Taxes, government spending, voter apathy and overall dissatisfaction with the status quo were among the topics addressed at a ‘Tea Party’ gathering last Wednesday at the Glenwood American Legion Hall. The meeting was the first of its kind in Mills County and attracted a crowd of nearly 100 people.
Organizer John Scherle of Henderson said the meeting was bipartisan and would serve as a forum for Mills County residents who are concerned about government spending and the need for fiscal responsibility at all levels of government.
“This is a mess. This level of spending cannot be sustained,” Scherle said, noting his concern for the deficit that will be left behind for future generations of Americans. “It’s going to take cutting people and cutting programs.
“This is screwed up. I don’t have the patience for it.”
Scherle stressed the need to hold candidates and elected officials accountable, noting that overspending is taking place at the local, state and federal levels of government.
“This goes for our courthouse and our school boards,” he said.
Audience members took turns sharing their concerns on a variety of issues, including dissatisfaction with elected officials in both the Democratic and Republican Parties.
Bill McDuffy said he’s taken the time to voice his concerns in writing to U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley and U.S. Rep. Steve King.
“Not one of them says what they’re going to do,” McDuffy said. “All they say is, ‘Yes, we agree and can you send more money to the Republican Party.’”
Bill Kennard said grass-roots efforts like the “Tea Party” movement can be effective.
“Maybe you’ve heard that you can’t beat the city council. You can,” he said. “Maybe you’ve heard that you can’t beat Obama and the Democrats. Don’t believe it, we can.”
Jim Kearney also spoke on the potential impact of grass-roots politics.
“We are the rocks that are the start of the avalanche,” Kearney said.
Scherle said similar meetings will be scheduled in the future.
“Our first meeting was to let people talk and get a feel for the direction the group wants to go and establish clearer goals,” Scherle said. “The next meeting will be to get some actual plans in action for inviting candidates to address the group and other activities.”
Although the meeting was billed as a “Tea Party,” Scherle said the group isn’t formally affiliated with the national Tea Party movement.
“It’s a group of Mills County citizens who are concerned about the direction of government and who want to talk directly to candidates and government officials to see what their plans are to fix it and return to fiscal responsibility and sanity,” Scherle said.