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.
Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backersi
X
Michael Bowman
July 26, 2015 8:44 PM
Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Underground Streetcar Station In Washington, DC, to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Rise in HIV Infections Worries Ugandan Officials

Uganda had the third-highest number of new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa last year, reversing its reputation for successfully tackling the epidemic in the 1990s. Although the percentage of people living with HIV/AIDS is still half of what it was in the 1980s, the increase in new infections is worrying to health workers. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs