News Story

Northern Michigan Tea Party 'Doing Its Homework' on GOP Pols

In Houghton County, C.J. Williams researches political candidates and then posts the information on the "" website.

In Luce County, Tea Party organizer John Waltman scours numerous news websites looking for information on Michigan political candidates and then sends his findings to a list of 800 members.

Who is their northern Michigan audience?

Tea Party members that now research politicians — especially Republicans.

"People gobble that up," said Waltman.

"They are learning to look for these things online," Williams said. "People are informed. People want to be informed"

The Tea Party movement may affiliate more with the Republican Party, but that doesn't mean a free pass to GOP politicians.

That's what Sen. Jason Allen found out. Allen, a GOP state senator from District 37 in northern Michigan, announced he was going to run to fill Bart Stupak's seat. Stupak, who had become the poster child of Tea Party wrath with his vote in favor of President Barack Obama's health care reform bill, announced he is retiring.

Yet Allen's record was under scrutiny soon after he announced.

Allen introduced Senate Bill 731 in August 2009. It would empower the state to unionize 42,000 people hired by elderly or disabled Medicaid recipients to provide personal care services in their homes.

He's also supported tax abatements and subsidies for businesses.

Norm Saari, Allens' chief of staff, is aware of the attacks on Allen and said, "We stand on his record."

Saari said Allen has a record of a "strong, conservative Republican."

Saari said Allen did vote for subsidies if it brought jobs to the state. He said Allen has voted in favor of less government and hasn't voted for any tax increases.

Politicians' voting records are no longer overlooked by the Tea Party movement.

Last week during the tax day demonstrations, Theresea Dickerson of Middleville talked about the Tea Party movement and their quest for knowledge.

She said the Tea Party movement would be a success if "it engages the American people and engages their mind and says, 'This is not right.'"

"If you are not going to do the homework, stay home," Dickerson said

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.