Stanford resident seeks wet/dry vote

Published 11:58 am Thursday, January 2, 2020

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STANFORD — In September of 2018, Mike Hargis started a push to allow alcohol sales in the city of Stanford by circulating a petition to get an alcohol legalization vote on the November ballot. But the push failed because he began his petition campaign too late.

Hargis is ready to give the effort to make Stanford wet another try.

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The Stanford resident officially filed the petition on Friday, Dec. 6, at 9:09 a.m. in the office of County Clerk George O. “Sonny” Spoonamore IV with the hopes of getting the vote on the May ballot.

“The last time I was doing it for a group of individuals who wanted to see Stanford go wet because they wanted to do some things here. This time it’s for the city. That’s the only way I know how to put it,” said Hargis. “Everybody I’ve talked to downtown here would really like to see something new happen. I don’t want to say they’re for or against it but they want to see something new happening. And this is something … it’s already all around us.”

“The restaurants and stuff here do not draw the people who like to come in and have a glass of wine or a margarita with their Mexican food like they do in Danville. It’s proven. I’m not a drinker but I’ve got friends that won’t go to restaurants here. They go to Danville. And I’ve figured out why. They want to sit up there at Applebee’s and have a beer with their hamburger and french fries. They can’t have it here. Being a non-drinker, it don’t make no difference to me. But revenue-wise for police, fire and rescue, they are going to benefit from it.”

While anxious to get the wet/dry vote put before the people, Hargis did not put the petition out to start collecting signatures from registered voters until this week.

“We didn’t really want to push anything before Christmas,” he said.

As of Monday, Ft. Logan Trading Post is the only store with the petition. However, that doesn’t mean signatures haven’t already been gathered.

“There are several members around town that are taking them privately to get people signed up on them and they’ve got quite a few signatures. And I’m getting ready to hit social media with it tonight. To ask for volunteers to help,” Hargis said. “We’re wanting to have a sign-up day coming up soon. Durham’s has already said it’s okay. Walmart has said we could set up. If I can get enough people set up tables, we’ll sign people up.”

Hargis says he’s gotten a lot more positive feedback on the petition than he expected.

“There’s a lot of people that are for it and there are a lot of people who are for it but won’t vote for it. They support it. They’re not going to be against it is what I’m being told.

It’s been surprising,” he said. “I’ve talked with some religious people and they’ve told me they won’t vote for it, but they aren’t going to fight it this time. It’s already here. They said we might as well get the revenue off of it.“

Hargis, who admitted when he filed his first petition that he hadn’t “drunk a sip of alcohol probably in 30 years,” said the city going wet won’t change his stance on drinking.

“I don’t drink but I support it. I won’t go in and sit down and have a beer because I don’t drink but I would support it because it’s needed,” he said. “The revenue is needed. Any way we can raise new revenue is a good thing.”

Hargis, who got over 440 signatures on his petition drive in 2018, would need to collect 325 signatures of registered Stanford voters – or 25 percent of the 1,225 cast in the last election – to get the option approved by Judge-Executive Jim W. Adams to be placed on the May ballot.

The signatures have to be collected and turned in by Jan. 28 at 4 p.m. so Hargis is seeking help.

“We’re on a short leash,” he said. “If somebody would like to help, I need people to help. If they want to help or if they are looking for where to sign up, give me a call. Good or bad they can call me.“

Hargis’ phone number is 606-282-3794.