MADISON COUNTY’S ECONOMIC GROWTH IS CRITICAL – Letter to the Editor
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
August 9, 2012
MADISON COUNTY’S ECONOMIC GROWTH IS CRITICAL
A few years back I was the executive director of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce
& Tourism. I have first hand, front line knowledge of the economic situation here in Madison
County. In less than three years at the Chamber, I saw no less than ten restaurants come and
go from “Grand Opening” to “Out of Business”, from big dreams to shattered hopes. Two of
these restaurant owners all but begged the Chamber to do something that would allow them to
sell wine in their businesses.
All I have to draw from is my own personal experience. Time after time we had tourists,
especially cyclist, who came to Madison County and were disgruntled because they had to drive
50 to 60 miles round trip just to drink alcohol: something that is legal in 63 of the 67 counties in
But make no mistake about it. The MadisonYES effort is not about the inconvenience of
visitors. It is about economic truths. Take a good look around at Madison County right now.
Unemployment rate is now 10.8%, three percent higher than Jefferson County and two percent
higher than the state average (Source: Madison County Carrier, August 8, 2012). Madison
County is worst in the state for per capita income and for household income. What that means
is if you work here in Madison County you’re making LESS MONEY than anywhere else in
Florida! We possess the only failing school district in the state and if you believe for a second it
cannot get worse, do not kid yourself, it can!
We already sell alcohol in Madison County. So whether or not we expand alcohol sales to
include wine and mixed drinks should not be a faith based issue, it is an economic issue! If we
keep doing what we have been doing, we will keep getting what we have been getting which is
Listen to what other businesses located in counties that have gone wet are saying:
“…There are clearly new guests visiting our restaurant / Music Hall and special events that
were not visiting prior to us being able to offer liquor by the drink, and are now being well
attended. I am not aware of any negative effects since the county (Suwannee) went wet. I
highly advocate that our neighbors in Madison County follow suit and remove this archaic law
from their community.” James Cornett, President and CEO, Cornett’s Spirit of the Suwannee,
“I ran the campaign ….. for Santa Rosa County to turn wet back in 2005. The impact has been
nothing short of remarkable. More restaurants and business. Tourism is higher than it has ever
been. DUI’s have actually gone down because people are not driving 30 miles to get a glass
of wine. I applaud your efforts and wish you luck. Please let me know what I can do to help.”
Bart Pullum, Realtor.
Voting yes on August 28 means more jobs, a greater opportunity for expansion at our key
Interstate interchanges, increased tax revenues, reduction in bootleg practices, more income
for public servants, a friendlier business environment, increased tourism revenues and
expansion of personal freedoms.
Voting yes means you want to have the right to choose!
199 East Base Street
Madison, FL 32340
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