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Tea Party movement meets in Bradford - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Tea Party movement meets in Bradford

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June 27, 2010 - Bradford, Vermont

The Tea Party movement has picked up headlines across the country. From Nevada to Kentucky, Tea Party activists have shaken the political establishment this election season - for Democrats and Republicans alike.

"This is the year that we need to flip this house both in Montpelier and in Washington D.C. -- to take our country back," said Peg Coutermarsh, a Vermont Tea Party activist.  She said she organized Sunday's BBQ in Bradford primarily for personal reasons. She wanted to hear what the Republican candidates had to offer and whether it fits with her conservative, Tea Party leanings.

"It is people coming together to say that we don't like the direction of our country, and we're going to take our country back. We're going back to the U.S. Constitution." Coutermarsh said.

Because there are no Tea Party candidates in Vermont, that leaves Republicans considering whether to widen their political tent. A handful turned up to show their solidarity.

John Mitchell, Republican for U.S. Congress said, "I am in favor of less spending, less taxes and less regulation."

"I like talking to these folks because they've got a lot of the same concerns I do about a bloated federal government," said Len Britton, a Republican for U.S. Senate.

The Tea Party movement first came on the scene two years ago -- the Federal bailout, the stimulus package and health care reform are tops on their list of grievances.

"At tea parties you will find Democrats, Republicans, Independents. You will find Constitutionalists. You will find all sorts of people that come and we might not agree on every single point, but we're there to hear each others viewpoint and to find a way where we do come together," said Selena Owens, a Tea Party Express organizer that travelled to attend the picnic from Silver Spring, Maryland.

In Vermont, the Tea Party has tended to be more low key. A recent Rasmussen poll found Vermont along with North Dakota and Hawaii had the least number of people that affiliated with the movement.

Alexei Rubenstein: "When your talking about a state like Vermont that's considered liberal, in fact almost socialist by many people around the country, doesn't it feel like your kind of swimming up river?"

Peg Coutermarsh: "It's a challenge, but believe it or not, there are more people here than you think that are upset with the way things are going."

Folks attending the BBQ had a variety of reasons for coming.

"I would hope the Republicans would change. They need to hear the Tea Party. And they're just as bad as the Democrats," said Neil Randall of Bradford.

"Get answers from everybody. See what they come up with. Hoping for some change," said Mickey Appleton of W. Topsham.

Alexei Rubenstein  - WCAX News

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