Thursday, August 28, 2008

click on image to enlargeA group calling themselves the Kiowa County Citizens for Economic Development are running ads in the Snyder and Hobart papers quoting Jimmy Cooper, the former CFO of Halliburton and former President of the Duncan Area Economic Development Foundation. Mr. Cooper’s ability to present Oklahoma and particularly Stephens County in a positive light as head of the DAEDF is well known. His success in recruiting industry is admirable, but the information being distributed by the KCCED is simply not true. Cooper claims the passage of Liquor by the drink is the reason Duncan and Stephens County has attracted industry and grown as a community.

I can assure you that Stephens County having Liquor by the Drink was not a deciding factor in the location of the Family Dollar distribution center or the Pre-paid Legal call center to Duncan. The outstanding work force, centralized geographic location, and taxpayer funded tax incentives were the main factors in their decision. As to Cooper’s statement that “restaurants, hotels and large industries insist upon location in Liquor by the Drink counties,” there is no evidence to support such a statement. Population and demographics are the primary factors restaurants and hotels consider when building facilities- not liquor by the drink. By the way, Duncan and Stephens County (which has four times the population of Kiowa County) have no chain restaurants that traditionally serve liquor; Cooper’s claim that expanding liquor consumption will attract chain restaurants is completely false. It hasn’t happened in Stephens County or Logan County- both counties with Liquor by the Drink and both with significant higher populations than Kiowa County.

Expansion of liquor consumption is never a positive move- either economically or morally. It’s just common sense. If restaurants are allowed to serve drinks, the number of drivers on the road who have been drinking will increase. That will lead to more alcohol related accidents. The expansion of liquor consumption will ultimately hurt families and cost government because of the increase in social ills. It’s just common sense. Cooper is a private citizen who has a right to get involved in a Liquor by the Drink drive or any other issue or campaign in another county, but when he uses his former title to add creditability to his claims, he crosses the line.

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