As vote looms, alcohol remains contentious subject

By WMBB Nov 4, 2021 0 Comments

A special referendum could soon change Washington County’s status as one of only three counties in Florida that is still dry.

But some are not on board with the idea.

Jodi Bush said she has seen too much hurt because of alcohol to be able to support the measure.

“If I can spare one family, just one family, the heartache my family has been through,” Bush said. “My sister as well lived an abusive life with an alcoholic. Her children, now generationally, are alcoholics as well.”

Bush also said she thinks this measure could hurt small businesses.

“I really would like to see our business leaders promote our little restaurants downtown. I am concerned that bigger chains coming in at the interstate will deplete their ability to bring in revenue,” Bush said.

Brandon Lovering is the president of Advance Washington County and he said he felt really good about the turnout for the petition.

“We’re very excited that we were able to secure the number of petitions simply for the fact that we believe that it’s time for the citizens of Washington County to have a vote,” Lovering said. “By securing the number that we did, we believe that our county is ready to put this ballot to a vote.”

But Lovering said I-10 running just south of Chipley and Washington County having a lot of commercial property for sale creates an ideal location for developers so long as the county can become wet.

“We feel like if we can become a wet county that will open the doors to economic development for companies that use that as a checklist to relocate into a certain county.”

Advance Washington County will present the certified petition letter to the Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday, November 23rd to get the ballot process started.

The Supervisor of the Elections Office will then send out sample ballots to all registered voters through the mail.

The goal for Advance Washington County is to send the actual ballots out in late December where they will then have thirty days to collect them to be counted.

50 percent of the voters – plus one vote – must be gained to approve the measure.