Two named to state boards

Published 10:34 pm Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Two Suffolk women recently were appointed to state board positions by Gov. Bob McDonnell.


Helivi Holland, who was appointed last year as the director of the state Department of Juvenile Justice, was given a position on the Domestic Violence Prevention and Response Advisory Board.

Shelley Butler Barlow, a Chuckatuck-area cotton farmer, was appointed to the Virginia Cotton Board.

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Holland represents the juvenile justice department on the domestic violence board. She said she will bring more than 20 years of experience as a prosecutor and as a presenter on the topic of domestic violence to the position.

“I have prosecuted cases from a misdemeanor push to a felony murder,” she said. “I have seen up close and personal the emotional and physical effects that domestic violence has on the victim, the families of the victim and defendant, and the witnesses.”


The Domestic Violence Prevention and Response Advisory Board is charged with, among other things, improving services to children who have been affected by domestic violence, enhancing services to victims of domestic violence and investigating ways to make college campuses safer.

“As a prosecutor, I have never ‘won’ a case, because even when a defendant is found ‘guilty,’ the victim, children and other relatives lose an invaluable familial relationship when a family is torn apart,” Holland said.

She was the deputy city attorney for Suffolk before her appointment to the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Barlow and her husband Joseph own Cotton Plains Farm in the Chuckatuck area. Cotton is the main crop grown on the land, which was a cotton farm 200 years ago, Barlow said.

“It’s a commitment and an honor to be appointed,” said Barlow, who also serves on the Foundation for Virginia’s Natural Resources and has been named Farm Woman of the Year by the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation.

Barlow said she doesn’t know who put her name forward for the cotton board, but it could have been one of several people.

“We know a lot of people in the industry,” she said. “I have no idea who put my name in the hat, but I can imagine a few people.”

The Virginia Cotton Board, like all the state commodity boards, helps determine what research projects on that particular crop will be most beneficial to the agriculture community. They also help to provide guidance and recommendations for the industry, Barlow said.