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On December 11th I was involved in hosting a Tennessee Tea Party Leadership Seminar at the Hilton Gardens in Knoxville. Mark Herr from Memphis and Ray Comeaux from Mountain City were also hosts. The objective was primarily to share ideas among tea party groups, plan goals for 2011 and determine the priority of legislation we would like drafted and introduced into the state legislature.

It was a very successful event and much was accomplished. The number one legislative concern was restoring state’s rights and pushing back against an over-reaching and ever more dominant Federal government. Recruiting good candidates with tea party principles was also a major concern.

We decided to put as much pressure on our elected state legislative representatives as possible. We want to draft several pieces of legislation and carry them over to Nashville for the opening week of the legislative session. The session starts on January 11th, 2011. It looks like we are going to try to rally the tea party movement on January 12th to join forces in Nashville and meet at Legislative Plaza. We will welcome our new and old legislators back to work and let them know what we are expecting from them. We will try to get commitments to carry bills into the House and Senate on this day. Meetings with various legislators that day will be preset before we arrive in Nashville. We want as many people as possible in Nashville on Wednesday the 12th wearing their respective tea party shirts for all to see. What a sight that will be and what a positive message that will send to the legislators about our determination.

We hope to have these leadership meetings every 3 or 4 months to build relationships, improve our networking and refine our objectives as needed. Growing our tea party membership is always an important concern and we will be presenting a list of ideas to do just that before long.

We have some very talented people involved in this grassroots tea party movement and two of those, Hal Rounds and Ben Cunningham spoke about legislative matters and tax issues during our seminar. We really have enormous opportunities to educate our local and state officials in this regard. We must build relationships and introduce legislation to our locally elected politicians. In many instances, these people don’t know near as mush as we give them credit for. We must do a better job in this area.

In closing, I just want to state that I think 2011 will be an extremely successful year for the tea party’s of Tennessee. We are working together better than ever and have learned from our numerous mistakes. Washington is still important and they must hear from us early and often but Tennessee legislation will bear the most fruit. You might consider researching the term and meaning of Interstate Compacts was we are hopeful these agreements offer a means by which the many states can restore power back to themselves and away from Washington. I will give updates from time to time on these Leadership Conferences as we hold more of them.

Your In Liberty,

D. Kevin Desmond

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"Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government."
...Thomas Jefferson