CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee admits he made a mistake when he appeared in a television ad providing a testimonial in support of Bill Cole Automall, the car dealership Sen. Bill Cole (R-Mercer, 6) owns.
“I believe in the dealership. I believe in the service that I get there but, given the political climate of what’s going on in West Virginia, the timing was wrong. If I was going to do it, I should have done it after the election, I guess,” said Lee on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
Lee said he agreed to be part of the ad at the request of a service manager, one of his former students and Cole’s son, who has helped him with his car and other family vehicles over the years.
He said the ad was not meant to be political, even though in it, he is identified as the WVEA’s president.
The group represents teachers and school service workers and lobbies on their behalf in Charleston. The WVEA played a key role in pushing a $1,000 across-the-board pay raise through the Legislature this year.
“It wasn’t the WVEA, it was Dale Lee and that’s where I erred,” said Lee of his ad appearance. “In hindsight, it probably was the wrong decision to make, but — with that being said — we’ll move forward.”
Democrats have cried foul about Lee’s appearance in the television ad, which aired in the Charleston area and others. Cole has actively worked to recruit Republicans to run against Democrats this year.