Dissatisfied with the current state of political affairs, supporters and members of the Statesboro Tea Party will hold a tax-day rally on the Statesboro Courthouse lawn Monday.
The event, beginning at 5:30 p.m., will provide Tea Party supporters a platform to spread the group’s message and discuss its chief principles.
The group will look to parlay increasing citizen frustration with political figures and recent government action into an increased influence at the polls this November.
“We hope to represent Americans that are disappointed with our representatives, the president and congress,” said Blaine Olmstead, a co-organizer of the Statesboro Tea Party. “What we want to do is educate the public. Our goal is to voice our opinions. We hope more people hear us, choose to stand beside us and be unhappy with wasteful spending and continually rising debt.”
The local forum, said Olmstead, is to address continued concerns by citizens of all political leanings.
“We are coming out as individuals – as Americans; not necessarily Republicans or Democrats,” he said. “We are still very worried about balancing the budget, the size of our government, the free market and personal responsibility. We don’t want people to be satisfied with our government spending money how it wants, instead of how voters want it to.”
According to Olmstead, some members of government are failing to fulfill their promises and duties.
“We elect officials to be our voice; they are responsible for that,” he said. “But time and time again, they vote according to what their party says and not what their constituents want. We will be out there expressing our opinions because it is one thing we still have the ability to do.”
The tax day rally – tax day is the deadline for income returns to be filed with the federal government – will feature six keynote speakers, including Statesboro City Councilman Travis Chance and Carol Porter of Dublin, who was a Democratic candidate last year for lieutenant governor in Georgia.
Speakers will discuss a range of topics including healthcare reform and fiscal responsibility.
“I feel it is important to speak because this party is a just a group of concerned citizens. They don’t have a third-party spokesman,” said Chance. “This is a group of citizens that are simply fed up with fiscal irresponsibility and the lack of government accountability. I really feel like it is important that they are recognized.”
“I truly believe we have turned a corner in this country,” he said. “I believe that citizens are now realizing that it is time to start holding accountable the politicians making empty promises.”
Chance will discuss irresponsible spending, a lack of government accountability, and ask the group take a more prominent place in politics, he said.
“I am going to continue to urge those citizens to take an active role in government. Otherwise, the status quo will continue to exist.”
Porter will deliver a message about fighting corruption and protecting the middle class, she said.
“Our politicians are taking advantage by telling us one thing and doing another,” said Porter. “I want to shed light on what is happening in state politics; about how our taxes are being mismanaged.”
“I am a small business owner,” she said. “I see first-hand what is happening to small businesses in this state and I am sick and tired of what is going on. Decisions are being made that are hurt the middle class. Citizens know that and want to hear about specific ways in which it is happening.”
She also will encourage increased participation in government.
“I would like to get people more engaged with the system, particularly in state and local politics, because changes can really be made on that level, she said.”
Monday’s courthouse rally is scheduled to conclude at 7:30 p.m.
The event will feature a dunking booth – to “dunk the debt” – and supporters will distribute free pocket Constitutions, said Olmstead.
“We hope it is going to be a fun time,” he said. “We want people to connect with the TEA Party.”
Jeff Harrison can be reached at (912) 489-9454