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He's a real honest person, Helms' mother, Ida Helms, told the audience.

I made the right choice to marry him, said Helms' wife, Eleanor.

Helms said other commissioners have the right to disagree with using county resources this way, but that he has no plans to request that the county pull the piece off the air.

I didn't ask for it, I didn't produce it, said Helms. I didn't ask for the award. I have had lots of times I have been involved in controversies, but this is a first. I'll be somewhat at a loss to see what people say.

Helms said that it is not unusual for the county to send out fax announcements when one of the commissioners wins an award.

I think the difference here was it turned out to be a video, said Helms.

But James, who just won a national Eagle award from Phyllis Schafly's Eagle Forum for his conservative stands on moral and social issues, said that if Helms doesn't back down, he'll go forward with a commercial about his award to make a point, though he disagrees with using taxpayer money that way.

If conservatives across Mecklenburg County have to be subjected to an infomercial promoting the great wonders of Parks Helms, they can also be exposed to the things Bill James has done, said James.

Republican Commissioner Tom Cox said county resources should not be used to cast commissioners in a positive light for any reason. Cox said he thinks county television should be used to inform the public about where individual commissioners stand on the issues.

Receiving an award doesn't fall into the public policy category, said Cox. We ought not to use the TV to publicize the accomplishments of commissioners.


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