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Liquor referendums pass in Erwin

Voters in the Town of Erwin passed two liquor-related referendums during the Nov. 4 election.
According to Unicoi County Election Administrator Sarah Bailey, a simple majority is needed for the referendums to pass.
With 776 votes in favor, the referendum for allowing package stores in the town passed. There were 534 votes against this referendum.
With 760 votes in favor, the referendum to allow on-premise liquor sales also passed. There were 552 votes against this referendum.
“I think it will be a positive thing for the town,” Erwin Mayor Doris Hensley said of the passage of the referendums. “I have personally had contacts with restaurants that said they would consider locating here if we had liquor-by-the-drink. I think this will be a plus for us. I can see new businesses coming into town.”
Hensley said the town will draft ordinances pertaining to both liquor-by-the-drink and package stores. The board will begin working on the ordinances in the near future. The ordinances require two readings before they pass.
“We would like to have something passed by spring,” Hensley added. “There are a lot of things to look at and consider before we are ready to start handing out licenses.”
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Town voters also went to the polls to elect three members to the Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen. The top vote-getter in this race was newcomer Michael Baker. Baker received 703 total votes to earn his first term on the board.
Gary Chandler, who currently serves on the board, will continue to serve after he received 639 votes. Virgil Moore, another current member of the board, will continue to serve after he received 481 total votes.
Just missing out on a seat on the board was former Unicoi County commissioner Ron Arnold who received 474 total votes. Also running for the board were David Seagroves, who received 416 votes, and Stephen Wilson, who received 371 votes.
“I am pleasantly surprised,” Baker said. “I am very grateful to the voters. I will stand for what I think is right and what the people think is right.”
Chandler expressed his appreciation to the voters.
“I thank everyone for trusting me,” Chandler said. “I thank all of my family, friends and neighbors for their support. I will continue to do the best I can for all of the citizens of the Town of Erwin.”
Moore shared Chandler’s sentiment.
“I am happy and thankful,” Moore said. “I am thankful for the people who supported me. I am looking forward to serving and moving ahead in our community.”
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Voters in the Town of Unicoi elected two new members of the town’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen. Phil Hensley won his seat on the board with 546 votes. Kathy Bullen will also join the board after receiving 451 votes.
Jeff Linville, who currently serves on the board, missed out on re-election after he received 441 votes.
“I am thoroughly honored by the voters in Unicoi,” Bullen said. “I will do my best to be a voice for the people of Unicoi and I will work to make Unicoi the best town in East Tennessee. I thank the voters for their confidence in me.”
Hensley could not be reached for comment prior to The Erwin Record’s deadline for this issue.
These results are unofficial at this time. The Unicoi County Election Commission is scheduled to meet on Monday, Nov. 17, to certify the results.