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Local Tea Party surges in interest
More than 260 attend meeting
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Dawson County Tea Party organizers say they were not surprised by the high attendance at last week’s meeting.


“People are fed up,” said Vernon Smith, who sits on the group’s board of directors.


About 268 people from across the state were at the Aug. 17 meeting held at the Lakeview Center.


President Bobbie Blackburn said the majority of those attending were from Dawson County and the surrounding area.


“We thought maybe we’d have double the number this time, but we ended up with 268 in attendance,” she said. About 100 people attended the inaugural meeting in July.


Smith said there was also a couple from Ohio at the meeting.


“They were here from Ohio looking into starting a Tea Party up there,” Smith said.


The Tea Party movement, which emerged last year following a string of protests on taxes, is a grassroots reaction that focuses on individual freedom, smaller government and upholding the Constitution.


Cited as a nonpartisan group, much of the tea party’s latest efforts focus on opposition to President Barack Obama’s healthcare plan and administrative appointments.


Last week’s guest speaker was Tony Orta, a naturalized American citizen who fled Cuba at the age of 16 to escape Fidel Castro’s regime.


“He told us that how Cuba changed with the nationalization of the banks and with healthcare is exactly what is happening here,” Smith said. “There’s only one way to stop that, and that’s to get out and vote.”


The next meeting will be at 7 p.m. Sept. 14 at the Lakeview Center.


For more information, call (706) 216-1022.