TEA party rally in Gulfport

By Krystal Allan - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - They raised their voices and their signs in hopes of sending a message to Washington all the way from South Mississippi.

"It's not about them. It's about us," says Michelle Sweitzer of Gulfport.

The Gulfport Sportsplex was the site of the Coastwide TEA party rally. TEA stands for Taxed Enough Already. And those who came out had plenty to say on how their tax dollars are being spent.

"Most of us who have checkbooks know that when there's no more money in the bank you quit writing checks," says Gulfport resident Kristie Johnson.

"We're wasting money, and we want to see more accountability in Washington," says John Sweitzer.

Another major issue on the minds of those who came out was healthcare and the role government should play in reforming it.

"A lot of Americans have big problems with the healthcare system. Tort reform is one of the reforms that need to happen," says John Sweitzer.

"Reform needs to happen, but it needs to happen through the people and through capitalism not the government," says says Michelle Sweitzer.

For others, it's just a matter of government doing a better job of explaining what they plan to do and how people will be affected.

"If we're not careful, we can get to a place of people becoming confused about what these things are coming down the pipe and what it could mean for us. What we want to do is just get clarity," says Irvin Whittaker of McHenry.

Like those in other cities who came out to voice their concerns in an open forum, those who gathered at the Gulfport Sportsplex hope someone in Washington is listening.

"We want to pray and ask other people to join us in prayer for this country," says Johnson.

"We've got to get back to government of the people, by the people and for the people. That has absolutely nothing to do with party affiliation, race, ethnicity and all of these things that divide us. It has everything to do with the rule of law and the constitution of the United States of America. We need to get back to that," says Whittaker.

Tea party organizers say Saturday's date of 9/12 is significant to the TEA party. The date ties in with the 9-12 project, a non-political movement to unite the country as it was the day after 9/11.

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