LISBON - Tea Party sympathizers and others upset with the current direction of U.S. policy will have their choice of protest events to attend on Thursday.
The two Tea Party organizations active in the area - the Columbiana County Tea Party and the Tri-County TEA Party - both are hosting events, but at different locations and times.
The county Tea Party event will begin at 3:30 p.m. Thursday in the Lisbon square, while the Tri-County group's event is being held in the Canfield Town Square starting at 6 p.m.
Featured speakers at the Lisbon event include most of the candidates - Democrat, Republican, Constitution and Libertarian - running for the seat held by U.S. Rep. Charles Wilson Jr. Also speaking is Dr. Ted Hill on health care, Brian Allen on local government involvement, Wayne Herron on states' rights and Tim Ginter on the Constitution.
"We have some fun lined up too that will help you blow off a little steam and put a smile on your face while you're doing it," said Tea Party leader Duke Bennett, according to a news release.
Featured speakers at the Canfield event include Jim Traficant Jr., two Republican congressional candidates, Columbiana County Republican Party Chairman David Johnson (speaking as a business owner), and businessmen Dan Moadus, Larry Everly and Henry Nemenz.
Topics to be covered include the health care bill, government spending, increased taxes, states' rights, immigration, card check, and the U.S. Constitution.
"The mission of the Tea Parties is to pursue fiscal responsibility in our government, free markets, term limits, limited government and strict adherence to our Constitution, among other issues," wrote Anita Fraser, president of the Tri-County TEA Party.
The Tea Party movement began in early 2009 after President Obama took office and picked up momentum following passage of the $787 billion federal stimulus bill. The first major local event was held on April 15, 2009, for symbolic reasons, since that is the filing deadline for federal income tax returns. Last year's event in Lisbon drew more than 500 people.
By mid-summer a split occurred in the local Tea Party movement, with some breaking away and joining with the Tri-County Tea Party to the north because they felt the original group as led by Bennett had become too confrontational and aggressive in its approach. Bennett, who is a former nondenominational pastor, said the split was mainly about the group's emphasis on religion.