District 9 County Commissioner Steven Helton says he isn’t afraid of controversy or to speak out. Helton, who serves on the County Corrections Partnership Committee, Policy and Personnel Committee, and Procedures and Rules Committee, is a fourth-generation farmer in the Viola area and has plenty to say about the current state of the commission.
Learn more about Helton below.
Q: Briefly describe yourself.
A: The old saying “our roots run deep” is not a catch phase. It’s a way of life for my family. Quite literally, from my house you can see my great, great, great- grandfather’s house that’s still standing. My family, we farm around 1,000 acres and that’s land that is rented and owned. We run beef cattle and we own a manufacturing facility in the Morrison area, where we employ 40 to 50 people.
Q: Do you have any hobbies/ interests?
A: The farm. When I get done working my full-time job, we come and farm. I do enjoy going to the lake and spending time with my family. I have two small children and we like traveling in our RV.
Q: What brings you joy?
A: My children. Also, having a goal and being able to achieve it or overcome a challenge.
Q: Do you follow any TV shows?
A: No, we don’t have TV, no internet, no computer at home. We don’t have time for it. By the time you work all day and you’ve got a farm and children, it is dark when we come in.
Q: In your opinion, what has been your toughest decision while being on the commission? Which measure was most conversional and why?
A: Government is not like the private sector. It’s a lot slower process and more loopholes. I take every decision seriously and try to investigate and make phone calls. The hardest thing I’ve had to do is stand up and voice my opinion whenever everybody else in the room was against me and I did not have the support to guide me through the proper procedure.
Q: Are you satisfied with the way meetings are being conducted?
A: No. We are the governing body of Warren County and affect 40,000 plus people and their lifestyle. Whenever we are talking about millions of dollars on budgets and taxes, we should be professional and treat that with the utmost courtesy in regards to that matter. Whenever someone gets off topic and gets on personal vendettas, the chairman should shut that down.
Q: What’s it like being a commissioner? (Best part, worst part)
A: Best part – The people I’ve gotten to know, who have supported me and the decisions I’ve made in representing them. That support is much needed whenever you’re getting beat up for publically standing up for a position because you feel all alone and you lay in bed at night asking “Did I make the right decision?” so that support is extremely important for commissioners.
Most frustrating part – Our commission has not worked together like what a lot of people are saying. We all have a difference of opinion, and for me, it’s being able to get to the meetings, to discuss those and resolve it as committees. The biggest flaw right now is, if you don’t agree with a certain philosophy, then you’re wrong and they won’t listen to you. It’s shut it down. If you don’t agree with the direction something is going, you aren’t supposed to ask questions about it or question it in any way. You’re supposed to agree and shake your head and I’ve never been one not to ask questions because that is how I learn. Overall, this commission has had some success and we’re moving forward as a county. It’s not that I’m opposed to any of that, but I am opposed with how we’re getting there.
Q: Best contact info?