Saying they were demanding little from state legislators other than reducing impediments to economic growth and to continue opposing programs coming from the White House, Americans for Prosperity-Florida and tea party members from across the state gathered at the Capitol on Wednesday for the first of two Patriot Days.
In addition to meeting with legislators in their offices and a dinner at the North Florida Fairgrounds to honor Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, and Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, as 2011 AFP Legislators of the Year, AFP and the tea party groups will hold breakout sessions on economics and freedom throughout the Old Capitol and Capitol on Thursday.
The unique thing about this is that there is not a single person here that is going to go meet with a legislator with his hand out, said AFP-Florida State Director Slade OBrien. Were actually coming up here and telling them to stop spending money. We want them to cut programs. We want the money in our hands because we know how to do it better than they do.
More than 350 attended a rally on the steps of the Historic Old Capitol Wednesday, some with signs proclaiming Judgment Day November 6, 2012 and Obama is still wasting our tax dollars.
Speakers called for smaller government, and free-market reforms in order to revive the economy and create jobs.
A few mingling in the crowd handed out literature declaring President Barack Obama not to be a natural-born American citizen. A couple held up a banner declaring that Florida Welcomes Illegal Aliens.
AFP President Tim Phillips focused on spending by the White House.
This week, in releasing his budget, the president made history. Hes the only president in American history and the only leader in world history to have now put forward four consecutive budget documents with trillion-dollar-plus deficits, Phillips said. This president has piled up more debt in three years than all the presidents from Washington to Clinton.
Jason Hoyt of the Central Florida Tea Party said the event is part of a long process, but one that will allow Americans to avoid having to wake up one day regretting they didnt act.
Im glad the weather is mild now, but were going to be sweating this summer with get-out-the-vote (tactics) and getting the message out. Weve got to take our country back in November, Hoyt said.
The event spurred a statement from Florida Democratic Party spokesman David Bergstein:
"The Tea Party is coming to visit their favorite extremist politician -- Rick Scott. Scott and the GOP-controlled Legislature have shown time and again that they care more about implementing an extreme agenda rather than improving Florida's economy -- moving our state in the wrong direction and forcing our recovery to lag behind the rest of the nation. While Democrats are fighting for middle class families, the Republicans' tea is already leaving a bad taste in the mouth of Florida's critical independent voters."
OBrien asked those on the steps of the Old Capitol if the Democratic Party spoke for them: a resounding answer came No.
Americans for Prosperity Florida events
Historic Old Capitol Building
- 8:30 a.m.: Constitutional refresher.
- 9:20 a.m.: Economic freedom.
- 10:05 a.m.:Fiscal responsibility and regulatory reform, with Patricia Nelson, deputy director of the governors office.
- 10:40 a.m.: Tools for holding local government accountable.
- Stopping Obamacare and protecting your health freedom.
- 11:30 a.m.: Insurance reform with the Heartland Institute.
- 8:30 a.m. noon: Capitol, 22nd Floor: Tea Party breakout sessions.
Reach Jim Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (772) 215-9889.