Residents in the City of Jenkins voted overwhelmingly to allow the sale of alcoholic beverages in restaurants that seat at least 50 people.
The wet-dry initiative was the most talked about issue on Letcher County ballots Tuesday that also included races for statewide offices including the governor’s race.
With 247 yes votes and 129 no votes, the majority of Jenkins voters are in favor of limited alcohol sales in restaurants.
“Today was very successful for our city,” said Jenkins resident Mason Gibson, who collected the required number of signatures to get a petition filed to put the question on the ballot. “This just means the majority of our community is ready to grow. To me this means new businesses and new opportunities for our city. I’m very eager and very excited.”
Jenkins Mayor G.C. Kincer said Jenkins is a close-knit community ready to attract new business.
“Their strong vote gives us an opportunity to be recognized as a city that is open for business,” said Kincer. “We already have inquiries about properties near US 119 and US 23. This strong vote encourages people to invest in our city.”
Earlier on Election Day, Kincer wasn’t quite sure if voters would approve of the question.
“As early as today I was thinking this might not make it,” said Kincer. “The city has a poker face that not even the best of political experts can second guess them. Honestly, even those who supported it were surprised at the numbers.”
Jenkins is the 26th location in the Kentucky to approve restaurant-only sales since the Kentucky General Assembly passed a law allowing for such local option elections in 2000. Whitesburg became the 21st location to approve restaurant-only sales on April 17, 2007, when Whitesburg residents voted by a margin of more than 2 to 1 in favor of legalizing alcohol sales in some restaurants. During the Whitesburg special election, 413 people voted in favor of allowing sales of alcohol by the drink in restaurants that can serve at least 100 people with at least 70 percent of sales from food. The no vote totaled 196.
Residents of Seco voted over- whelmingly in 2001 to allow the local Highland Winery to sell wine it makes.
Letcher Court Clerk Winston Meade said 1,543 Letcher County residents cast votes during the Primary Election, making it one of the lowest voter turnouts in the 13 years he has served as court clerk. At least 69 percent of the voters were Democrats and 30.33 percent were Republicans.
The Letcher County vote results for Republican candidates in statewide races were:
• Governor and Lt. Governor: David L. Williams and Richie Farmer, 362; Phil Moffett and Mike Harmon, 69; and Barbara ‘Bobbie’ Holslaw and Bill Vermillion Jr., 31.
• Secretary of State: Bill Johnson, 269 and Hilda Legg, 135.
• Auditor of Public Accounts: John T. Kemper III, 259 and Addia Kathryn Wuchner, 127.
• Commissioner of Agriculture: James R. Comer, 271 and Rob Rothenburger, 127.
The Letcher County vote results for Democrat candidates were:
• Secretary of State: Alison Lundergan Grimes, 559 and Elaine N. Walker, 424.
• State Treasurer: L. J. ‘Todd’ Hollenbach, 581 and Steve Hamrick, 364.
• Commissioner of Agriculture: Robert ‘Bob’ Farmer, 360, John Faris Lackey, 244; B.D. Wilson, 217; David Williams, 106; and Stewart Gritton, 64.