“I wanted to see for myself.”

Posted: March 31, 2010 by datechguy in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

The Back room at the Border Grille & Bar was full. The waitstaff was working diligently to keep up with the crowd that spilled into the upstairs section filling up the place on a Monday night when restaurants are hard pressed to get people in the door.

Just a few months ago the closest thing to a political meeting the place had seen was Stacy McCain holding court with American Glob and Left Bank of the Charles at the Charles at the bar four days before the January Election.

Brown supporters ate there that weekend and on the 19th the back room was filled not with Football fans but with citizens following the game of politics.

The next month some of those people had returned reserving the room for the first Twin City Tea Party meeting. Neither the organizers nor the restaurant knew what the draw would be. The 40 people who came kept the waitstaff on their toes.

Now one month later the crowd has doubled. At the height of the evening people stood lined up in front of the lunch buffet area as candidates for office and tea party organizers spoke about what was going on.

There were familiar faces in the crowd, some had protested in front of Representative Olver’s office two weeks ago. Several faces from the Conservative Forum of the commonwealth were there.

But most were new, people who had heard about the meeting from a friend or who, as the patriots of old, had seen a handbill at a location and were drawn to see what they could see.

Richard Chambers had seen the handbill at a gym and came down. He didn’t necessarily disprove of the healthcare bill but thought the method of passage was a disgrace.

The bill and the methods used to pass it were certainly the catalyst for many there. Mike and Kathy Holland were also new, they wanted to see for themselves what the tea party looked like. They found it totally opposite of what the media had portrayed it as.

Both the media and the government took their lumps among attendees. The idea that Government was out of control was a common theme. Scott Houle who had been involved in republican politics on the local level seeing the crowd that gathered commentated he was surprised it took this long for people to get angry.

Justin Brooks then took the stage welcoming the still growing crowd. He urged them not to let the passage of obamacare “take the wind out of our sails”. When he asked for a show of hands as to how many people had volunteered for Scott Brown a wave of digits filled the air. He pointed to the 3rd and 5th congressional districts as places where supporters of Obamacare were being challenged and expressed regret that a viable candidate had yet to challenge Rep Olver. He then gave the stage over to candidates and speakers.

Several candidates and/or their representatives came to the stage. It was an opportunity to meet energized votes and get signatures on nomination papers. Some like state auditor candidate Mary Connaughton had a person speak for her. Others like Kamal Jain, Lew Evangelidis and Jennie (Jane) Caisste made their case personally. Jain in particular made a strong case about the need for transparency and how important it was for people outside the system to see the books.

…yet he expressed that it was actually a better thing for the tea parties to remain independent.

The office seekers there were for positions that are not considered glamorous. State Auditor, Worcester County Sheriff, Governor’s Counsel (they vet judges) , but in each case the candidates pointed out the functions of the office and the reason why it is important. All fielded questions from the inquisitive crowd.

When the candidates were done Ken Mandile of the Worcester Tea Party came to the stage. He talked about the need to focus on local races to build a farm system and stressed, from his successful experience in organizing events in Worcester, keeping people the focus of the tea party events.

At the time he took the stage the crowd was at its peak (86). Although he had a lot of practical experience, his long disorganized presentation started to thin the crowd and his attack on Sarah Palin and the Tea Party express brought grimaces to many faces there.

Justin retook the stage and closed with a bit of brainstorming on how to keep momentum and interest alive though November before adjourning.

It was a strong second showing and experience would certainly lead to improvement, but would March 29th be the high water mark or another step toward the summit of change for the Twin City Tea Party? That question will be answered next month by those 40 new faces that came to see for themselves.

  1. Justin Brooks says:

    Hey Pete,

    Nice article and it was nice talking with you after the event.

    The Sarah Palin issue has been hotly contested in Tea Party circles. Her message is on par with many of the Tea Party beliefs, but the fact that the Tea Parties do not want to nationalize or actively support a candidate is tough for some to digest. On a personal note, I like her, but I feel it is important to recognize that she is not the nucleus behind the Tea Parties… the people in each community is.

    I hope you enjoyed visiting our event. We are working diligently to get things prepped for our upcoming events in April.

    Justin Brooks

  2. Ben says:

    Thanks for the rundown and all the videos. It’s good to see this kind of enthusiasm in other parts of the state!

    I’ve heard Kamal Jain speak at Tea Party events for years now. I think his race is the most important statewide race for fiscal conservatism this year (that’s why I’m volunteering for him). He is the only candidate in either party who wants to put every penny of state spending on the web, fully searchable. Progressives love “open source government,” yet none of the Democrats running for Auditor want to bring the office into the 21st century. Thirty-one states already have their budget on some sort of online database. It’s common sense – only in Massachusetts is this considered a radical reform.

  3. […] There are too many eyewitnesses for them to succeed. […]