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Oklahomans Rally At State Capitol Tea Party

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About 500 people were in attendance. About 500 people were in attendance.
Many Tea Party attendees brought signs, such as the one pictured. Many Tea Party attendees brought signs, such as the one pictured.
Sooner Tea Party organized Thursday's rally to coincide with Tax Day. Sooner Tea Party organized Thursday's rally to coincide with Tax Day.

Staff and Wire Reports

OKLAHOMA CITY – Hundreds of Oklahomans rallied at a Tea Party today at the state capitol.

Tea party activists preached in favor of a pushback against federal government mandates and excessive spending. The sermon struck a chord among the throngs of people gathered at the steps of the state Capitol.

"All generations, each life is supposed to be better," said Tea Party participant Gloria Bradley. "But now, our grandchildren won't have as good a life as we do it he doesn't stop spending."

Throughout the crowd, there was a sea of a signs. "Don't tread on me," a reference to state's rights, and "taxed enough already," is a clear nod toward the spending in Washington. One sign even references slavery and the Obama taxes.

Americans for Prosperity in Oklahoma has organized more than 25 events across the state, Director Stuart Jolly said.

Jolly was at the state Capitol this morning preparing for a rally that began at 11 a.m.

"We're just happy to have the opportunity to let folks vent their frustrations," Jolly said.

Jolly said participants are being encouraged to go inside the Capitol and introduce themselves to their legislators and explain their positions.

"In a sense, yes, we're all being enslaved, one day at a time, one dollar at a time," Tea Party participant Rick Bradley said.

Sooner Tea Party organized Thursday's rally, deliberately to coincide with the federal tax deadline. About 500 people were in attendance, some even brought their children. Campaign staffers used the event to draw attention to their candidates of choice, all the while insisting tea parties are welcoming of everyone.

"It's not necessarily partisan, it's really about some fundamental core belief in the constitutionality," Willard Kizey, said.

And a belief that Democrats don't have the monopoly on federal spending.

"Neither party," said Gloria Bradley. "We're Independent, now. We were Republican, but we're Independent now. We want to have a say."

"We want spending under control; we want the government under control," Stuart Jolly said. "We want them to focus on Oklahomans and focus on what's right and what's good for Oklahomans."

Tea Parities kicked off last night where more than 1,000 people attended a rally at the state Capitol. Speakers lashed out at a federal government they say is trampling on the individual liberties of citizens.

The group waved flags that read "Don't Tread on Me" and held signs criticizing federal spending as organizers offered prayers and played patriotic music.

The event was organized by the Oklahoma City Tea Party, which presented "Patriot Awards" to local conservative radio host Mark Shannon and Vicki Behenna of Edmond, whose son, former Army 1st Lt. Michael Behenna, was sentenced to a military prison for shooting and killing an Iraqi detainee during a May 2008 interrogation.

Shannon urged the group to head to the polls in November and elect conservatives who will abide by constitutional principles.

"We don't need to be complacent about how our elected officials run this country," Shannon said.

Tea partiers in Washington D.C., Ohio, Wisconsin, Hawaii and Georgia also organized rallies coinciding with the federal income tax deadline.

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