The crowd at Saturday’s event included state Sen. Frank Antenori (behind man with headphones) and former state senator and current Congressional District 8 GOP candidate Jonathan Paton (under sign, in sport coat).
By Robert E. Kimball, for the Nogales International
Published: Tuesday, March 30, 2010 9:52 AM MST
More than 400 people turned out Saturday for a packed-house tea party rally in Sonoita, where attendees and keynote speaker Tom Tancredo, former Republican presidential candidate and U.S. representative from Colorado, raised their voices against big government and the policies of the Obama Administration.
The majority in attendance were older, and some carried signs bearing slogans like “Change 2012,” “No amnesty” and “One pissed off voter.”
Mike Wystrach, who owns the Steak Out Restaurant, Sonoita Mercantile and the Sonoita Inn, said he came to the event frustrated with high business taxes.
“Additional tax increases that are sure to come as a result of ObamaCare and the huge deficits the federal government is incurring will bankrupt many businesses and eventually the country,” Wystrach said. “It’s already happening in Europe with Greece, Spain and Portugal.”
During his address, Tancredo echoed comments he made at February’s National Tea Party Convention in Nashville, calling Obama a committed Socialist ideologue who was elected by people who could not spell “vote” or say it in English.
Tancredo told the Sonoita audience that the best thing to happen in the last 50 years was that John McCain didn’t win the 2008 presidential election. Had McCain won, he would have done much of what Obama is doing, only much more slowly, he said.
The fact that Obama has moved so fast, so far to the left and spent so much money is the wake-up call fueling the tea party movement, Tancredo said.
State Sen. Frank Antenori, whose area includes Sonoita, Patagonia, Elgin, Green Valley and Sahuarita, told the attendees that House Bill 2001, up for vote in the Arizona House on Wednesday, would give Gov. Janet Brewer the authority and the funds to hire outside counsel to sue the federal government to block recently passed health care reform.
“We have the votes to pass this and we hope to get Ken Starr,” Antenori said, in reference to the former special prosecutor hired to investigate President Clinton.
A tea party volunteer at the door said 440 people attended Saturday’s event at Pioneer Hall on the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds.
The movement takes its name from the Boston Tea Party in 1773, when colonists dumped tea off English ships to protest what they considered unfair taxation by the British.