Voters Guide Primary 2016 Commissioner of Agriculture

Click on this for printable version:  Voters Guide Primary 2016 Commissioner of Agriculture

Voters Guide Commissioner of Agriculture May 10, 2016 Primary Election


This candidate information is brought to you by the League of Women Voters of West Virginia as a public service. Candidate responses are printed exactly as received, including spelling, grammar and content. Candidates’ responses were limited to 60 words.


Candidates for Commissioner of Agriculture

Democratic Candidate for Commissioner of Agriculture

Candidate: Walt Helmick

County of Residence:

Party: Democrat

Candidate did not reply.


Republican Candidate for Commissioner of Agriculture

Candidate: Kent Leonhardt

County of Residence: Monongalia

Party: Republican



Following graduation from college in 1976, with a degree in Wildlife Management, including courses in agricultural sciences, spent 21 years in the USMC, retiring as a LtCol and earned a MS in Business Management. My wife and I restored an abandoned Monongalia County, WV farm. Elected to WV Senate in 2014, Chairing the Committee on Military and vice-chair of Agriculture.


  1. As commissioner, what recommendations would you make to reduce polluted runoff from agricultural operations? I will review water quality data to understand the locations of greatest concern, direct staff and ask partners to assist those farmers in the implementation of BMPs. I will encourage farmers to work with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, WV Conservation Agency, Conservation Districts, and Extension Service to take advantage of their expertise and financial assistance.


  2. What experience, training or education do you have that makes you the best qualified candidate for this office?WV Law requires the Commissioner to be active in agriculture; He must demonstrate leadership experience, and efficiently administer budgets and programs. I have 20 years of farming and small business experience aided by wildlife and business degrees. A retired Marine Officer demonstrating leadership and organizational skills: as State Senator I have an understanding of government. Farmer, Marine, Senator.