KEARNEY — After Kearney’s Board of Aldermen locked in a tie vote, Mayor Randy Pogue broke the tie with a yes vote in favor of Tobacco 21 Monday, Oct. 21.
Tobacco 21 changes the law in Kearney to prohibit sale of all nicotine products to anyone under the age of 21.
“There’s a thing we have in America called liberties,” Alderman Dan Holt said as he began to make a motion. “I really don’t like taking away people’s liberties but in this case it is targeted toward our young people, according to the school,” he said referencing a letter submitted from Superintendent Bill Nicely.
“It’s not as simple as we are going to raise the age,” Holt continued. “There is more to it. I am going to reluctantly, for our kids in our community, after a request from the school, I will make the motion to raise T21. But it comes with trepidation.”
There was a long pause after Holt spoke. Kathy Barger broke the silence with a second. Marie Starner and Gerri Spencer both dissented.
“I truly feel that Tobacco 21 should be addressed at a state level,” Spencer said. “Just because we raise this age in our community, which is a good thing, but now they are going to be going to Ectonville, to Mosby, to Holt. We’ve just put some of these people who still will do this will just be out on our highways driving to do this.”
Echoing the same reason, Steiner said Tobacco 21 will not stop the sale to or use of vaping products by youth and that she did not take her no vote lightly.
After the first motion passed, the question was called for second read, and passed again with Pogue as the tie-breaking vote.