By Wyatt Goolsby
ANDREWS - Wet or dry. The arguing continued in Andrews over whether to let local businesses sell beer and wine. Now, the fight is on to get enough support to bring it to a vote. On Friday, a group for "Making Andrews Wet" held an open forum to let the two sides voice their opinions.
Those for and against selling alcohol in Andrews made a strong showing at the meeting held at the Andrews Business and Technology Center. It's fair to say (after years of debating for some) many are dead set on their opinion.
"It looks as if with the research that we've done, dry counties have more DWI's then wet ones," Amanda Villalobos, President of Promote Andrews, explained.
Villalobos' group took their first step to getting over 1,000 signatures they need to put beer and wine sales on the November ballot. However, just across the street, supporters of "Keep Andrews Dry" brought a out a very real example of what they call a drunk driving problem already in and around Andrews: Debra Linton and her husband brought a trailer containing the car her daughter, Kayla, died in after being hit by a drunk driver on Highway 385 in 2006.
"It's not just about whether it's wet or dry, it's about smart decisions and there's a lot of smart people in Andrews that can make some right decisions," Debra Linton, with Keep Andrews Dry, said.
Supporters of Promote Andrews told NewsWest 9 it's because of Kayla and other victims they are pushing for allowing alcohol sales in town. They claim statistically it would be better to keep the alcohol and money local to keep drivers from having to leave to get it on their own. For others like Linton, however, no statistical argument can account for the lives of West Texas children.
"My daughter's life is not worth two million dollars in revenue, and I don't think anybody's else's child is worth two million dollars in revenue to keep them safe, and if it keeps them safe there's no amount of money that's going to persuade me," Linton said.
Members of Promote Andrews said they'll keep pushing for more people to sign their two petitions. The first is for allowing Andrews businesses to sell beer and wine for personal, home use. The second would allow local restaurants to sell mixed-drinks to customers.
NewsWest 9 will let you know if they are able to get the signatures.