INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – In the largest turnout yet, approximately 6,000 people traveled to the fairgrounds to participate in the Indian River Tea Party Rally.
“We love America, don’t we?” asked Master of Ceremonies John Moore, eliciting cheers and whistles from the crowd.
It was for that reason that Bonnie Kidder attended the Tea Party Rally – to feel the same love for the country.
“It’s a reaffirmation,” Kidder said of being united, standing with others who feel as she does. “I feel this country is worth fighting for.”
Many in the audience came out to hear from recently elected US Senator Marco Rubio, who was welcomed with a standing ovation. He joked that this was the largest crowd he’s spoken in front of since Election Day – that, in Congress, you only speak to yourself because it’s empty.
“I’m proud to be here with you,” Sen. Rubio said.
He called on the audience to fight for America – to keep it the exceptional national it is.
“That wasn’t an accident,” he said of the country being a beacon for the rest of the world – it took past generations to confront the challenges they faced, head-on without delay.
“We are facing the same challenges,” Sen. Rubio said. “And we’re running out of time.”
He explained to the crowd that the nation’s financial house is not in order and time is running out to deal with the deficit spending.
“Too many people are willing to win the election, even at the expense of the future,” Sen. Rubio said, adding that the leaders of both parties – Republican and Democrat – need to re-prioritize. “Isn’t our country more important than the next campaign?” he asked.
“We know what needs to be done,” Sen. Rubio told the crowd.
“Then do it!” shouted a man from the audience.
The Senator laid out what he believes his fellow legislators need to do – lower taxes on capital gains, streamline regulations and limit those that create undo burdens on business, repeal Obamacare – to “once and for all deal with those issues.”
Sen. Rubio told the crowd that it has made a difference in Washington, D.C., that now when legislators meet they take into consideration what the public will say and how it will react to what the legislators are doing.
“You have a made a difference,” he said. “It’s a real check to what’s happening.”
U.S. Representative Bill Posey, who spoke before Sen. Rubio, had a similar message for the Tea Party supporters.
“You made a heck of a difference,” he said, urging them to continue to do so.
Now in his second term, Rep. Posey educated the audience on some of the changes happening in the House.
“Well, there’s a new sheriff in town,” he said, drawing laughter and cheers from the crowd.
He explained that policy has been changed that requires legislation to be available to the public for at least 72 hours before it can be voted on. Rep. Posey said that change would prevent certain pieces of legislation from being “rammed” down their throats or create a situation where legislators would be voting on something they hadn’t had the time to review.
“It’s moving,” Sebastian resident Polly Houck said of being a part of the Tea Party Rally. She said that there has been a lot happening in her family – medically, that has caused stress. “We don’t want Obamacare.”
The rally ended with the audience singing along with former American Idol contestant Krista Branch, who led them in “God Bless America.”
“We need God back in our country,” Houck said.
Editor’s Note: Crowd size estimate confirmed through Fairgrounds manager and Sheriff’s Office sergeant.