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.

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  • Picklebee

    WVEA president and a used car salesman- they seem to be a good fit.

  • Paco

    You folks not aware that the Speaker of the House and the House Judiciary Chair coincidentally step up advertising of their law practices during election cycles. I suppose the Tiger thing is ethical

    • Stuart

      Do they have lobbyist in their commercials too?

  • Reality

    I suspect there would have been no controversy if Senator Cole had been a Democrat.

    • Real Reality

      There would have been an ethics violation filed by the WVGOP. That is how they do things in the GOP.

  • College Ave

    This is what happens when a lobbyist is invited to appear on a statewide radio show at least once a week. He begins to believe it matters to car-buyers what he thinks about a particular dealership.

  • rick

    I guess this will go on without much being done about it and they are firing Joe Gonzalez for endorsing a radio contractor from which he got nothing for. You gotta love WV

  • WV Citizen

    He should resign!

  • Michael

    In the Gazette it discloses the fact that he actually filmed some of the commercial in the Senate. A car commercial is trying to sell cars by filming a commercial in the Capitol?

    Sounds like a political commercial dressed up as a business ad. You get better discounts when you buy ads through your business.

    This doesn't seem ethical.

  • Independent View

    It's all the same, pimping for the teachers or a car dealer.
    I suspect that had Mr. Lee's hand not been called by his Democrat handlers, he would not be falling all over himself apologizing.
    And, we should somehow gauge our state representatives by their party affiliation rather than their voting record?

  • wvu999

    At least he is working with a senator that is for teachers and students. Senator Cole always votes the right way for them.

    - things no one says.

    Be proud WVEA members, be proud that your president sold you out for a better deal on a car.

  • Mason County Contrarian

    Just another validation being a member of the American Federation of Teachers.

    • Contrarian In Tucker

      This was not Mr. Lee's brightest move but it certainly is no crime. I would like to thank Dale and the WVEA for the leadership they have shown in working for the needed salary increase for teachers.

      • Common Sense

        When was the last time Dale Lee or the AFT showed "leadership" in lobbying for resources for students? The teachers' unions are a joke. They care as much about education as they do about the water content on Mars (hint, they care about neither). More money and don't dare make us work more than 75% of the year; that's all they care about and all for which they ever lobby.

      • wvu999

        What are your thoughts in Mr Lee and the wvea saying they were against Delegate Walker's multi year pay raise package? They lobbied for it for over 5 months then when one was proposed Dale spoke out against it saying the state couldn't afford it

        Confused me

        They worked a multi year salary campaign. When it was proposed they spoke out against it.


        • Contratian in Tucker

          The multi year increase was proposed at the last minute with no funding attached. Sometimes one has to face reality and take what one can get.

  • Aaron

    O M G, a union representative congregating with a known Republican.