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Dear Editor:

    I am an 18-year-old girl who lives in Washington County.  I am writing this letter because I am very concerned about the gambling issue that has come up in Washington county.  I would like to start out by saying that I love Washington with all of my heart.  I have lived here all of my life.  I have enjoyed playing in the parks as a child, learning to ride my bike on our quiet streets, and being able to walk around the square without being afraid, because this is Washington--quiet, peaceful Washington where family values mean everything.  Washington is a town where we, the youth, learn family values, learn to get along with our neighbors, learn personal responsibility, and learn the value of keeping a good, moral, clean, respectful, and peaceful community.  Washington is a town where we young people grow up working hard on farms and local businesses, go off to college and then come back to farm, own a business, or work somewhere in Washington to keep Washington a prosperous community.  The majority of us youth in Washington have a great work ethic and are willing to work hard to make our own way in life.

    Are we ready for all this to change?  Are we ready for the young people in this community to be introduced to gambling?  Many ambitious young people will begin gambling away the money that we would otherwise be saving for college, marriage and home.  Many of you adults may think that this is a great opportunity for Washington, but will you please stop and consider the costs?  What are your children worth to you?  What are all of us youth in Washington worth to you?  Are a few extra dollars in your pocket worth the destruction of many of us young people who will become addicted to gambling?  Are you ready for our quiet city known as Washington--city of flowers and trees to be changed to Washington--city of bars, pawnshops, and casinos?

    You have had a chance to raise your families in a quiet, peaceful town, now will you please pass down that wonderful heritage to us?  I know that many young people don't get involved in issues like this, because we trust the adults to make the decisions, but I am standing up because I am afraid that Washington is about to make a tragic mistake that will cost you the most precious thing in the world--your children.  I believe in fighting for something that I hold dear, and that is a chance to raise my own children someday in this town and [have] it still be the same quiet, peaceful town that I was raised in.  It would break my heart to have to leave Washington County and seek a place to raise my family in the kind of town I once had before gambling took over.  Please, stop and think about what you are doing.  Please, for the sake of us young people keep Washington the wonderful, all-American, town that she is.  Please vote NO on Aug. 31 if for no other reason than for the sake of us, the youth of Washington--the future of Washington.

Sincerely,

Rachel Brown

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