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Tea Parties Signal Growing Concerns

It was a cold day in 1773 when a group of colonists threw a tea party in the Boston Harbor to protest taxation without representation. In recent days across the nation, citizens angry over a variety of issues, including the proposed plan for national healthcare and the Cap and Trade Bill, are holding tea parties of their own. Here in Calhoun County, several voters are extremely disgruntled by what they see as a lack of true representation in Washington. Many have expressed feeling betrayed by Congressman Allen Boyd who has professed to being a Blue Dog Democrat, but has leaned further to the left on his voting record. “I think they’re trying to kill this country,” says Tommy Williams, a Blountstown resident who is concerned by what is happening in Washington. “We are not doing what the founding fathers intended.” Merrill Traylor says he feels there is an extreme lack of representation. “They don’t even know the changes they are making, but they want us to accept them,” he remarks, referring to the healthcare bill. For some, recent votes by representatives on the hill have led them to consider making a change they never thought they’d make: switching parties. The south is widely known for it’s conservative Democrats. In fact, even those who vote Republican in presidential races here in the panhandle are often registered Democrats who remain that way to vote in local primaries with predominantly Democratic candidates. But as expressed around coffee shop tables and at a gathering of several local voters Monday night, many feel they aren’t leaving the Democratic party; they believe the Democratic party has left them. Seventy-five year old James “Snookie” White has been a Democrat since he was old enough to vote. But that is about to change. “I don’t know if I’m going Republican, but I’m changing. I may go Independent.” Doug Goodman agreed. “I’ve been a Democrat all my life, but I’m changing on account of lack of representation.” Jason Dunn, 37, says he has been a Republican since he got his first voter registration card at the age of 18. However, he feels like both parties have failed voters in recent months. “We’ve got representation, but we don’t have representation,” he remarks, adding that he plans to register as an Independent. Congressman Boyd will be visiting Blountstown this Tuesday, Aug. 18, with a 10 a.m. community forum planned at the W.T. Neal Civic Center. According to a press release from his office, Boyd will be speaking about efforts to strengthen the economy and the healthcare debate in Congress. The public will also be allowed to ask questions on issues that concern them. As for the local voters The County Record interviewed Monday night, they tossed their tea bags into the middle of a table as a symbol of their anger over the same thing the folks in Boston were upset about two centuries ago: taxation without representation. Stay tuned to see where this tea party leads.

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