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Tea Party Activists Strong in Southwest Missouri

In Springfield, a new political movement is on the rise and is looking to make an impact on the November elections. KSMU’s Justin Lux has the details.

The Tea Party movement began in 2009 as a way to protest issues that some people felt were being largely ignored by the government. Darren Chappell, is organizing a Tea Party event in Marshfield, and he’s also a member of the Republican Party. In fact, he’s running for a House seat as a Republican. He explains that the Republican Party and the Tea Party movement are not mutually exclusive.

“The Tea Party movement, in its purest form, is not a party affiliation either way. It’s merely a grass roots movement of people wanting to have their voices heard by all parties and by the government itself,” he says.

Chappell also says that the movement has nothing to do with establishing a new political party.

“Contrary to what a lot of people believe, the Tea Party movement has nothing to do with any sort of a third party establishment or a Tea Party as a political party,” he explains.

Dr. George Connor is the head of the Political Science department at Missouri State University. He explains the movement’s complaints against the Republican Party.

“Much of the Tea Party movement, and this is probably more true in southwest Missouri, feels that the Republican Party hasn’t stood up for what the party is suppose to believe in. That the Republican Party isn’t conservative enough, that the Republican Party isn’t standing up for the rights of individuals and that the party isn’t standing up for smaller government,” he says.

Connor says that the movement has the potential to have a major impact on the race to fill the seat being vacated by Congressman Roy Blunt.

“There are eight or nine candidates and the person that gets the most support from the members of the Tea Party movement may stand a better chance of winning the primary,” he explains.

As part of the movement, the son of former President Ronald Reagan, Michael Reagan, was be on hand at the Missouri Capitol as the keynote speaker at a Tea Party rally.

For KSMU News, I’m Justin Lux.