The Tea Party Express is rolling through the country, and it made its first of two stops in Michigan in Novi on Thursday afternoon.
The "Winning for America" bus tour held a two-hour rally in the parking lot of Suburban Collection Showplace, and more than 100 people from numerous local cities attended.
The Tea Party Express, the nation’s largest tea party political action committee, is traveling through 22 battleground states to rally support for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and other conservative candidates in November.
The bus tour will be in Grand Rapids Thursday evening.
“President Obama and the Democrats are grossly out-of-touch with Americans and the economic struggles of our nation," said Amy Kremer, Tea Party Express chairman, in a statement. "However, we have a chance to correct our path in November. This bus tour will focus on states and districts we need in order to gain control of Congress and the White House. We want to engage and educate voters on the conservative solutions that will return our nation to a path towards prosperity."
Rally calls for action
The event in Novi included several musical performances by Lloyd Marcus and Ron and Kay Rivoli, a poetry reading, a rap performance, speeches by several local and national supporters, and a performance of "God Bless the U.S.A." in honor of all veterans in attendance.
One of the speakers was Debbie Lee, who told the story of her son, Marc, a Navy SEAL who was killed in Iraq in 2006.
"When you run into those men and women who say 'Eh, I'm sitting this one out. I don't like either one of the candidates', will you tell them my son's story? Would you tell them what our fallen heroes have given for this country? They've given their lives for them to have that right to be able to vote, but it is not just a right. It is a responsibility, and we owe it to our fallen heroes," she said.
Several of the speakers also talked of the Tea Party Express' six principles:
- No more bailouts
- Reduce the size and intrusiveness of government
- Stop raising our taxes
- Repeal Obamacare
- Cease out-of-control spending
- Bring back American prosperity
Kremer encouraged attendees to continue to work toward their goals by putting out yard signs, using bumper stickers and encouraging others to vote in November.
"If you don't vote, you're part of the problem," she said.
Local speakers included Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard; Republican Michigan Supreme Court candidates Justice Brian K. Zahra, Justice Stephen J. Markman, and Judge Colleen O’Brien; and state board of education candidate Todd Courser.
Bouchard spoke about fiscal conservatism and freedom from government control.
"Constitution first. Get out and vote. Everybody here get 10 people to vote. You can and will make a difference, but we have to turn people out to vote and turn people out of office that don't get it," he said.
Republican candidate for Michigan's 11th Congressional District Kerry Bentivolio and Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Pete Hoekstra were also invited to speak, but could not make it, Kremer said.
The tour began in Orlando on Sept. 11 and ends in California on Oct. 2.