Tea Party Attendance Down at Chukchansi Park
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Political activists fed up with the government rallied at Chukchansi Park. It was the second year in a row for the Central Valley Tea Party. However, there are several challenges facing the movements growth.
About 3,800 people showed up Saturday. That's significantly less than last year when 7,000 people participated in the event at the Savemart Center.
Organizers said Big Hat Days in Clovis drove down attendance here. Despite the setback Tea Party members said their message is growing.
Instead of the usual Grizzle orange and black that fill up Chukchansi Park, Tea Party patriots from all over the Valley donned red white and blue during the second annual Tax Time Tea Party. Albert Kiser from Coarsegold said: "We want jobs. We don't want a health care system that's going to break the country."
Fresno's David Purvis said: "Until we start cooperating- the government and the private sector, we're gonna destroy our communities."
California congressmen Tom McClintock and Devin Nunes were headline speakers at Saturday's gathering. Organizers spent $20,000 to rent out Chukchansi Park. The money was raised from private donations, aspiring politicians who paid $200 to have a booth at the park.
"Represents the non-party voice. This is America speaking. They're not totally tied to one party and this is exciting," said Tom Marsella who is running for the 14th state Senate seat. However critics of this movement claim no real solutions have been presented.
Central Valley Tea Party leaders said that is not true. Jared Gordon: "We think with the ingenuity and the innovativeness of the people we'll get right back on track as long as the government stops interfering with the free market and society."
Tea party members believe in limited government, limited taxes and free market. But what they're having trouble finding is someone to elect to implement those ideals.
Purvis: "I'll tell you what my wife and I are going to do. We're going to take every single candidate and study them." Kevin Melton from Sqaw Valley said: "I'm just standing and being counted. I don't know what's going to happen."
Organizers said officially they do not endorse candidates, they ask candidates to endorse their ideas. The next large event for the Tea Party in the Valley will be July 4th at the Tulare Ag Center.
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