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Letter to the editor: Owen countains already drink but who will benefit?

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On July 26, make your decision based on facts, not opinion.
Over the last several months, I have heard that if Owen County becomes wet we will have more drunken drivers on the road and DUIs will increase; however, this has not been the case in other Kentucky counties.
For example:
• Danville — dry to wet DUI rate dropped by 33 percent
• Pike County — dry to wet DUI rate dropped by 40 percent
• Hopkins County — dry to wet DUI rate dropped by 48 percent
• Logan County — dry to wet DUI rate dropped by 35 percent
• Rowan County — dry to wet DUI rate dropped by 45 percent
• Floyd County — dry to wet DUI rate dropped by 32 percent
These statistics and much more can all be found at www.trailsrus.com/localoption/economic-impact.html
I have also learned of a study of nearly 39,000 alcohol-related traffic accidents in wet compared to dry counties in Kentucky. This study found that a higher proportion of dry county residents were involved in such crashes. As a result, one can only conclude that there is a greater risk of impaired driving among residents of dry counties. I could find absolutely no authority that supports the opinion that dry county legislation results in a reduction in alcohol consumption.
Even our own state government has seen the economic benefit from the sale of alcoholic beverages. That is why it was a significant part of the Kentucky Proud Program and the Kentucky Tourism Incentive. This allowed golf courses and wineries to lobby for expanded sales in individual precincts.
Moreover, just because the county goes wet doesn’t mean a bar, liquor store, or restaurant can just pop up on every corner. We have a great group of elected county officials that will do the job they were elected to do. They started working on this issue the moment they heard of the petition for a vote. They will make sure it is regulated as tight as it needs to be to preserve our community, its values and our rural heritage.
I believe that most people are responsible with alcohol, just as most people are responsible with firearms — especially those here in Owen County.
More importantly, let us not forget that people living in Owen County can drink alcohol now if they wish; they simply can’t legally purchase it here. So the real question is not whether people will choose to drink. The question is who will get the profit, license fees, tax revenue, jobs, and other corresponding economic benefits? Until we go wet, it won’t be us.
Please get out and vote “yes” on July 26. If you are 18 and a registered voter in Owen County, you have the option to vote even if you didn’t vote in the last election or have voted every time.
 
Holly Bowling