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The tea party that attracted more than 2,000 people to Lincoln Park last month has spawned an organization — the Western Colorado Conservative Alliance — that organizers hope will encourage small-government candidates in next year’s elections.
The ties that bind the alliance together are “outrage over runaway government spending and disregard for the Constitution,” said Dennis White, one of the organizers. “I think those are the biggest things.”
The alliance will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Grand Junction City Hall Auditorium.
The alliance counts among its first members the president and only current member of the Young Republicans at Mesa State College, Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland and Richard Schoenradt, who works with an informal group calling itself the Western Colorado Conservatives.
The alliance admittedly has a strong Republican stripe, said Schoenradt, but that’s more a function of local political registration than the intent of the organizers.
“We’re trying hard to keep it nonpartisan,” Schoenradt said. “If we have conservative Democrats, they’re welcome.”
The main goal, he said, was to build a core alliance of activists in hopes of affecting the outcome of the 2010 election, when the governorship, a U.S. Senate seat, the 3rd Congressional District and several legislative seats are on the ballot.
Diane Dauven, a political-science major at Mesa State College who was involved in organizing the John McCain and Sarah Palin campaign events last year in Grand Junction, said the GOP has become identified as an anti-abortion, anti-stem-cell research and anti-gay
marriage party, to the detriment of its image among young voters.
Lost is an emphasis on individual rights and limited government, Dauven said.
The tea parties around the country forged impressive turnouts, she said, “and I’m not happy about how it’s being pooh-poohed by the left side. I’m appalled at the things that are happening and the direction they are taking this country.”
Rowland, who ran three years ago as the GOP candidate for lieutenant governor, said the effort is geared to conservatism and not party-building and will take on a variety of “issues we care about: taxes, budgeting on the national, state or local level, energy, certainly pro-life, education, health care. It’s open to everyone who cares about these issues from a conservative perspective. It’s not a Republican thing.”
Many of the groups have been operating independently and the alliance will allow like-minded people to work together, she said.
Other members of the alliance include the Two Rivers 9/12 Project, GJResult.com, the Mesa County Republican Party and the Independent Caucus.
The Thursday meeting in the auditorium is intended to be the first of a series conducted on the first Thursday of each month.