Marie Storm of White City was one of about 250 people at a Tea Party protest Saturday at Veterans Memorial Park near the Medford Armory. - Jamie Lusch

Tea Party participants berate government taxing, spending

MEDFORD — "The only sector in the state of Oregon that's growing is government," Republican State Rep. Sal Esquivel told a crowd at a taxpayer protest Saturday in Medford.

The sun was shining and flags were fluttering as an estimated 250 people turned out for another Tea Party protest, this one at Veterans Memorial Park, where people gathered to hear legislators and candidates speak out against taxation and government spending.

The Tea Party protests, being held by conservative groups around the country in recent weeks, have been spurred by the current economic situation, with a name inspired by the Boston Tea Party in 1773.

"I live on a budget. Why can't you?" read one sign. Others relayed messages unrelated to taxes, such as: "My President would be legal" and "Got a birth certificate?"

Russ Walker, northwest director for a Washington, D.C.-based group called FreedomWorks, called on Jackson County commissioners to rescind a recent raise for elected county officials.

"Jackson County officials should not have voted a raise in these times, but they did take a $16 million deficit and turn it into a (projected) $60 million surplus," said Esquivel.

"I call Salem tax-town USA," announced Esquivel, who accused his fellow legislators of spending more time talking about puppy mills and how many ounces of beer are in a glass than they do creating jobs.

Medford School Board candidates Roger McPherson and Shawna Dye were among those who were allotted five minutes to speak at the rally.

McPherson encouraged those in attendance to be a conservative voice in the liberal school system.

"Fairness, responsibility and freedom is why we're all here," said Dye.

"The bank is the bank of China," said Garth Harrington, addressing the issue of national debt. "We're fresh out of options when it comes to refinancing and China holds the bill," he said.

Preaching to the choir is lovely and frustrating, observed Rosemary Harrington.

"At one time we took care of ourselves and accepted responsibility without asking for help," Rosemary Harrington said. "Stop expecting the government to step in and solve our problems."

Walker said the next step for Republicans on the national level is to challenge the economic stimulus package in federal court.

"Congress gave up powers they were not authorized to give up to the president," Walker said.

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