Kentucky's Tea Party is a Force to be Reckoned With

Kane Farabaugh
Democratic Vice President Joe Biden faces Republican Congressman Paul Ryan in their only televised debate October 11 in the state of Kentucky.  While the debates will focus partly on foreign policy, Kentucky’s conservative Tea Party voters - who represent a growing number of politically active voters in the state - are more concerned about domestic issues, such as how to create jobs, curb federal spending, and shrink government.

Kentucky voter Eric Wilson is concerned about his children’s future.

Kentucky Facts

Population            4,369,356
White Residents        89%
Black Residents        8%
Asian Residents        1.2%
Residents of Hispanic or Latino Origin    3.2%
Unemployment Rate        8.5%
Median Household Income      $41,576        
Residents below poverty level    17.7%

Source: US Census, BLS
"I have to do now what is right, to give them the lifestyle that they need," Wilson said.

He is so passionate that he leads the Kentucky 9/12 Project, a loosely affiliated group of  voters who want to re-capture the predominant mood of Americans in the wake of the September 11th terror attacks.

"It’s the day after September 11th, when we weren’t red states or blue states, we were the United States," he explained.

Kentucky red

But despite the non-partisan mantra, Wilson’s home state of Kentucky is a so-called red state, which currently favors conservative Republican candidates for public office.  Groups like Wilson's are among the most conservative. Their popularity is partly a result of the growing strength of the Tea Party movement. They share the same values and concerns.

“I like the fact that the Tea party is kind of this nebulous thing that’s a little hard to define, but essentially when it comes down to it, smaller government, balanced budgets, less debt, a simpler tax code, and dismantling this political class," said Tea Party activist David Adams. Those were key points, he said, that helped elect Tea party favorite Rand Paul to the U.S. Senate.

Adams was Rand Paul’s campaign manager and says the Tea Party is a force to reckon with. "It has really shaken up the Republican Party in my view," he said.

Democrats

Democratic voter Liz Cook, who lives in Danville, Kentucky -- site of the vice presidential  debate -- is concerned about the rise of groups like 9/12. She also worries about the Tea Party's desire to slash government programs. 

"It’s a little scary because I view them as an extreme part of the Republican Party.  And I think that any extremist groups make it a challenge for other more moderate reasonable discussions to surface," she said.

Extremism

But 9/12 Director Eric Wilson says groups affiliated with the Tea Party are not extremist. 

“The Tea Party is really the sentiment of the people," he said. The sentiment of the people is still of frustration, still wanting their power, wanting their liberties back, still shouting at their TV, still shouting at their elected officials saying “hey, give me a voice.'”

It's no secret that Mitt Romney will most likely win Kentucky in November. Beyond that, Tea Party activists aim to elect candidates to Kentucky's legislature who will support the conservative agenda:  a rollback of abortion rights, support of the coal industry and cuts to medical care for the poor.  To achieve that, Republicans will have to control the state's House of Representatives, something that has eluded them for almost a century.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: John from: Colorado USA
October 11, 2012 8:19 PM
VOA is wrong stating the Tea Party is a force to be reckoned with. The tea party is just a splash in the pan the only thing they have done is divide the republican party. After this coming election when Obama is reelected and the democrats have a majority in both the house and senate the tea party will not exist.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
October 11, 2012 12:04 PM
Having to hear from somebody say something about the family and future of children is essentially gratifying. That means all hope is not lost. Thank God for little mercies. And it says also Americans can bear their children instead of condemn through abortion or kidnap them in condoms. Wonderful! I feel like an American. That piece about jobs creation and limiting of government spending is fantastic. Is there really someone out there to drive this? America may be restored after all. God bless America.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs