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The debate about expanded alcohol sales in Elizabethtown, Radcliff and Vine Grove is centered around two opposing views: 1) expanded sales will yield improvements in our quality of life because of economic growth and 2) drinking alcohol contributes to the moral decay of our residents, causing death, destruction and unwanted influence on our youth.
Regarding economic development, there is little dispute. There is substantial empirical evidence showing that local economies improve when they change to allow the sale of alcohol. I have been involved in economic development in our communities for more than 7 years. During that time, I’ve learned many businesses that would otherwise consider locating in Hardin County will not do so because of our current alcohol laws. These are much-needed jobs that never materialized because of our alcohol laws.
The moral side of the debate is more complex because it often is rooted in religious conviction. While I respect the religious views of those in opposition, I do not appreciate their desire to impose their views on everyone else.
Regardless of the outcome of this campaign, little will change with respect to the behavior of those who consume alcohol. The responsible ones will continue to behave responsibly and those who abuse alcohol will continue to abuse it. To suggest otherwise is simply sticking your head in the sand.
DUIs will not increase — after one year of being wet, Danville’s DUIs decreased by 33 percent — our children will not be corrupted and our streets will not be lined with strip joints.
On a personal level, I believe forcing adults to travel excessive distances to purchase a bottle of wine for dinner at home makes no sense in a modern society. It’s a gross inconvenience and insulting to the public, implying we are incapable of acting responsibly.
I strongly encourage local residents to join the campaign to allow expanded alcohol sales. It’s as easy as going to the Y.E.S. website at 2011yes.com, printing and signing a petition and mailing it in.