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Tea Party is ready for 2011 work

FINGER LAKES—Area Tea Party group members are gearing up to make their voices heard, even with village elections and school district votes months away.
The Tea Party groups vetted candidates for the November election. The Finger Lakes Tea Party Patriots group had upwards of eight candidates at some meetings representing a cross section of the seats on the ballot. The Finger Lakes group is planning to do all this again with the village elections March 15 and later when school district residents vote on budgets and school board members in May.
Andrea Robinson, Finger Lakes Tea Party member and organizer, said the group was not happy with the Yates County tax increase. The group is now calling for involvement sooner in the process.
“Most people don’t know about it until taxes go up. Some people never vote for years,” said Robinson, explaining members will attend the planning stages for things like budgets.
Some members have already been going to school board meetings. However, the group is still making plans and just had the first meeting of the year Jan. 17. She added that the Finger Lakes Tea Party group has members from several counties.
“It’s hard to make last minute change,” said Robinson. “It’s hard to effect change if you don’t learn the issues.”
Which is why since November Robinson said the group has been staying informed. She explained it can be easy to become apathetic. Robinson explained it is important to keep up to date with what the state is doing and proposing.
“What budget isn’t affected by the state budget?” she asked.
Robinson said the Tea Party would be vetting candidates again. She added that the group invites candidates from all political parties.
The Odessa Tea Party in Schuyler County has also started meeting.
“We are in the process of restructuring for 2011 after taking the month of December off for the holidays,” said Greg Phenes, Odessa Tea Party organizer. “At our Jan. 19 meeting members will fill out a questionnaire as to what they would like us set as goals of accomplishment for the year. Some of the options that will be introduced are term limits for local offices, term limits for social handouts, Global Warming issues, repeal of mandated Health Care in New York state, school budgets, and securing candidates for offices.”
The first meeting will held in Horseheads. Phenes said the Tea Party group wants to expand out and hold meetings there as well. A meeting will be held in Odessa on the first Wednesday or each month and in Horseheads the third Wednesday of each month. He explained the group hopes to encourage more membership this way.
Phenes said the members are exploring term limits for local offices, headed by a member of the county legislature and a past legislative chairperson. He explained, “they are exploring what all is involved in getting this enacted into law and if it is something that we want to pursue.”




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