Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Candidates On Wine In Grocery Stores

Last week I happened to be chatting with a wine distributor about the whole wine in grocery stores stuff. The question came up as to which gubernatorial candidate would be most likely to support wine sales in grocery stores. Since Mike McWherter operates a beer distributorship, we were told not to expect him to support wine in stores -- he wouldn’t want the competition. Wamp and Ramsey were unknowns but Bill Haslam was deemed a likely yes, simply because of he’d want wine sales in his Pilot truck stops.

So I was interested to get an e-mail from the Red White & Food folks today outlining where (sorta) the candidates stood. Of course, only the Democratic candidate stated his position clearly (though it’s not the way I’d like to see him go on the issue). All three Republicans were predictably squishy. God forbid they would actually have to stand by their word down the road.

Without further ado:
The legislature is winding down, which means the gubernatorial campaigns will kick into hyperdrive. The Tennessee Newspaper Network recently polled gubernatorial candidates about their views on selling wine in food stores. Here’s what they had to say.
    • Republican Bill Haslam -- “I understand and respect the concerns of both consumers and small business owners on this issue. But perhaps most importantly, we must make certain that whatever solution we arrive at takes every possible step to ensure the safety of minors.”

    • Democrat Mike McWherter --  “I support the current state law with respect to wine sales.”

    • Republican Ron Ramsey -- “I support allowing wine in grocery stores, but we need to find a way to protect our local small business owners as much as possible. If a compromise cannot be reached, then I believe local communities should make this decision, just as they do on the ‘liquor-by-the-drink’ issue. There are some communities in Tennessee where a majority of the population overwhelmingly support wine in grocery stores - they should be allowed to vote for it by referendum. Other communities feel it is not a good fit and they should have the option to decline it.”

    • Republican Zach Wamp -- “At the present time, I believe the decision on this issue is best left to the legislature, as that body already has studied and grappled with the issue during the past few legislative sessions. However, I’m hesitant to support any effort that will take revenues away from Tennessee-owned small businesses and shift them to large, out-of-state corporations.”

That’s so cute. Haslam wants everyone to know he's thinking of the children, Zach Wamp is pretending to be an anti-corporatist looking out for the little guy, Ramsey is passing the buck to someone else and McWherter, as the distributor said, wants to keep things the way they are.

Don'tcha just love election years?