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Tea Party rallies in Yakima

YAKIMA - Members of the Tea Party in Yakima exhorted some 100 sympathetic listeners Tuesday night to take the nascent movement beyond sign waving and outrage to become a bona fide force that could change the direction of the country.

“We’re living in an era of fear but it’s time we instilled a little fear in the people in Congress who are not doing their job,” said Brian Reiswig of Yakima, who rallied the troops in the audio-visual room at Glenwood Square in Yakima.

The meeting was part pep rally and part recruitment drive as Kirk Groenig, an organizer of Remember Us, We the People, affiliated with the state and national Tea Party movement, told participants they need to do everything they can to get the central message of smaller government and lower taxes across to representatives in Washington, D.C.

Showing a video montage of past Tea Party rallies in Yakima and Olympia, Groenig said elected officials have heard their concerns but don’t yet acknowledge the movement. He appealed to the group to e-mail lawmakers and contribute financially, walking them through step-by-step how to e-mail from the Web site, which is applying for nonprofit status.

“We’re not going to let them lie to us anymore,” said Groenig, an insurance agent from Ellensburg.

The Tea Party isn’t affiliated with any political party, but participants at the rally were encouraged to buy a $40 ticket to the annual Lincoln Day dinner hosted by Yakima County Republican Party on March 27 at the Clarion Hotel. Former gubernatorial hopeful Dino Rossi and Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Pasco, are scheduled speakers.

One attendee at the meeting, Yakima businessman Brad Tidrick, said he is donating a wall on his transmission business in Union Gap for a mural that would send a message to Congress.

“It’s time every one of us take a step to get active. The next time we meet, let’s double the numbers,” said Tidrick. “Let’s take America back. It’s time.”

Although there are numerous groups that have become active in the Tea Party movement, including the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, Grass Roots of Yakima Valley, the John Birch Society and the 9/12 Project, affiliated with TV personality Glenn Beck, members of each said they are committed to supporting one another.

“We are all working together and supporting one another,” said Sandi Belzer Brendale, a longtime anti-tax activist in the Yakima Valley.

The groups are holding an anti-health-care reform rally Thursday at 11:30 a.m. in front of the Tower on Yakima Avenue to protest Sen. Patty Murray’s support for the legislation. Murray, a Democrat, has an office in the tower at Third Street and Yakima Avenue.

Another rally is set for April 10 to hear from Lasse Lund of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, a conservative research group in Olympia. That event is at the Second Street Park at Second Street and Yakima Avenue from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

—Leah Beth Ward can be reached at 577-7626 or