Tea Party Movement Goes Local

by Sal on May 6, 2009

in Economy,Politics

Since the Tax Day Tea Parties on April 15, there has been much discussion on what to do with the Tea Party movement after the big protest.  Jim Geraghty of National Review’s Campaign Spot suggested that Conservatives get involved and organized at the local level, starting at local city councils and school boards.  Getting 1,000 people to show up at a town council meeting would have real impact, and would begin to push a Conservatism from the bottom up, rather from the top down.  It may be a longer-term strategy, but possibly a more effective one over time.

Yesterday, two local protests were organized by the Tea Party movement.  First, in Knoxville, Tennessee, a Tea Party protest was organized to protest the county assessors office, who was raising property assessments of homes while objective appraisals of the homes showing their property values declining.  So, while property values were declining, property taxes were rising. The protesters organized by the Tea Party were small in number, but it was the first of a larger series of actions planned.

On a much larger scale, in Tucsan, Arizona, the local Tucsan city council was proposing a wide range of tax and fee increases, including a 2% tax on renters.  At the first of a series of three council meetings on the subject, over 1,000 Tea Party Protesters attended the council meeting.  Officials, hearing of the protest beforehand, moved the meeting to a larger venue, but still only able to fit 500, had people waiting and protesting outside.  Many took to the microphones and expressed their opposition to the new taxes and the tax burden of citizens in general.

The Tea Party movement’s effectiveness will be judged by how relevant it stays and how influential it becomes in influencing government policy.  The theory is that by starting out small, at the grassroots local level, it may only affect incremental change for a time, but as time goes on and city council members become state legislators, and those state legislators become Governors,  Senators and Representatives, and Presidents, the country may very well change in a much more organic way (one has to keep in mind that our current President was a mere State Legislator only five years ago).  It remains to be seen how successful this strategy is, but it is a new approach to Conservative organization than what has been tried in the past.

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