Fresh from winning the Republican nod in Tuesday’s primary election, Armstrong County’s Tom Smith—who will face incumbent Sen. Bob Casey in November’s U.S. Senate race— joined the crowd gathered at North Boundary Park in Cranberry for a Tea Party Express rally.
“This is the grass roots and this is what’s going to get this country back on track,” said Smith, who has been endorsed by the Tea Party Express. “These are my kind of people.”
Conservative talk radio host Rose Tennent, of The War Room with Quinn and Rose, served as emcee for the event.
Other speakers and entertainers included Tea Party Express Chairwoman Amy Kremer; Mike Holler, author of The Constitution Made Easy; Lloyd Marcus, who wrote The Tea Party Anthem; Diana Nagy, who preformed live during the Tea Party Republican presidential debate on CNN; conservative rapper Polatik and comedian Jim Labriola, who appeared on the popular TV show Home Improvement.
A regular on Fox News, Debbie Lee also spoke to the crowd about her son, Marc Lee, a Navy SEAL who was killed in 2006 during a firefight with insurgents in Ramadi, Iraq. Lee said her son, who held off the enemy while his team rescued a wounded soldier from a rooftop, made the ultimate sacrifice so Americans could continue to enjoy the freedoms they have today.
“To all you who have gone before us, Marc, and the rest of your buddies and teammates, we will never forget you,” she said in her speech. “Thank you for being those patriots that won’t ever forget the sacrifice our men and women have made in the military.”
The event attracted hundreds of people from around the region, many of them dressed in red, white and blue and carrying American flags or homemade signs. Among them was Harmony resident Tom Ayres, who said he had never been to a Tea Party rally before. He called the experience “eye-opening.”
“I’m tired of big government,” he said of why he attended Friday's event.
Traveling in two large tour buses, The Tea Party Express next heads to Cleveland for another event Friday evening. From there, the tour will continue with stops in Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and Texas. This is the organization’s sixth national bus tour.
Did you attend Friday’s Tea Party Express kickoff in Cranberry? What do you like or dislike about the movement? Share your thoughts in the comment section.