Commonwealth Journal

Local News

May 7, 2013

Alcohol petition drive nearly complete

(Continued)

Somerset —

“I just think it’s sad that stores around the county might have to close their business because people are going into Somerset to buy a 12-pack or whatever,” said Lockard. “I’m trying to do something about that.”
County clerk Ralph Troxtell said that once the petition is turned in, it will be turned over to Pulaski County Judge-Executive Barty Bullock to be inspected and approved. Any questions about the legality of the wording on the petition would likely require the consultation of county attorney Martin Hatfield. 
If everything is good to go and legally sound, Bullock would then set a date for an option election that would be open to voters from the entire county. Last June, only Somerset city residents were able to vote on the local alcohol sales issue.
Jessica Crockett, assistant county attorney, informed the Commonwealth Journal that her office had not had an opportunity yet to inspect the wording on the petition thoroughly, and wasn’t able to give an opinion on it at this time.
Lockard, however, is not looking to take “no” for an answer.
“If they try to deny the petition for any reason, there will be a lot of very unhappy people,” he said.
“If they say the signatures aren’t valid, or if they try to say the wording isn’t legal, I’m going to run a special ad in the newspaper,” he added.
“I want people to know it’s not on me,” he said. “I did my job.”
Lockard has said that he’s sought professional advice on his petition drive and that “everything is legal.” He estimated that 95 percent of the signatures should be valid; “I don’t see any more than that” being disqualified, he said.
Lockard said that he doesn’t drink alcohol himself — he just wants to help provide more opportunities for businesses outside of Somerset that currently aren’t allowed to legally sell adult beverages.

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