by David Tesitor and Clint Boehler
WALSENBURG- On April 17, two days after millions of Americans filed their income tax returns, the Huerfano County Tea Party gathered on the steps of the courthouse to express their opposition to the taxes imposed upon the citizens of the country and express their views about the political environment of the country. . This gathering was not a protest demonstration, rather it was a rally to support the Constitution and allow people to voice their concerns about the current political issues, taxes, intervention of rights, and any other governmental intrusion that seems contrary to the Constitution.
Several people had a chance to voice their opinions, some radical in nature and others expressing a desire to go back to the way things used to be. According to Dick Chenault, Huerfano County Republican Party Chairperson, “The Tea Party movement is a way for people to express their views whether we agree with them or not. It is a chance for the people to speak out.” Among those having a voice Saturday included Frank Kuncis, Bruce Kettler, Gary Baldwin and Mike Phebus.
A crowd of between 80 to 90 people gathered for the event. Members of both of the major parties attended, some curious and others to make a point. Central to the theme was a patriotic flair as dozens of flag-carrying men, women and children voiced their opinions, waved to the passer-bys and held signs expressing a desire for change. While there are no cases of English tea at these gatherings, some people attach a tea bag to their cap or hair as a symbol of the original meaning. One would hope it is Lipton and not imported Earl Grey. People from all over southern Colorado attended, including the mayors of Aguilar, Hoehne, Trinidad, Stonewall, Colorado City and Pueblo.
The Tea Party movement is a bi-partisan effort formed from both sides of the political arena. They claim to be more central in their philosophies and the candidates they want to support, far removed from the far left or far right. Many of the supporters are Republicans, however, it is common knowledge that Tea Parties, here and nationwide, are interparty affairs and open to anyone of any party, even those without a party affiliation. Anyone who feels government has gone overboard with interdiction into personal lives and finances can feel comfortable with this group.
Tea Parties from all across the state, including Huerfano County, have endorsed candidate Dan Maes in the governor’s race and Ken Buck for the Senate.
While it is widely accepted the country could never fully embrace a third party, members of the primary parties have taken notice of this latest grass-roots movement.