Hundreds of people turned out at in downtown Petoskey’s Pennsylvania Park to hear speakers that included Michigan Congressional Representative and possible gubernatorial candidate Peter Hoekstra and “Joe the Plumber” at an event hosted by the group Tax and Spend Must End. According to the groups vice president Rich Carlson the event was not officially one of the now well known Tea Parties but more of a Town Hall style meeting.
Acting as a motivational speaker Wisconsin resident Samuel Wurzelbacher, aka “Joe the Plumber” was sure to point out that he supports neither Democrats or Republicans. The stated purpose of his appearances is to try to get people involved in government. “Your voice can be heard and will be heard.” he told the crowd. Wurzelbacher, who gained national attention when he asked then presidential candidate Barak Obama if he was going to raise his taxes, also shared his personal opinions on topics ranging from the treatment he receives from the media to political correctness and the environment.
“I’m glad Tea Parties aren’t a part of the Republican Party” Representative Hoekstra told the crowd during his speech. “Tea Parties didn’t leave the Republican Party, the Republican Party left you and we’ve paid the price for it.” he added.
While tax reform was the primary topic for most of the events speakers health care and the economy were the hot issues with crowd members who participated in an open question and answer session that wrapped up the event. “Congressional members should be the first into any public plan” answered Hoekstra when asked if he would personally sign up for any public health care option.
Michigan Congressional Representative and potential gubernatorial candidate Pete Hoekstra answers a question from an audience member at a Tax and Spend Must End sponsored rally in Petoskey, Michigan's Pennsylvania Park.
When asked about China - U.S. relations by Troy, Michigan resident Dave Dyas Representative Hoekstra responded saying “Entering into permanent normal trade relations with China that was a huge mistake. I voted against that. I think China cheats, they cheat every day, they cheat in every aspect of business. They’re stealing our intellectual property rights, they compete unfairly, they use slave labor, under cap and trade they will use dirty energy, we will use clean energy, we put another burden on top of our workers that make it almost impossible for our workers to compete. We need to go aggressively back after China and put some kind of restrictions on them because of the unfair nature of their competition and don’t kid yourself they’re also building themselves up to be a world power from a military standpoint and the final point is that they are starting to influence foreign policy.” “I have a great concern about China and I think we all need to be concerned, and it does need to be addressed, I don’t think you’ll see it come out of this administration.”
The event, which is the second in Petoskey to feature Wurzelbacher as keynote speaker, drew approximately the same sized crowd as the host groups Tea Party earlier this year at the same location and it went off without incident.
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