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2009-06-25 digital edition

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2009-06-25 / Front Page

Local Grassroots Movement to Host Lee Co. Tea Party

A small group of local and concerned citizens, known as the Tea Party Patriots, have received permission from the Lee County Commissioners' Court to host a Tea Party on the west lawn of the County Courthouse, Friday, July 3, from 4 until 7 p.m.

Roland Panguma of Giddings, along with "Preacher Joe" Paluch and James Martinez, are organizing the event and hope to generate more support in order to "hold our elected officials responsible to their constituency." Panguma works for a large oil field company and he said the reason he is getting involved is because of what he's seen happen the last couple of years in the oil field.

"Two years ago, if an oil company drilled a well and it was dry, the one to two million it may have cost them to drill it was a write-off. Today, that's not true. If the Cap and Trade bill that is on a fast track in Congress right now passes, we may find an increased tax burden on oil companies and oil exploration and drilling may shut down. I don't have the numbers, but I know Lee County has a lot of people employed in the oil field industry and it would be devastating to our economy to lose those jobs," Panguma said.

He went on to say, "Not only will people lose jobs, but what about all the people in our county that receive some of their income from oil royalties? They could lose 30 - 40% of their income if oil companies stop drilling."

The Tea Party is intended to be a place for local folks to voice their opinions about what's happening on the state and national level, when it comes to taxation, healthcare, bailouts and jobs. While it is not sponsored by any party affiliation, State Representative Tim Kleinschmidt, along with Ash Wright, the County Party Outreach Coordinator for the Republican Party of Texas, are expected to speak.

Panguma said, "Some people ask me, 'What can little old Lee County do?' I tell them we can let our local politicians, senators and representatives know that we are watching what they do and what they vote on. We're watching because we voted them in with confidence and they represent the constituents of this county and we need them to vote against higher taxes and some of the other issues that will put an incredible financial burden on this country."

There were several dozen Tea Parties throughout the state on Tax Day, April 15, this year and there are more scheduled for the 3rd and 4th of July. One in Austin will feature Joe the Plumber. For details about those events, go to www.teapartypatriots.org.

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