RICHLAND -- A huge banner in Richlands John Dam Plaza was emblazoned with numbers to the trillion mark written across the top to remind voters of the national debt, which many at Saturdays Tea Party rally blamed on the Democratic Party.
About 200 people attended the event, which saw another candidate step into the running for the 4th Congressional District seat.
Jamie Wheeler of Kennewick, a member of the Tri-Cities Tea Party and Washington state director for FairTax.org, announced that shes running for Congress against Republican Doc Hastings of Pasco.
Wheeler, 46, said shes running for the seat representing Central Washington because she believes the FairTax proposal a national sales tax that would replace all other forms of federal taxation is the best strategy for making the country prosperous again.
Its a sense of urgency in our financial situation, knowing there is a solution in (Washington) D.C., and yet its not being put in the media for the most part, she told the Herald. It will be a power transfer out of the hands of Congress and into the hands of We the people.
Hastings also spoke at Saturdays event, praising the Tea Party for its grass-roots policy and changing the countrys election process.
A bill creating the FairTax system has been introduced in Congress, but hasnt gained enough support for a vote. Wheeler said shes been unable to convince Hastings to support it.
She said if elected to Congress, she would become the first Northwest lawmaker to sign on in support.
I have done everything I can to get my representative on board for numerous reasons. Part of it is a restoration of the Constitution, she said. The Constitution didnt allow a tax on our income until 1913. Paychecks are our private property. ... Without private property rights, we dont have liberty.
But despite her fervor for the FairTax, Wheeler said she wont be a one-issue candidate.
Wheeler, a self-described domestic engineer her term for a stay-at-home mom, also supports reducing government expenditures and the national debt, and described herself as "pro-gun, pro-family and pro-free speech.
She also works as an in-home care provider, and said she plans to bring her values of compassion and caring for people to the campaign.
She pledged that she wont raise or spend more than $4,995 just below the $5,000 limit that requires reporting to the Federal Election Commission and said once she reaches that threshold shell ask supporters instead to donate to families in need or nonprofits.
I am definitely people-oriented, she said. I hope my campaign matches my actions.
Others who spoke Saturday included Sen. Jerome Delvin, R-Richland; Rep. Larry Haler, R-Richland; and Franklin County farmer/politician Clint Didier.
The crowd cheered when Didier climbed onto his soap box and spoke boldly about the complacency of America society.
This park should be full of people for this rally and it isnt, he said.
President Obama is a communist. There I said it out loud, Didier said.
He warned that if Americans continue to turn a blind eye to complacency about turning the country around to be a free market with less government involvement, then eventually people should arm themselves and be prepared for martial law.
He challenged people to get involved with their community and fight for the rights of all Americans.
Its time to get to work, he said.
Wheeler is running as a Republican. She is the second opponent to announce a run against Hastings. Democrat Mary Baechler, a Yakima businesswoman, community organizer and horse breeder, recently announced her candidacy.
Candidate filing officially opens May 14 for the August primary, which includes all federal, state and local races other than president. Washingtons presidential primary was canceled this year.
The top two vote-getters in the primary, regardless of party affiliation, will advance to the general election ballot in November.
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