Tax-day Tea Party rally draws 70 to RI State House
April 15, 2014
Thomas J. Morgan
The Providence Journal
PROVIDENCE- A Rhode Island Tea Party rally drew about 70 persons to the State House on a rainy Tuesday to discuss issues ranging from education to the economy to the Affordable Health Care Act, better known as Obamacare.
As people in Uncle Sam hats wandered around, and as a vendor hawked flags and tee shirts with Tea Party slogans, Mike Puyana, Tea Party president, pointed to Rhode Island's dismal unemployment rate and said, "We need everyone who is capable to step up and act in that capability." He also denounced "shocking abuses of taxpayer funds in this state."
Mike Stenhouse, a former Red Sox player and director of the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity, which he described as a "free market think tank," said Rhode Islanders should be "free from an oppressive, overreaching government."
Saying that Rhode Island has the worst rate of unemployment in the country, Stenhouse added, "We are in last place. I'm a baseball guy, and I don't like being in last place. We are number one in redistribution-of-income policies. The government takes money from some and gives it to a selected few. They believe they're helping the economy.
"The last remark drew sarcastic laughter."
How would you like a 3 percent sales tax?" he asked. Applause greeted him. "The status quo must go," he chanted. "We have unionized laundry workers making more than $100,000 a year."
Stenhouse said the state should eliminate tolls on all of its bridges "forever" - another applause line.
He blamed the master lever on voting machines for enabling politicians to keep their grip on power. "I'm tired of corruption - we had federal agents upstairs here in the State House" hauling away records (from the office of former House Speaker Gordon Fox), he said. He urged those present to use the master lever to push corrupt politicians out of office.
Denison Allen, a Burrillville resident, listed his issues as "The invasion of privacy by the NSA, excessive taxation, regulations stifling small business, IRS abuses, overwhelming federal debt, unfunded entitlement programs, infringement on our second amendment rights, among many others."
Ellen Kenner, a clinical psychologist, told the group that Obamacare had forced her to close her Warwick practice, which had operated for 20 years.
"This is socialized medicine," said Kenner, a member of the Tea Party's steering committee. "No more seeing a private doctor - this is redistribution of wealth," she continued. "It's eliminating a free market." She described Obamacare as "a war against doctors.
"Kenner said she had conducted a survey of doctors, and reported that 80 percent of the respondents said they wanted to continue in private practice, versus 2 percent who would opt for working in "a government-run facility."