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Save our county

By Staff | Jul 17, 2015

What happens to “OUR COMMUNITY” when live thoroughbred racing is diminished and the agricultural base is eliminated? Approximately 57 percent of Jefferson County is considered farming ground. A great amount of those farms are involved in one way or another with thoroughbred racing, breeding, boarding, or raising crops (hay, straw, grain, etc.) for the horses. When the “green space” farms and families are basically forced out of business, what happens next? Do the 4H Clubs survive? How about the Future Farmers of America, the Farm Bureau, Jefferson County Fair and Camp Frame? Can you imagine most of the land being developed and the issues that come with it? Could Jefferson County end up looking like Prince Georges County, MarylandOMG!

According to WVU School of Business and Economics, approximately 2,000 people are employed because of live thoroughbred year-round racing and farms in the area. Think about it. In these economic times, 2,000 local citizens going unemployed and all the local small businesses that would be negatively affected, estimated at over $100 million in economic activity annually. Since the days of the Washington Family, racing horses down Washington Street in Charles Town and breeding and raising crops to nurture these magnificent animals, to one of the older Race Tracks in America being located near Shepherdstown at NCTC, this community has continued to support and count on live year-round horse racing and breeding.

Charles Town, West Virginia, with a full-fledged CASINO and only a limited number of racing days, which may eventually lead to ZERO DAYS as the industry winds down and almost self-destructsCharles Town may become just another Atlantic City, New Jersey. How horrible and when it’s GONE, IT’S GONE FOREVER!! Slot machines and table games were approved by the Jefferson County Voters with the assurances that live racing would be promoted, enhanced, and continued if “we the people” voted for casinos. Now somebody(s) wants to change the rules and alter the deal without our approval. Was it “bait and switch” or did some know all along this was the game plan? That issue remains to be solved. Review the preambles to both pieces of legislation and you will understand the promises that were made to this community in order to secure our votes and support.

My remarks are not to be construed as representing any group, organization, or entity, past or present. As part of my disclosure, I have been licensed as a WV Owner for years, although I currently have no horses in training or racing within West Virginia. Throughout the years, I have served as a Commissioner of Tourism, member of Cable TV Advisory Council, member of WV Economic Development Council, Chairman, WV Infrastructure and Jobs Council, President and Board Member of CTHBPA, and employed as a mutual clerk and racing official at the Charles Town Races, plus a few other assignments. I’m believed to be Sixth Generation Jefferson Countian with generations to follow and I DON’T WANT OUR COUNTY DESTROYED! Whether you are pro-growth or no-growth, greenspace and open minded, younger or older, retired or employed, fixed income or just trying to survivewhat is happening will affect the “quality of life” for all of us and time is running out. SAVE OUR COUNTY!

Ken Lowe, Jr.