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Cold air doesn’t stop Tea Party

Liz Whittemore spoke Friday at the Tea Party rally at Kiwanis Park in Brainerd.

Tea Party speakers on Friday night urged listeners at a rally at Brainerd’s Kiwanis Park to keep the faith and stay involved in conservative causes despite disappointing outcomes in area elections . 

Between 25 and 30 citizens braved harsh winds and temperatures in the mid-30s to listen to what the organizers characterized as “rants” on a variety of topics.

Blair Ecker of Pine River commended three members of the audience — Richard “George” Burton, Guy Green and Jan Burton — who sought public office but were unsuccessful last fall. George Burton ran for Congress. Green ran for Brainerd mayor and Burton’s mother, Jan, ran for the Brainerd City Council.

Ecker, who quoted Samuel Adams and Thomas Paine, urged the Tea Party followers to not allow themselves to be labeled as merely and anti-tax group. He emphasized how important their participation in civic affairs was.

“We’re, most likely, the last line of defense between liberty and tyranny,”  he said.

The Pine River man said the people who showed up in Friday’s cold and wind proved they were serious despite how they might be portrayed in the media. 

“The Tea Party  has been tarred and feathered in the mainstream media,” Ecker said.

George Burton of rural Brainerd, who ran as the Constitution Party candidate, reflected on what’s transpired after their political losses.

“What we got out of all that is a continuing mess,” he said. “The can’s getting kicked down the road.”

Burton, dressed in a white wig and a waistcoat that was mindful of the 1770s, noted the rally’s location was close to the multi-million dollar College Drive project. He criticized that project as well as unfunded mandates and wars he said the nation can’t afford.

“Our federal mess is going to swallow us whole,” he said.

Green, a founding member of the Minnesota Freedom Council, urged the crowd to speak their mind because they had no control of how they might be labeled by the media.

“The press ... has an agenda,” Green said. “Everyone has an agenda. The press will not find us acceptable.

He urged people not to be discouraged, stating there would be conflicts of interest revealed related to the sheriff’s department, the airport and voter fraud allegations.

Mike Belisle, a truck driver from Pillager, said fuel prices are rising and government is trying to restrict freedom of speech while the roads are falling apart.  

Liz Whittemore, 70, of rural Brainerd talked about her activism in the pro-life movement and expressed the fear “they’re probably going to try to kill the older people.”

Her husband, Gil Whittemore, said government entitlement programs were going broke and he didn’t see how future generations were going to be able to get the U.S. out of debt. 

Kathy Brown of rural Nisswa said the force of God’s love is the strongest force of all and urged people to speak with love.

George Brancato of Pillager said he was trying to organize a meeting to educate people about the Fair Tax, which is explained at

MIKE O’ROURKE may be reached at or 855-5860.