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West Virginia Supreme Court to rule on Ag Commissioner candidate qualifications

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February 27, 2012

Walt Helmick's eligibility to run for West Virginia Agriculture Commissioner will be determined by the West Virginia Supreme Court.

CHARLESTON, West Virginia: The West Virginia Supreme Court will have to determine if Walt Helmick's candidacy for West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture is valid. Joe Starcher filed the suit against Helmick claiming that he failed to meet the requirement that a candidate must have an agriculture business for at least ten years as his chief business.

Chapter 19, Article 1 of West Virginia Code stipulates the commissioner of agriculture "shall be a practical farmer, learned in the science of agriculture, and shall have made agriculture his chief business for a period of ten years immediately preceding his election."[1]

Helmick is currently a state Senator and one of five candidates running for the post in 2012. He claims that he has a business that qualifies.[2] The Charleston Gazette reported "According to his financial disclosure filed with the state Ethics Commission, Helmick's primary occupations are as state senator and owner of Allegheny Lodge LLC, a Pocahontas County company that produces bottled water and rents vacation cabins.[3]

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