|OPINION AND COMMENT By Bob Weaver|
Wyoming county Democratic senator Billy Wayne Bailey, who is running for Secretary of State, could be giving southern WV politicians a bad name.
During the just-gone-by legislative session, the Senate Majority Whip went on the rampage about lap dancing in the Mountain State and fought for an initiative to have kids be taught about gun safety during school hours.
Billy Wayne should have some first hand knowledge about lap dancing from his former employer, Wyoming's Sr. Center director Bob Graham, who managed to leverage a $500,000 plus annual income from the taxpayers.
During a trial that put Graham in white-collar jail, it was noted that
Graham frequently spent part of his usurious income at area strip-joints that entertained their customers with, well, lots of touching.
Graham, according to court documents, reduced the tension of being a senior center CEO, by living the life style of the rich and famous, buying expensive cars and going on high-flown vacations, plus lots of lap dancing.
The WV legislature lacked little if any wise-owl oversight over Graham's empire, allowing him to carry-on for years.
Worse yet, the criminal justice system continues to have a hard time finding Graham guilty of much of anything.
Billy Wayne, who for years helped his employer Graham get healthy Budget Digest grants for his old-folks operation, was "stupefied" when all the naughtiness came to light.
Billy Wayne may be seeking redemption after being stupefied, embracing family values with the introduction of the West Virginia Community Defense Act.
The Act required strip clubs to stop the music and the nude dancing at the midnight hour, six hours earlier than existing law.
Billy Wayne said, "And it stops the actual entertainment at midnight. No more dancing from midnight to 6 a.m. By midnight, the girls have to stop working."
What's more, the bill set a 6-foot buffer zone between the strip teasers and the patrons - "No touching allowed. No lap dancing," he said.
Billy Wayne said he was concerned about the lap dancers, too, the bill offers some level of protection for them.
"Girls have uninvited advances made to them and things of that nature," he said. "This would offer protection for participants on both sides of the situation."
The bill had little forward movement in the legislature.
Billy Wayne, catering to NRA members, also pushed the proposal to teach gun safety in public schools. He said it was because fewer people are getting hunting licenses and the DNR has a big hole in their budget.
State educators surely reached a state of delight about bringing guns on school property, while schools have been trying to keep them away.
The bill did call for using dummy ammo for training purposes for students starting in grade seven.
Billy Wayne maintains his ties to the jailed Graham won't hurt his chances to be the next secretary of state.
Bailey still works at the senior center and is now deputy director.
"We're going to keep bringing that up until Christ comes back to claim the church," Bailey said.
"I think if you look at that, justice was done. I was not implemented in any wrongdoing. I did my job. I did it and I did it well, and I did it honestly. I have nothing to be ashamed of. I'm trying to raise a family of four children. The oldest one is 10 and the baby's 4, and jobs are not that abundant in Wyoming County," he said.
Bailey once said he made about $25,000 at the center, but recently told a Charleston reporter he would have to check on the amount.