First, I want to thank Senator Paul and Senator Lee and also Senator DeMint for this caucus together. I think it's a testament to the power of the Tea Party movement, and we work really- we worked hard tirelessly, the past two years to bring conservative friends here to support Jim DeMint and turning this country back around. So thank you all are working with us and thank you, senators, for doing this.
You know, I'm very humbled to be here and honored to be here because I am just a mom. I am no one special, I have no political ambitions. Two years ago I was simply concerned about the direction of my country. I started blogging, I decided to get engaged because I was tired of yelling at my TV and my radio …and I'm a little tired of listening to it, and so I got my couch and decided to do something about it. And other Americans came together in February 2009, the day after Rick Santelli had his rant, there were twenty two of us and we planned for tea parties across the country one week later. And we defined our success with ten tea parties across the country, 50 to 100 people in attendance in each tea party. Course we had no media attention. Seven days later, we had 53 tea parties with approximately 30,000 people in attendance and we knew that there was a movement going on, that anger was brewing and people who are engaging. And so we started working on tax day tea party in April, and April fifteenth of 2009, the first round of tax day tea parties, we had over 850 teen parties across this country with approximately 1.2 million people in attendance.
Greatest thing about April 15, 2009 is that you realized you were not alone. That was the most important thing that came out of that day. And then we all continue to work and the momentum was building and the movement was growing. And on September 12th, with the help of FreedomWorks and other people, some other organizations, we had the biggest conservative gathering here in the history of our country with approximately one-half million people here from march on DC in September that year. And that was a great event. It’s obviously that the movement’s growing and people are engaging, but what really changed things was healthcare. Healthcare change the dynamics of this movement. It galvanized movement because healthcare is personal. Healthcare touches every single person out there. Not everyone is a doctor, but everyone is a patient and people don't want the government involved in decisions that should be made between them and their doctors and that's what galvanized this movement.
And in March of last year, the Senate had voted on health care legislation at Christmas of 2009, and then in March of last year, we knew that the House was going to be voting on this legislation and we knew that Nancy Pelosi and friends would do anything to push this legislation through at all costs. They would violate the process, they would do whatever. So again, we wanted to bring Americans back to the capital to protest what was going on in our house, the House of Representatives. And we put out a call and within three days we had approximately 50,000 people here on the steps of the US Capitol screaming “kill the bill, kill the bill.” I mean they adjourned some committees because they said we were being so disruptive. Well on Sunday night, when everybody's gone back home to their families to go back to work and go back to school, we all know what happened. They passed some legislation, you know under the cover of darkness and- and here we have Obamacare.
Well that was a defeat for the movement, but you know what? We didn't give up. We were determined to fight harder and the movement continued to grow if people continue to become engaged. But the thing is, you know, we can have these rallies or protests till the end of time. It grows the movement, it brings attention to the movement, but- but if we truly want to effect change we have to do it at the ballot box. And that's what we did.
Across this country, November 2nd was a historic day because not only did we bring Senator DeMint and some conservative friends here in the Senate and we took back the House of Representatives. That was the greatest thing, to take that gavel out of Nancy Pelosi’s hand… take back all state legislators- legislatures across this country too, the state houses from coast to coast. It was a historic day, but you know what? This is just the beginning; we are not giving up; we are not backing down. This movement is in its infancy and so to be asked to come here today, it is very humbling because you know I am representative of the people out there in this movement, the moms, the dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and I’m concerned for my children, my grandchildren, just as other people are.
And so, you know, I wanted to know how can I bring the voice of the people to this caucus today, and so I did what we do in true Tea Party style, I went to Facebook… and my Facebook wall that I would be speaking here and what did the people want me to say? What were their messages and I’m just going to read a few of those messages now.
Ray March from Florida is actually one of the Tea Party Express bus drivers said “tell them to attack the ridiculous, unreasonable regulations that are killing jobs.”
Anastasia Priscilla- Priscilla from Philadelphia said, “let them know that we want them to represent the people not their party.”
Brian Wood from Delaware said, “manufacturing must come back to America. Stop the lobbyists as a vile promise and if jobs were truly wanted, then the unions must make concessions."
Beverly Adams from New Jersey, “express the courage of conservative convictions. Do not worry about reelection or your pensions. Truly be a public servant by spending our hard-earned money as if it's your own.”
…from San Antonio, “the time for pity half-measures is long past. Cut spending now."
…from California, “what does the Department of Education actually do for us? They need to show real quick activity in cause for their existence. Just having these departments because it’s what’s always been done is not acceptable. If they don't legitimately serve a purpose, eliminate them.”
So this movement is engaged. They're educating, they're researching, they’re learning about all these things and how all this stuff has worked for a long time and they are saying no more. You know, this movement is about fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets and that's what we stand on. Those are the principles we stand on and we're not going to waver on those principles. This is about the spending, that's why we all got engaged. You know, we don't have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem. When American families are cutting back across this country, why is it our federal government can be here with our credit card and just charge, charge, charge? It has to stop and it has to stop now.
No one has said this is going to be easy. There are tough decisions that have to be made and that's why these conservative senators have been sent here by us to make these tough decisions. And you know what I say to Senator DeMitt? We stayed with you. Let's have a showdown on the debt ceiling.
So these are only a few suggestions and comments that I received, but it's enough to paint the picture of what is on Americans family's lines across this country. Each of these senators have been supported and elected by the Tea Party activists because of their principles and values of this for fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets. We ask that they stand all those principles with us and not waver even when it might seem it's the easiest thing to do.