission in 2018 and currently serves as President.

He and his wife, Rita, live in Glenville and Minnehaha Springs.

Last Revised on November 09, 2022

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Cite This Article

e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia "Walt Helmick." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 09 November 2022. Web. 31 January 2023.

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