Tucker: Tea Party Movement Growing on First Coast | Politics

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Tucker: Tea Party Movement Growing on First Coast

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Much of the media's attention has been on the Occupy Movement of late, and the perception of some is the Tea Party movement is waning, but First Coast Tea Party officials say that is far from the truth.

The Jacksonville group hosted 60 Tea Party leaders from 26 states this week to strategize on how to get out the vote and get out their message. Newt Gingrich happened to accept their invitation this week to come to Jacksonville well after the meeting was planned.  Tea Party members from as far away as California, Texas and Pennsylvania were in Jacksonville.

"We want to make sure President Obama does not get back to the White House," said Billie Tucker, co-founder of the First Coast Tea Party. "We want to take the Senate. That is our goal. We are about limited government. The government is now big and bloated, and we want to remove those who have bloated it and send them back to the private sector, and put somebody in their seats."

Tucker says the First Coast Tea Party is one of the largest  in the country and is growing. "They keep saying the Tea Party is dying, but our membership keeps growing. We have had people signing up on our website every day for the last month."

David Snow of Pennsylvania attended the meeting in Jacksonville and said the gathering gives Tea Party members a boost. "It helps, sure it helps. I don't think we need much firing up -- we understand what our civic responsibilities are -- but it helps to know that are a lot more of us out there."

Tucker said she expects the Tea Party's grassroots movement to have a huge say in the 2012 elections. " We had a big influence in 2010, we are going to have a big influence in 2012. We are not going away. We are getting bigger. We just had a strategy meeting of Tea Party leaders and their tea parties are growing just like ours. We are not going away. The grassroots movement is still here and we are green and growing."

Tucker said the First Coast Tea Party has commitments from Republican candidates Rick Perry and Herman Cain to visit Jacksonville in the next 30 days and hold a town hall meeting just at Gingrich did Thursday. They have reached out to Mitt Romney's campaign and hope he visits Jacksonville before the January 31st presidential primary in Florida.


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