By Don Heinzman
ECM Editorial Writer
As the Congress and the Minnesota Legislature continue to put party priorities ahead of what’s best for the state and country, people are searching for a political party that will make governing work on their behalf. Some are turning to the Tea Party.
The Tea Party, which was organized in 2009, is influencing United States and state policies.
In Minnesota, conservative Tea Party members backed Republican Tom Emmer for governor and are credited for helping to elect Republicans who surprisingly captured majorities in both state houses.
The national Tea Party and to some extent the state organization has propelled 6th District Congresswoman Michele Bachmann to the national stage. Her appeal for having a smaller government and less spending is making her a serious presidential contender.
While it appears the state organization, North Star Tea Party Patriots in Minnesota, lacks numbers and is not as well organized as major political parties, they are gaining a foothold on Minnesota politics and thinking.
There are Tea Parties organized at county levels such as in Mille Lacs and Wright counties. They also are organized in Fridley, Minnetonka, Edina, Arden Hills and South St. Paul.
A meeting of Tea Party members in the 5th Congressional District is scheduled for Sept. 13 in the Hopkins Library.
These groups meet regularly, are open to the public and are willing to discuss their main topics of fiscal responsibility, a constitutionally limited government and free markets.
One such group is the 56 Club that meets every Tuesday at 6 p.m. in Eagan. Claiming to be an entity of its own, a spokesperson says they have attracted Republican and Democrat members. The club sponsors talks, workshops and seminars.
A spokesman for the North Star Tea Party Patriots say they are not a political party, have little campaign money and buy no advertising
Political observers agree that on the surface, the Minnesota Tea Party is credited for having more power than its numbers suggest. A state rally last spring attracted 200 people.
One political observer noted that this suggests that in Minnesota, the Tea Party is more integrated into the Republican Party organization.
Walter Hudson, co-founder of the North Star Tea Party Patriots and a political commentator, expressed disappointment over the state’s compromise budget, and is urging Tea Partiers to fight harder during the next election to elect more conservatives.
“The future of the movement,” he speculated, “is to be state’s rights and the importance of restoring and maintaining the distribution of power which the U.S. Constitution established.”
While espousing conservative principles, the Tea Party cannot be taken lightly. In the words of one observer: Few can dispute that the Tea Partiers have altered the political landscape and turned business as usual in Washington on its head.