For more than a year, grassroots tea party members in Texas and nationwide have called on the federal government to shrink spending, listen to constituents and slow an expansion of the federal government.
On Tuesday, they plan to hold officials accountable for listening to them -- or not.
And tea party supporters are planning to keep up the political pressure long beyond Tuesday, regardless of the outcome of key races in North Texas and nationwide.
"We can't just declare victory on Nov. 2 and go home," said Adrian Murray, president of 912 Project Fort Worth, a conservative grassroots group created last year. "We have a great responsibility as citizens to act as watchdogs to ensure the system doesn't completely go off the rails again as it has over the past 20 years. There's a lot of work to do to fix this mess."
Some had predicted that the tea party would be a flash in the pan; many of those involved in the movement admitted that they had not followed politics, or even voted sometimes, in the past. But when controversial issues such as the stimulus program and revamping the health care system caught their attention, they changed their ways.
"A line has been crossed between all levels of government and the American people," said Angela Cox, president of the Johnson County Tea Party. "We are not shy when it comes to raising our voices when need be and also praising those and their actions that actually do the 'will' of the American people.
"We will be keeping a watchful eye on all in Congress and state legislatures and maintaining open communications with those that are smart enough to listen," she said. "Those who neglect the voice and opinion of the American people will be repaid with very short terms in office, and their political careers will quickly come to an end."
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