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Armey inspires local conservatives

| Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Now that Tea Party activists have propelled Republicans back to power in Washington, they must start pushing for legislative victories, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey said on Tuesday night at a conservative rally in Moon.

More than 250 activists gathered at the Embassy Suites in Moon for a daylong conference to discuss how to capitalize on the gains made during the 2010 elections in 2012, when the White House and 23 Senate seats held by Democrats are up for re-election.

"We wrote the narrative of (the 2010) national election," Armey said. "Now our task is to start winning the policy wars."

Topping that list is a state Senate bill that would allow parents to use state money for private school tuition. Armey said supporting the bill is a moral imperative and would weaken teachers unions, which he called "the scariest union of all."

"It's a fight worth making for the children themselves," Armey said. "School choice breaks the monopoly control" of public education.

The legislative fight also is a test of whether the Tea Party will remain a force in American politics, he said.

"We have got to be able to demonstrate that we are a force of conviction and commitment. We are not going away," said Armey, a Texas Republican who lead the caucus from 1995 to 2003.

Armey retired in 2003 and joined Freedomworks, the Washington, D.C.-based conservative advocacy organization that organized the conference, which included numerous Western Pennsylvania Tea Party and like-minded groups.

"You have the best and biggest opportunity in 30 years to take back this country," said Bob Basso, a motivational speaker and conservative activist.

Tea Party activists need to learn to communicate more effectively if they're going to broaden their appeal, Basso said.

"I am not here to support Adolf Hitler, but every one of his speeches began the same way. 'It is my unshakable belief that ...' My friends, take a tip from the enemy. You've got to announce your unshakable belief in terms of principle," Basso said.

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