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Former Princeton High School teacher and current West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee addressed the Mercer County Board of Education in this 2014 file photo

BLUEFIELD — Dale Lee of Princeton announced earlier this week he wants a fifth term as president of the West Virginia Education Association (WVEA).

Lee said on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline” that 2020 is an election year and his presence brings stability to the union.

“This one really is the most important election of our time,” Lee said. “We have to get some moderate people who want to move West Virginia forward in the House and Senate that want to look at public education for our students and really make sure we fund that correctly and are doing the right things with it.”

Lee led the charge during the 2018 statewide teachers strike, which eventually resulted in a 5-percent pay raise for school employees followed by another 5 percent pay raise for the current school year.

“We will stay 55 (all state counties) strong” and the work stoppage will continue “indefinitely,” Lee said at one point in March 2018 when a deal fell through after less than the 5 percent was offered. “They can still fix this and reject the amendment and pass the 5 percent.”

Lee, a Wyoming County native, had been teaching special education at Princeton High School before he assumed the duties of president of the WVEA in 2008.

He is on a leave of absence to serve the WVEA and his current term is up on June 15.

The WVEA will hold its leadership election in April.

Lee told “Talkline” that the WVEA will not endorse candidates this year until union members return questionnaires that will be sent after the field of candidates has been set.

The last day for candidates to file for office is Jan. 25.

— Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com

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