Rural Voters Don't Have Easy Access to Petition - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

05/31/06 - Angelina County

Rural Voters Don't Have Easy Access to Petition

by Ramonica R. Jones

Angelina County voters are flocking to the courthouse annex in Lufkin to sign on the dotted line. They're hoping their signatures will make retail alcohol sales in Lufkin a reality.

Oscar Dillahunty said, "Our problem is getting to the rural registered voters at a location where they can come too - that's what we're working on."

Dillahunty was able to bring his petition to Zavalla and 71-year-old Kenneth Stanford was glad to see him. He doesn't believe alcohol sales should be limited to restaurants and private clubs.

Stanford said, "They can sell anything they want, but why can't anybody else get the alcohol instead of having to drive 80 miles to get beer?"

Other petition supporters want Angelina County to get an economic boost from alcohol sales.

Arnold Dott said, "I was raised up north and it's always been around; plus, all the tax money you're sending to Louisiana - it's foolishness."

But some voters disagree.

Ginger Hawley said, "It's easy enough to get for people who want to just drive 20 minutes to get it. There's too many Christians and churches. If there wasn't as many churches, I do see that it would probably be wet, but it's just easy enough to get without it being right here on top of us."

Some estimates show alcohol sales in Angelina County could bring in about $15 million a year, but the financial impact would also reach neighboring counties. Nacogdoches, Polk, and Trinity County liquor stores now get a lot of business from Angelina County residents. A lot of that business would likely stop if alcohol sales start.

More than 4,500 signatures on the petition have been confirmed. A total of 7,000 signatures are needed before the issue makes it onto the November ballot.

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