As most of you are aware, each year I host 50 town halls spanning the 32 counties in the Third Congressional District. These have long been one of my favorite traditions. I begin each meeting with a brief introduction and an update of current legislation under consideration in Washington as well as other hot button issues of the day. I then open it up to questions and comments from the people attending.
I began my town halls for this year in February, with another round in April. I was happily surprised to see that the attendance and involvement of the people in these 2009 town halls has dramatically increased over previous years. An example would be the record turnout in Cimarron County with 51 attendees at the Boise City town hall on April 6th.
Of those 51, about a quarter of them came prepared- with bags of tea. This year, to mark income tax day, rallies were held across the country to protest the massive tax increases proposed by Speaker Pelosi and her majority party in Congress. We were still a little over a week away from the dreaded tax day, but Cimarron County was ready to send a message to Congress: enough is enough. Each tea bag that was presented to me had a message written on them. All of the messages were firm but polite: “Uncle Sam, get your hand out of my pocket” or “Stop dumping debt on my children.”
I have to say I was very impressed and even encouraged by their actions. With these tea bags, the citizens of Cimarron County were exercising their constitutional right to stand up to the government and demand a change.
They were not alone, across the country, thousands of rallies were being held- in fact, the rally in Oklahoma City was estimated to have over 5,000 people in attendance. Inspired by our founding fathers’ defiant stance against the British monarchy’s “taxation without representation,” the TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Bag Movement gave the American people a chance to demand their government stop dumping trillions of dollars in debt in the laps of their children and grandchildren. I can confidently predict that this is just the beginning of a movement right in the heart of real America.
Americans are tired of a federal government that tells them they can spend their money better; of a federal government that takes without regarding the citizens’ input; a federal government that is spending away their children’s money before they even have a chance to earn it. Let’s hope these tea parties will wake up those members of Congress who have forgotten that fiscal responsibility is the key to a successful economy.
Frank Lucas represents Oklahoma’s Third Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. For more Frankly Speakings, please visit Rep. Lucas’ Blog at http://www.house.gov/lucas/frankly-speaking/index.shtml.