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‘It’s time to roll up your sleeves and Go to work’
National Tea Party group’s founders spread message locallyJenny Beth Martin, cofounder of the National Tea Party Patriots, had a homework assignment for a crowd of Klamath Basin residents who gathered Sunday to hear her speak at the Triad School in Klamath Falls.
Vote. But don’t stop there.“Make a list of 10 people you believe share your values,” Martin told the crowd, “and get them to vote.”
Martin and Mark Meckler, another Tea Party Patriots founder, came to Klamath Falls as part of a 36-city tour to rally voters ahead of the Nov. 2 election. The local Tea Party group, Klamath County Patriots, sponsored the event.About 150 people from around the Klamath Basin came to hear the pair speak.
Among them was Randall Harris, 41, who expressed excitement over the visit.“It makes me kind of proud to know that Klamath Falls is on the conservative map, so to speak,” Harris said.
‘We have lost track’Martin and Meckler each addressed the crowd for about 20 minutes, sharing the values that have made the Tea Party a political force since 2009.
Martin outlined three principles that Tea Party members across the country hold: understanding America’s core values, knowing what liberty means and reading the Constitution.She also told the crowd that many politicians abandon those principles after spending time in Washington, D.C. “We have lost track of those values,” she said.
Martin and Meckler took turns blasting the Obama administration’s policies, including its passage of national health care reform and the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.“We’re sick of the government creeping into every aspect of our lives,” Martin said. “We have to stick to our values and principles.”
Rallying the voteMeckler said the unique thing about the Tea Party was its membership, describing members as “good conservatives frustrated by government run amok.”
“ We’re just regular people, people that got fed up,” Meckler said.He told the crowd he got involved with the Tea Party because he was concerned with the high national debt — estimated around $13.6 trillion.
He said every adult owed it to the next generation to get active and vote for conservative political candidates who would restore fiscal responsibility to the government.“We have an obligation to leave our kids at least as good a country as our parents left to us,” he said. “We’re failing in that obligation.”
The two said they came to Klamath Falls to rally Oregon voters around conservative candidates. Martin told the crowd that merely voting would not be enough to create the kind of change the movement was looking for.She said each member of the crowd would have to rally others around their beliefs, to create the kind of movement that could carry through 2012 and beyond.
“I’m asking you to get outside of your comfort zone,” she told the crowd. “It’s time to roll up your sleeves and go to work.”Leaving the rally Sunday, Naomi Winter, 55, of Klamath Falls, said she got the message loud and clear.
“Listening to them definitely made me want to help out the movement,” she said. “I think it’s so important to get our country back on track.”
Sidebar: About the Tea Party
In the past 21 months, the Tea Party has transformed from a loose collection of grassroots rallies to a national political network, spreading conservative messages at large events around the country.
The tea party concept draws its inspiration from the Boston Tea Party of 1773, protesting excessive taxation from the British government.
The roots of the modern Tea Party can be traced to February 27, 2009. Loose coalitions of conservatives gathered to protest the Troubled Assets Relief Program and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed into law by presidents George W Bush and Barack Obama, respectively.
Today 2800 Tea Party groups around the country claim more than 1 million members, organizers say.
Page Updated: Wednesday October 27, 2010 01:44 AM Pacific
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