District 5 Commissioner Lee Powers voted this week in favor of allowing the Sunday alcohol sales question on the May 22 ballot, but he plans to vote “No” on election day.
Powers challenged Christians who want their voices heard to go to the polls instead of sitting silent as they did in other matters that they are now vocal on.
The Carroll County Board of Commissioners approved the motion for a resolution authorizing a referendum to allow package sales on Sundays by retailers of malt beverages and wines. District 2 Commissioner Vicki Anderson made the motion to approve and was seconded by District 4 Commissioner Michelle Morgan. The motion was carried 4-2 with District 6 Commissioner George Chambers and BOC Chairman Marty Smith opposing.
Voters will go to the polls on this matter on May 22.
The BOC also approved a resolution to amend ordinances 6-197 and 6-198 to provide for the regulation of the sale of wine in a tasting room or other farm winery facility on Sundays. The motion carried 4-2 with Smith and Chambers opposing.
District 3 Commissioner Tommy Lee voted in favor of both items while District 1 did not have a vote as that seat was vacated by former Commissioner Trent North.
Following the meeting, Chambers said he voted as he did because that is what his constituents wanted him to do. He said that he has been contacted by many people over the past two weeks who have communicated their wishes to him.
“Everytime that this has come up before the commission, I have been asked by my constituents, not only in District 6, but overwhelming in conversation that has been conveyed to me in Carroll County, that this not go on the ballot,” Chambers said. “I am confident that I have done what I said I would do.”
Chambers said that if the voters who are opposed go to the ballot box with the same zeal they had in contacting him, then perhaps their wishes will be met on election day.
During Tuesday’s Board of Commissioners meeting, Powers told his story of being hit by a drunk driver and asked Christians where their voices were when important matters were passed. He was briefly met with support from some vocal attendees but said that he would be voting in favor of the referendum. Before voting on the second item, he asked County Attorney Stacey Blackmon to take note that he used to have dealings with a winery but that no longer exists and leaves him free to vote.
There was standing room only in the Historic Carroll County Courthouse — several pastors and church members had come to oppose placing the alcohol issues on the ballot. Some left immediately after the vote and the doors had to be closed as they expressed disappointment with the votes. One pastor led a prayer circle immediately following the meeting in the aisle while some attendees approached their district representatives directly.
After the meeting, Powers said he wanted to clarify why he voted as he did on the items just in case people were not clear.
“Even though I got hit by a car in 1988 and the doctors told my dad I had 10 percent chance to live, on this alcohol ballot, the people still have a right to vote on it,” he said. “I hope the Christians stand up and vote. In 1962, the Christians sat around and prayer got taken out of the school, in 1973 they sat around and we’ve killed 54 million babies because of Roe vs. Wade. Then we sat around in 1989 and we got prayer taken out of our football games and Christians are still sitting on the sidelines, not standing up.”
Powers said he wants Christians to stand up and let their voices be heard but at the same time realize that other people have a right to do so also.
“We live in America where we live in a democracy and people have a right to vote and my vote’s no,” he said. “My vote’s no at the ballot but my vote was yes at the meeting because I feel like the people have the right. Even though I have been injured by a drunk driver, almost killed by a drunk driver, I think it’s wrong for me as a commissioner to take a vote away from the people. I know a lot of people have been mad with me and a lot of people have sent me some nasty emails .... What’s sad to me is as Christians, we’re the only army that shoots its own soldiers. I would love for the Christian community to come together, bind together and take the bull by the horns and let’s put this thing to rest.”
Powers said he recalls days gone by where if you didn’t get gas on Saturday night, you might not be able to get it on Sunday because gas stations and stores were closed. He said he feels society would be better if all stores closed on Sundays.
He said that Christians want to criticize the liquor stores and restaurants but yet they go to those restaurants on Sundays.
“Maybe they don’t need to be patronizing the businesses that are open on Sunday,” Powers said. “But I love Carroll County, I love serving Carroll County and want to thank the voters for allowing me to serve.”