Willard White displays the Gadsden flag during a Moffat County tea party tax day protest Thursday in front of the Moffat County Courthouse. Supporters came from as far as Meeker to attend the event.

Photo by Shawn McHugh

Willard White displays the Gadsden flag during a Moffat County tea party tax day protest Thursday in front of the Moffat County Courthouse. Supporters came from as far as Meeker to attend the event.

Tea party supporters gather to 'take America back'


The usually neat lawn outside the Moffat County Courthouse was trampled with the feet of about 200 residents Thursday during the Moffat County tea party tax day protest.

Protestors waved signs reading “Born free but taxed to death,” “Keep your Koolaid, I drink tea,” and “You can’t fix stupid, but you can vote them out.”

Standing on a curb, some protesters waved and encouraged passing cars on Victory Way to honk in support.

During speeches from tea party organizers, the phrases “reduced spending,” “fight for our freedoms” and “uphold the Constitution,” were meet with support and applause from the American flag-wielding crowd.

But among the crowd of vocal protesters sat the relatively reserved Lynn Bower, a retired U.S. Marine Corps sergeant who served nine years during the Vietnam War.

Bower, clad in a leather Marine jacket, said he was proud to see the rights he fought for in Vietnam being exercised by the crowd of protestors.

He said he attended the rally to stand up for his rights and because, “I’m a patriot, I love my country, and I love Moffat County.”

Frank Archuleta, 18, received a prize for being the youngest registered voter in the crowd and, like Bower, he felt he needed to exercise his democratic rights by attending the rally.

“A lot of the stuff they are saying is true,” he said. “(Attending the rally) is a good thing because it will show our government that the people care about what the government does.”

The rally started with a speech from former county commissioner Darryl Steele who said that at the very least, the tea party is getting legislators’ attention.

He went on to say that it’s important for voters to “work hard to elect the right people to represent us.”

“There are two things that an elected official has to have. … They have to be morally sound and fiscally responsible,” Steele said.

Tea party member Matt Winey spoke after Steele and addressed what the tea party is and what the organization stands for. He said that despite public perception, the tea party is not a lawless group, and they are not racist, violent or ignorant.

Rather, he said, the party stands in support of the U.S. Constitution and voices the message of fiscal responsibility and limited government.

“What we are is a bunch of Americans who want our country back,” he said during his speech.

Cari Hermacinski, a radio personality on 55 Country and Steamboat Springs City Council president, addressed the crowd.

Hermacinski said there has been an erosion of common sense in the government. She went on to address the national debt and the recently passed health care bill.

“This movement is a force to be reckoned with because the door to take back our country is wide open,” she said.

She also addressed the issue of voting for candidates who represent the people and said, “We must elect officials who will serve us, not lord over us.”

Rick Barnes, another tea party member, spoke to the crowd about the importance of local involvement in politics.

He said in order to make a difference in Washington, D.C., “It starts here, in our community and in front of our courthouse.”

“We can’t afford any more jobs losses, and we can’t afford any more taxes,” he said.

Barnes went on to say tea party participation doesn’t end after voting, but that voting for “the right officials is the very beginning” to “holding them responsible.”

Moffat County Commissioner Audrey Danner attended the event.

“I’m here to listen,” Danner said.

“This is very important to hear what everyone has to say. I just spoke with someone who said, ‘We need to get back to the basics,’ and I said ‘What are the basics?’

“‘Balancing the budget’ is what they told me, (and) ‘Standing up for American freedoms,’ and I believe in that.”

Winey said during his speech that it is not enough to simply attend the tea party protest but the that message should be carried forward.

“Tax day is over, but we are just beginning,” he said.


native_craig_guy 7 years ago

I attended the Tea Party yesterday afternoon and I was not impressed. I have been following the progress of the Tea Party on their website and the national news for quite a while now and I was a little disappointed with my first rally experience. I have a unique political approach that is deeply rooted in what some would call conservative values, so there are many issues that I align with the Tea Party. The one thing that I get sick and tired of hearing from the Republicans and now the Tea Party is incessant ranting about God. I do not care to be evangelized by a political party, I believe that the Tea Party would have a better chance of reaching a broader audience if they toned down the "God Speak" in their content. While I can appreciate their religious views I do not understand their constant need for self affirmation in their beliefs. A political party does not have to be an extension of the local Christian church. I just had higher hopes for the Tea Party in that maybe they were a refreshing new twist on the Republican Party, but sadly it appears as if they are just a smaller, angrier clone that I fear is going to accomplish nothing but to split up the republican voters and cause another Democratic win in 2012.


justthefacts 7 years ago

Audrey Danner a Patroit?? Right!!!

Fact: You must stop talking before you can listen.

Fact: Ms. Danner did not have a chance to listen at the rally, too busy with the campaign.

Fact: Audrey Danner wants to know what the basics are.

The Commissioner must have missed picking up one of the free copies of the U.S. Constitution that was available at the rally. (The basics are right there.)

Fact: The Commissioner thinks that representative government is where most of us follow the leader, because that leader knows where we should be going, and the rest don't have a clue. ( Baa, Baa, Baa.)

Fact: Audrey Danner said that all officals know about the Hatch act.

Fact: Audrey Danner said that she knew nothing about the Hatch act until a concerned citizen raised issues to the County Attorney.

Which fact is fact?

Just The Facts


P51 7 years ago

Hey, great to see all the tea baggers I mean tea party friends out in full force. I was there and I got to chat with some old friends. Most of them said that they felt disenfranchised and they don't like it. And they were upset that Bush messed up the economy. And we talked about the new guy coming to take our guns. But, well we are still waiting but we know someday...... And we also discussed how we don't carry any extra baggage like: FACTS! As you know we have always been unburdened by such things. And I talked to a psychologist at the protest who said "maybe you are paranoid" or some other psycho stuff. I said no! they are taking stuff away from us and we want it back. So let's get it back. Then that dumb psychologist said "If you want to get out of a hole stop digging. What?


jamcolo 7 years ago

I could not make it to the Tea Party. I had to work.Bummer. First thing I like to bring up is, what happened for the Democrats to win in the last election?

I agree with native_craig_guy for much of it. In the Bush years all they cared about was gay marriage,stem cells, abortions and giving the rich a tax break.

Next these Tea Parties all talk of wanting a balanced budget.Can't help but laugh at that. Look at the last 10 presidents and you will find only two that ever had a Federal balanced budget. Presidents Carter and Presidents Clinton would be the two and they are both Democrats.


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