Laurens County Tea Party AccomplishmentsLaurens County Tea Party began in April 2009 with our first Freedom Rally. Our group formally organized shortly afterward, and since then, we have held annual Freedom Rallies. Each Rally has been a success, with an average of 200 people per rally. Our first rally in 2009 focused mainly on taxes and national debt. Our next five rallies addressed taxes and debt, but as President Obama's policies continued to encroach on our rights, the focus broadened to freedom in general. Our 2015 Rally focused on Religious Liberty. 2016: January Guest speaker: Ryan Thorne, owner of Thorne Ambulance. Ryan detailed the horrendous harassment he suffered from the government through running his business. Vetting Committee reports were given on the top 5 Presidential candidates. Members of LCTP attended the SC Tea Party Coalition Convention in Myrtle Beach. The Vetting Committee vetted the Presidential Candidates and made that information available to our members and the public. February Presidential Straw Poll taken at our February meeting. Speakers provided a re-cap of some of the topics from the Tea Party Convention. Rick Shealy: EMP; Brenda Stewart: Project Veritas; Kaaren Mann: Our Vulnerable Military Under Obama; David Root: Overview of the Convention; and Dianne Belsom: Refugee Resettlement. March Immigration and Refugee Resettlement Forum: James Simpson, Center for Security Policy; Brian Bilbro: plaintiff in a lawsuit against Haley, DSS, and 2 private groups over the Refugee Resettlement Issue; Lauren Martel, attorney for Brian Bilbro. Community Leaders Luncheon: Refugee Resettlement Forum, with the same speakers listed above, along with Sen. Danny Verdin. Invitees included all city councils and mayors for Laurens, Clinton, and Gray Court; County Council; District 55 and 56 School Boards and Superintendents; police chiefs/Sheriff; our legislation delegation; solicitor general; and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce. April County wide Luncheon for Pastors and Christian Leaders to introduce The Alliance, a network of Christian leaders who have come together to advance and defend the cause of family, faith, and freedom throughout our state and engage our culture with the gospel and biblical values. Mark Cathcart, candidate for SC House District 42, was the guest speaker at our monthly meeting. May Elected Officials Luncheon to hear expert John Anthony speak about the dangers of the AFFH (Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing). Laurens County Candidate Forum: all candidates on the Primary ballot were invited. June Guest speaker at our monthly meeting: Sheri Few, Founder and President of SCPIE (SC Parents Involved in Education.) July and August: No monthly meetings held; instead, LCTP sponsored 3 Police Appreciation Luncheons: one for the City of Clinton, the City of Laurens, and the Sheriff’s Department. We provided BBQ luncheons and an appreciation ceremony, plus prayer for our officers. We had great community support and the luncheons were very rewarding! September Keith Tripp was the guest speaker at our monthly meeting. His topic was “How Lawyers Have Perverted the Constitution and Became our Masters.” October LCTP hosted a booth at the annual Squealin’ on the Square Festival LCTP hosted a candidate Meet and Greet. All local candidates on the ballot in Laurens County were invited. LCTP provided refreshments. November Cameron Runyon, Former City Councilman, Columbia, SC, was our guest speaker. His topic was “The Battle for the American Mind: Leftism vs. Conservatism. December Annual Christmas Party Our members also participated in the following activities: Attending Rallies, presidential forums, and meetings around the state. Our Legislative Committee met with our Laurens Delegation to discuss legislation for the coming session in Columbia. Helped elect candidates who best reflected our values. Attended County Council meetings. Continued our involvement in the Laurens County Republican Party. 2015: January: Guest speaker: Ashley Landess, President, SC Policy Council February: Laurens/Clinton Candidate Forum for Mayor March: Guest speaker: Mark Sanders: The Original Intent of the Constitution and the Federal Reserve. April: Bob Menges, SC State Director and Regional Legislative Director, Convention of States Project. Topic: Article V and The Convention of States. May: Laurens Police Chief Sonny Ledda: The State of Policing and Possible Effects of the DOJ Report on Ferguson and Policing in General. June: no tea party meeting July: Pastor Bob Woodard: Tyranny as it Relates to Religious Persecution August: Sen. Lee Bright: Update on the last legislative session in Columbia, how to stand firm on your principles, and what we can do moving forward. September: Organized a CWP class. Guest speaker at our monthly meeting: Vince Coakley, WORD radio talk show host. “A Blueprint to Restore Our Constitutional Republic.” Presidential Straw Poll October: Religious Freedom Rally at Lucas Ave. Baptist Church. Speakers: Rev. Rafael Cruz, Rev. Mike Gonzalez, Rev. Mike Post, Sen. Danny Verdin, Councilman Stewart Jones, Rev. Adam Powers November: Support our local police forum. Invited guests: all county-wide police officers. Speakers: Sheriff Ricky Chastain, Laurens Police Chief Sonny Ledda, and Clinton Director of Public Safety, Robin Morse. December: Christmas Party Our members also participated in the following activities: Attending Rallies, presidential forums, and meetings around the state, including the annual SC Tea Party Convention in Myrtle Beach. Attending an effort to stop the gas tax hike in Columbia in January. Our Legislative Committee met with our Laurens Delegation to discuss legislation for the coming session in Columbia. Attended County Council meetings. Continued our involvement in the Laurens County Republican Party. President Dianne Belsom spoke to a class at Presbyterian College about IRS targeting.
Members attended the Nullify Obamacare Rally in Columbia.
Monthly meeting: Understanding the Constitution Part 2, presented by Keith Tripp.
Members attended the SC Tea Party Coalition Convention.
Guest speaker at our monthly meeting: Stewart Jones. Topic: NDAA
Guest speaker: Candidate for SC Sup. of Education, Sheri Few
Guest speakers: Joe Berry, Oathkeepers; Diane Hardy, Greenville Tea Party Board Member: "Effectively Communicating the Tea Party Message."
May: Liberty is Rising Rally at the Capitol Theater.
Guest speakers: Keith Tripp: The Truth about Illegal Immigration; Stewart Jones: County Council Update.
Guest speaker: Thomas Ravenel, Candidate for U.S. Senate
"Open Mic Night." Speakers: Keith Tripp, Stewart Jones, William Weir (2nd Amendment and SC Law), and Chris Swanson.
Oct.: Booth at Squealin' on the Square BBQ Festival in downtown Laurens.
Laurens County Tea Party finally received our 501c4 tax-exempt status, 4 years and 3 months after applying.
Guest speaker at monthly meeting: U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan
Dianne Belsom, President, spoke to a class at Presbyterian College about the Tea Party and IRS Targeting.
Presentation of our SC Patriot's Award to U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy
Guest speaker: Henry McMaster, Lt. Gov.-Elect
Dec.: Christmas PartyOur members also: -- attended Rallies around the state, on issues ranging from Freedom, to stopping Obamacare, and opposing Common Core. -- attended Congressional hearings in Columbia --attended County Council meetings -- got involved in the Republican Party -- met with our elected representatives -- made phone calls and sent emails to our representatives on important issues -- vetted the candidates in nearly all contested races and made that information available to the public. --participated in several campaigns locally and state-wide. -- networked with other patriots around the state
January:Stop Obamacare Town Hall. Speakers: Jesse Graston, Rep. Mike Pitts, Rep. Bill Chumley http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6t4UeeQho4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yq_jH3TKHEQ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nANxvsqovPg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzgGdsU0mHA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uf7iuKD6j6U February: Topic: How the Tea Party Can Elect a Presidential Conservative Candidate March: Topic: 2nd Amendment Rights April: Partnered with Presbyterian College Republicans for a movie night. We showed “The Determinators,” a movie about how Obamacare will impact us. Monthly meeting topic: 2013 Goals and Objectives for Laurens County Tea Party May: Cookout June: 2nd Amendment Rally: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tua1DWFvzY http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaBVAehxbbA President Dianne Belsom testified in Washington, D.C. before the House Ways and Means Committee due to IRS harassment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTAhjOqQBXM&feature=youtu.be Monthly meeting: topic: Capitalism and Christianity Members also passed a Resolution opposing Common Core. August: Topic: Understanding the Constitution Part 1 September: Topic: Agenda 21/Sustainable Development October: Table at local festival, “Squealin’ on the Square.” Monthly meeting topic: “Dangers of pending free trade agreements, US EU merger, and the coming New World Order.” November: Candidate Forum U.S. Senate Race: Candidates participating: State Sen. Lee Bright and Richard Cash. Candidates invited but declined: Bill Connor and Nancy Mace. http://www.youtube.com/user/SCPatriotGirl General: Our members also: -- attended Rallies around the state, on issues ranging from Freedom, to stopping Obamacare, and opposing Common Core. -- attended Congressional hearings in Columbia --attended County Council meetings -- got involved in the Republican Party -- met with our elected representatives -- made phone calls and sent emails to our representatives on important issues -- attended the SC Tea Party Convention in Myrtle Beach -- networked with other patriots around the state -- Our President, Dianne Belsom, traveled to D.C. twice in order to speak out on the IRS harassment that our group has endured. (And the IRS still has not responded to our application for 501c4 status, over three and a half years after we applied.)