Hundreds of Tea Party activists gather at Legislature |

Hundreds of Tea Party activists gather at Legislature

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

More than 500 Tea Party activists gathered in the quad between the Capitol and Legislature Thursday for their second annual tax day protest – one of hundreds of similar gatherings across the country.

The Capitol protest drew more than a dozen candidates, including Gov. Jim Gibbons and U.S. Senate contenders including Sue Lowden and John Chachas.

“We’re the only special interest group that matters,” said Debbie Landis, president of Anger is Brewing. “Taxpayers should be the only special interest group that counts in Washington, D.C.”

Gibbons thanked the crowd for joining him “to celebrate aversion to taxes.”

“All of you are speaking out about a government that has not listened to you for many years,” he said. “It’s time to take our government back. It’s time to fire Harry Reid.”

“I’m asking all of you to give me four more years to fight off bigger government.”

Chachas was applauded for helping make the event possible. He paid the $3,000 for liability insurance for the protest.

Chachas said that, as a businessman who rescues financially troubled companies, he is best equipped to shrink government. He said if elected to the Senate he would freeze remaining stimulus money, halt the growth of the federal government and begin a program of reducing government spending every year.

“Businesses do it all day long. Families do it all day long,” he said. 

Chachas said the problem is there are 535 people in Washington whose sole goal is to stay there.

He said Reid is a prime example of what’s wrong with Washington.

Chachas said after his speech his concern is that the different groups at the protest could re-elect Reid if, after the primary, they all pull in different directions instead of uniting behind a candidate who can win.

“I care a lot more about it not being him there than I care about it being me,” he said.

Lowden told the crowd she is a “business woman who makes the tough decisions every day.” She said she would cut corporate taxes to bring companies back to the U.S.

“Let’s empower the private sector instead of what’s going on now,” she said. “Reid, the most powerful man Nevada has ever had in Washington, is not going back to Washington in November.”

Gary Schmit, who is running for the Senate in a Washoe district that includes part of Storey and Lyon counties,  said the nation has “got to get a rational, reasonable government that represents the people.”

And he charged that “It is really the Republicans that destroyed and set up Nevada for the worst (economic) bubble. They’ve driven the economic engine off the cliff.”

Senate Republican candidate Gary Parson said he believes in citizen legislators who represent their constituents, “and then they go home.” Reid, he said, has been in Washington since 1987 and it’s time he went home.

The crowd, on a work day, was largely seniors. Last year more than 3,000 people joined in the first tax day protest. This year’s gathering police estimated at 500 to 600 people.

The event was peaceful, as was the progressive TEA party demonstration across the street. Organizers of the large anti-tax protest invited the two dozen or so progressives to join them on the legislative grounds.

“Somewhere between the party of no and the party of yes are solutions,” Landis told them.

Several counter-protesters, including Bob Fulkerson, director of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, did so.


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