Wet or Dry Andrews Debate Expanding to Gaines and Martin Counties

By Wyatt Goolsby
NewsWest 9

ANDREWS/STANTON - Going wet or staying dry. The tension for many is building over allowing businesses to sell beer and wine in Andrews. Now, that debate is about to get even bigger. A group supporting selling alcohol in Andrews is expanding, and taking their petitions to Gaines and Martin counties.    

On Friday, NewsWest 9 learned more on how the group is pushing to get the issue on the November ballot across the region.

"We are trying to make our surrounding communities safer, and that's what our focus is now... Not necessarily trying to get alcohol in the county, this is trying to make the community safer," Amanda Villalobos, President of Promote Andrews, said Friday.

The question of whether to allow beer and wine sales in Andrews is about to move to two neighboring counties. This week, the group promote Andrews, who have been gathering signatures for a petition, announced a new political action committee and new website, called "Wet is Best."

"What is going on is personal...We are passionate about this...it's about safety," Villalobos explained. "Because now that we have done all the research that we have done, all the statistics show that dry counties are not safer than wet counties. And that is the biggest part of why we have decided to expand our efforts."

Starting in April, the group will focus on Gaines and Martin counties along with Andrews. The goal is to allow businesses to sell beer and wine, and restaurants to offer mix beverages. In Andrews this weekend, the group will continue to go door to door trying to get the nearly 1,000 signatures they need to get it on the ballot. For residents NewsWest 9 spoke with in Martin County Friday, they seem hesitant on the idea of becoming a wet county.

"Oh, I think it would be better just to keep it that way [as a dry county]," longtime Stanton resident Ellis Witt said. "Might not have as much trouble."

"It doesn't bother me, but I know it bothers other people because it's always been a dry county," Stanton resident Delia Zamudio explained. "I personally don't drink, but I think the way it is right now is fine. We haven't had so many accidents or inconvenience with the beer situation because I guess we don't have any beer here."

It will likely be a tough road ahead for the Promote Andrews/Wet is Best group. Debate has been brought to a vote in several counties before, and so far, the three have stayed dry.

Residents in both Gaines and Martin counties will probably start hearing from the group starting the week of April 5th. They tell us, they'll have to get a little over 800 signatures in Gaines county and a little over 300 in Martin county to put alcohol on the ballots. On Saturday, they plan to ask for more support in Andrews.