Bob Campbell sings what he thinks should be Virginia's new state song. He wrote it for a state-run competition to find a new anthem.
The old state song has to be replaced because its lyrics recall an old Virginia many would like to forget. State Sen. Emmett Hanger chairs the song selection committee and has taken more heat on this issue than any other.
"I've been in the middle of the abortion fight here in Virginia," notes Hanger, adding that the song issue has brought more rancor than the abortion issue.
Jimmy Dean and his wife Donna are in the middle of it all. Their song was selected as one of eight official finalists.
"I never thought of or dreamed of any controversy with the song whatsoever," Dean says.
But Dean's not just a songwriter. He's a millionaire sausage maker with links to influential people.
Things really got ugly here when charges were made that some members of the song selection committee were singing on the same page as Dean because of campaign contributions. He helped out one member of the committee to the tune of more than $1,700.
Dean denies the charge that he gave money to influence the vote.
Adele Abrahams wrote one of the 339 songs submitted to the committee. It didn't make the finals.
"Corruption is a very serious matter," she says.
Bobbie Williams' song didn't make the finals either. "It was unfair. Politics as usual," Williams says.
"It's just sour grapes, that's all," says Dean, after a sigh.
But the search for a new song has been fruitless so far. The committee was supposed to choose one of the eight finalists this week. Instead it decided to wait a year and the chairman has another idea.
"Maybe take all eight songs and just put them out there as the official collection of Virginia state songs." When asked if he was passing the buck, he says, "Essentially yes!"
You may have heard the expression that all politics are local. But in Virginia these days all politics are vocal.