GOP women welcome area Tea Party founder

Published 7:58 pm Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Pike County’s Sharon Honea told the first official meeting ofthe Lincoln County Republican Women Tuesday night that there was atime she thought she might be turning into a Libertarian.

But then as she looked more into the Libertarian Party, shefound that she was definitely still a member of the party she hadloved for years.

” I thought, I’m not a Libertarian, I’m a Republican,” she said.”I’m proud to stand here and say I’m a member of the RepublicanParty and I’m not leaving.”

Honea said her hesitancy had come during a time when the turmoilin Washington had left her questioning her faith in politics, butthat after she fought through it, she found Tea Parties.

“I was at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in NewOrleans, and I made the mistake of asking what to do to start onein Southwest Mississippi, and they said, ‘Just do it,'” shesaid.

So Honea and her husband Jeff Honea started the SouthwestMississippi Tea Party three weeks ago, and it has now spread likewildfire, she said.

There are currently almost 170 members and the group is growingevery day. Honea said she thinks the grassroots movement is growingbecause people are tired of elected officials who don’t seem towant to make a stand.

“The Republicans are not currently in power, and we’re thinking,‘Why aren’t they screaming? Why aren’t they throwing rocks? Whyaren’t they doing donuts in the White House lawn?'” she said.

The Tea Party movement, Honea said, stands for smallergovernment, personal freedom, strong national defense and lowertaxes. And another reason it continues to grow is that itrepresents conservatives of any party.

“The decision was made on a national level to remainnon-partisan,” she said. “We are not a third party, and we are notsplitting the conservative vote. We’re a friend of the RepublicanParty, and a friend of conservatives in general.”

Honea said the immediate goal of Tea Partiers is to focus on2010 elections, and to try to bring conservative values back intopower on several levels. It’s the consolidation of the group thatwill help bring balance back to the country, she said.

“The movement is like the wind, it’s always been there butsometimes it doesn’t make noise, sometimes it moves more thanothers,” she said. “And come November, we’re going to have aCategory 5 hurricane.”

That comment brought a rousing round of applause from theaudience.

“We’re just here to unite like-minded people, and to make noiseand be heard, because we are no longer the silent majority,” shesaid. “We’re not a militia, we’re not a third party. This is aparty of us. This is a party of we the people.”

Honea said the Southwest Mississippi Tea Party hopes to schedulea rally in Brookhaven in July, but that in the meantime they can befound on Facebook.

Meanwhile, Cindy Moore, who heads up the Lincoln County TeenageRepublicans, gave an update on some of the projects they areworking on, and gave an update on taking the students to theSouthern Republican Leadership Conference.

“They’re starting to realize not only how political issues todayaffect them and their families, but also how it will through theyears,” she said.

Gregg Harper field representatives Evan Gardner and KaitlynColson were also in attendance to tell the women about the state ofthe nation as seen by Harper.

Club officials said anyone who is interested in joining iswelcome to attend their next meeting on Tuesday, May 18 at 6 p.m.at the State Room.