Added: Tomas Moeller - Date: 16.08.2021 06:15 - Views: 40872 - Clicks: 4143
Many Arkansas counties are forbidden from selling alcohol, but campaigners, including the Walton family, want that to change.
Despite a nearby lake attracting tourists from neighboring states, the gas station cannot sell alcohol. In fact, there is no place within the entire county where wine, beer or liquor can be purchased and taken home. Last year Milner tried to change that, collecting enough atures to put a petition on the ballot. Thousands ed in support, and movers and shakers reached out to him, including a former mayor and council members.
Milner is ing a growing wave of Arkansans working to overturn year-plus bans on selling alcohol within some counties. While the south boasts the largestdry communities still exist throughout the US. Massachusetts, for examplehas a handful of dry towns.
The pro-dry camp has for years consisted of a collaboration between conservative churches — vocal about the harmful effects of alcohol — and county-line liquor stores in wet counties who worry about lost profits. Another reason counties have been slow to change is because the obstacles are high. Pro-wet organizers interviewed for this article attribute a lot of the statewide movement to pure gumption, but also to Steuart and Tom Walton, grandsons of Helen and Sam Walton — who founded Walmartthe retail giant that has its headquarters in Arkansas.
In the run-up to the general election, the Waltons spearheaded a Keep Dollars in Benton county campaign. Together, they donated hundreds of thousands of dollars toward getting the necessary atures for the pro-wet initiative to appear on the ballot. It succeeded, and the county became wet. Since then, more than 10 counties have followed. At the same time, according to courthouse records, Walmart threw millions of dollars at select county-wide initiatives in the and cycles.
In some cases, Walmart was the first donor listed when a pro-wet campaign registered at the courthouse. All of the Walmart-backed county initiatives that made it to the ballot were passed the following November. But before the election, Walmart stepped aside — allegedly agreeing not to get involved in wet-dry local option elections for eight years, in exchange for the ability to expand its wine selection. Despite objections from smaller liquor stores worried about competition, the compan y is no longer limited to only selling Arkansas and out-of-state small-batch wine.
But even without substantial financial backing, pro-wet campaigns continue to go forward. Milner, who failed last time to get his pro-wet initiative on the ballot, said he plans to budget in more months in to collect the requisite atures. David Couch, a Little Rock lawyer who once launched an unsuccessful campaign to turn the whole state wet, said it is eminently doable to turn smaller and mid-sized counties, like Cleburne, wet — without big donations.
But larger counties are harder. The battle to turn Arkansas's dry counties wet — with Walmart's help. According to Milner, the store owners are among the many businesses who would like to see Cleburne county go wet. Photograph: Teresa Krug.
Teresa Krug in Heber Springs. Tue 25 Jun Four restaurants in the Bronx feel the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez effect. .
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List of dry communities by U.S. state