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By JOHN FRIEDLEIN
ELIZABETHTOWN — A group protesting government spending turned Public Square into Boston Harbor on Wednesday.
The Tax Day Tea Party — modeled after the 1773 colonists’ protest of taxation without representation — drew a crowd of what a police officer guessed was 250 to 300 people. They carried signs with messages such as, “Say No to Socialism,” and “Stop the Pork.”
Coinciding with federal tax deadline day, it was one of many similar protests across the country. Participants spoke out against programs such as bailouts and federal economic stimulus.
“I’m mad as hell,” said Dee Underwood, who earlier in the day attended a Tea Party protest in her hometown of Louisville. She said she is upset because she pays enough taxes and her, her children’s and grandchildren’s futures are being spent.
The registered Democrat wore tea bags as earrings. Other protesters hung them from signs.
“We are headed in the wrong direction,” said Lowell Todd of Vine Grove. Specifically, he mentioned the government spending money it doesn’t have and bailing out private enterprise.
Speakers standing in front of the county courthouse had to compete with honking of drivers who may have read a sign telling them to honk if they’re overtaxed.
Organizer Debra Tennison drew cheers when she said, “Washington, can you hear us now?” She also said she is against an “out-of-control spending binge that Congress is on right now.” She asked: “Did they just win the lottery, and we didn’t hear about it?”
The mission of the Tea Party was to increase voter awareness, encourage people to educate themselves on issues and to challenge them to get involved with the process of the government, Tennison said.
“We can no longer afford to be sitting silently on the sidelines,” she said.
State Rep. Tim Moore, R-Elizabethtown, told the crowd that colonists were protesting a British government that was aloof and distant. We have the same problem today in Washington, he said.
“The government is taking an ever-bigger chunk out of our paychecks,” he said, mentioning how this is the case at both the state and federal levels. “We need to send a message loud and clear that we’re tired of it and we’ve had enough,” he said.
Moore also said the federal economic stimulus package will create debt and won’t dig us out of any economic hole.
“We’re tired of gaining in the short run at the cost of our long-term economic health,” he said after the speech. Kentucky turned down some of these funds when they had strings attached.
Federal stimulus money will be spent locally on programs such as more buses and vans to transport workers to Fort Knox. And a factory that would make batteries for hybrid and electric cars may locate in Glendale if stimulus money is made available.
Moore said a battery factory and preparing for the Army post realignment are good investments that will have returns.
“Collectively, nationally, we’ve got to send a signal: Don’t keep putting us further in debt,” he said.
John Friedlein can be reached at 505-1746.