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Tea party speakers sound off

The themes at this year’s tea party event in Brainerd were as diverse as the speakers who addressed the crowd Monday at Gregory Park.

In typical freewheeling fashion, a truck driver, a politician, a soldier and a high school student each addressed a crowd of more than 50 to criticize big government and the direction in which they see the U.S. heading.

Adam Weiss, a Brainerd High School senior, said the U.S. Constitution is disregarded and despised by our leaders. He spoke out against what he termed asinine government regulations which are part of a “nanny state” and said the U.S. couldn’t stand four more years of an autocratic president.

Mike Belisle, a truck driver, spoke out against IRS intrusion and taxation.

“Let’s down-size D.C.” Belisle said.

An National Rifle Association member urged people to join that organization and said that without that organization “I don’t believe we would have our guns today.”

Tony Bauer spoke against the slow creep of socialized government and said those attending the tea party event were not against paying taxes but wanted a say in how those taxes were spent.

“We are Americans,” he said. “We pay our way.”

His message to Washington, D.C. — “Get the hell out of our way,” — was one which triggered applause from the crowd.

Bauer urged those attending to run for office, write letters to newspapers or politicians or to volunteer to be an election judge.

“Get the U.S. out of the U.N. and the U.N. out of the U.S.” he concluded.

Chris Kellett of Brainerd, the Republican-endorsed candidate for House District 10A, said she’s had enough of government telling people it knows better than the people. She also criticized how the nation’s constitutional system of restraints has been ignored.

“Our freedom has been eroded away from right under our noses,” Kellett said.

Pastor Ken Carlton of the Providence Community Church of Crosslake urged the nation to get back to the principles of the founding fathers.

Kahren Rudbeck, a former Minnesotan who now lives in Alaska, urged people to learn about political candidates in what she termed “the most important election in our lifetime.”

Steve Moline of Lake Shore said the current government will take away citizens’ guns if it is allowed to. He also said that God is missing in action in today’s culture.

Jeff Czeczok, a member of the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport Commission, described the national debt as astronomical and noted that it wasn’t easy to express one’s concerns to a city council member or member of Congress.

Guy Green, a Brainerd mayoral candidate in 2010, said critics of the tea party movement would be ridiculed as reactionaries. He said the Democratic Party has long been famous as a criminal enterprise and faulted the Republican Party for cowardice and for compromising with corruption.

“If we give them (Republicans) a second chance, we can not, will not tolerate another failure,” Green said.

James Erfurth, a National Guard member who returned home from Afghanistan a few weeks ago, said tea party backers were not a political party but were Americans who based their platform on the documents drawn up by the founding fathers.

Stella Czeczok said she had to confess that she was brought up as a Democrat and that she voted for President Barack Obama, a politician she described as an anti-Christ.

“George Soros is the chief anti-Christ and Obama is his puppet,” she said.

The Brainerd area tea party event is usually conducted close to the date when taxes are due. An April 16 event was postponed until Monday when an unexpected snow storm hit Brainerd.

MIKE O’ROURKE may be reached at 855-5860 or He may be followed on Twitter at

Mike O'Rourke
Mike O'Rourke began his career at the Brainerd Dispatch in 1978 as a general assignment reporter. He was named city editor in 1981 and associate editor in 1999. He covers politics and writes features and editorials.
(218) 855-5860