Multiple sources confirm the passing of former state senator Billy Wayne Bailey, according to WV Metro News.
Billy Wayne Bailey Jr. was born in Bluefield, Mercer County, on June 7, 1957. As a Democrat, he was appointed to the West Virginia Senate in 1991 and elected to that position in 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004. He served as Senate Majority Whip and on a variety of committees.
Craig Blair, Republican president of the Senate from Berkeley, affectionately recalled his late colleague:
“I’m saddened by the news of the passing of Senator Bailey, who welcomed me to the West Virginia Legislature when I became a Delegate in 2003,” Blair said.
“We shared many conversations, challenges and most of all, our laughter. I will personally miss my friend Billy Wayne and my prayers are with his family during this time of great sorrow.”
Gov. Jim Justice also commented on the passing of the late state lawmaker saying he was "saddened to hear this morning of the passing of former WV State Senator Billy Wayne Bailey.
"He lived a life of public service, not only in the Senate but also as Deputy Secretary of our @WVDepVeterans Cathy and I ask you to join us in praying for his loved ones at this time."
Saddened to hear this morning of the passing of former WV State Senator Billy Wayne Bailey. He lived a life of public service, not only in the Senate but also as Deputy Secretary of our @WVDepVeterans. Cathy and I ask you to join us in praying for his loved ones at this time.
— Governor Jim Justice (@WVGovernor) May 15, 2023
Following an unsuccessful run for Secretary of State in 2008, the former lawmaker continued in public service.
In 2011 Bailey joined the West Virginia Department of Veterans Affairs as deputy secretary, reporting to former Secretary Keith Gwinn during the Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's administration. He held this position until the administration of Governor Jim Justice took over.
Prior to his political career, Bailey served in the 1092nd Combat Engineers Battalion of the National Guard from 1978 to 1984, and then spent 15 years with the 130th Airlift Wing of the Air National Guard.
He attended Morris Harvey College, now the University of Charleston, and Marshall University after graduating from Herndon High School.
So sad to learn of the unexpected passing our friend Billy Wayne Bailey. He was a true public servant in every sense of the word. He served honorably in the WV State Senate and as Deputy Secretary of the Dept of Veterans Assistance. He was a wonderful person with a beautiful soul
— (((Mike Pushkin))) (@pushkinforhouse) May 15, 2023
Delegate Mike Pushkin, chairman of the state Democratic Party, also fondly remembered Baily saying he was “a true public servant in every sense of the word.”