April 12, 2009
A nationwide grassroots campaign against federal spending and the bailout is coming to Charlottesville on Tax Day.
The "tea" in Charlottesville's planned Tea Party is actually an acronym. It stands for "Taxed Enough Already." It's a play on words intended to invoke the grassroots efforts of that Boston revolt hundreds of years ago.
Bill Hay, The Charlottesville Tea Party's organizer, had never been active in politics until recently.
"Over the past six months with the stimulus bill coming out and the bailouts for the banks and the automobile industry, this is definitely not what our founding fathers had intended for this country," says Hay.
The Ruckersville man gathered interest and support for the tea party online through a Facebook page and a blog.
"I just decided, well, I'd heard about the tea parties happening everywhere else, and I said I'm not going to wait for somebody else to start it up. I'm going to do something," says Hay.
About 300 people have RSVP'd online through the event's Facebook page and Bill Hay's blog, the Jefferson Area TeaParty.
"We're hoping for a good crowd," says Keith Drake, the Albemarle Truth in Taxation Chairman and former chair of the Albemarle County GOP. "At least a couple of hundred, it could be as many as 500, it could be more. It depends on how fired up people are."
Wednesday, April 15th, protesters plan to drop off their petition and possibly tea at Congressman Tom Perriello's campaign office in Downtown Charlottesville.
"We may take teabags and bring them down to Mr. Perriello's office," says Hay. "We're playing that by ear right now."
15 people are signed up to speak at the rally. Former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, who worked for the Nixon, Carter, and Reagan administrations, will be the keynote speaker.
"He won't miss the opportunity to speak about the core principles of our nation," says Drake.
"This is probably the best place in the country to have this tea party. After all many of our founding fathers came from this very area," says Hay.
Hay is holding the rally at the Pavilion just outside City Hall, and the statues of America's Founding Fathers. The rally starts at 3:00 pm on April 15th.
Bill Hay says if Wednesday's tax rally is successful he'd like to organize more in the future.