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Tea Party kickoff draws overflow crowd

FALLBROOK – Indicators were there that the first Tea Party meeting organized for Fallbrook would draw a good-sized number of citizens, but as it turned out, an overflow crowd of almost 200 showed up at the Sun Center on Main Avenue the evening of March 23 where it was held.

“I was expecting a crowd because we were getting great response from the notice <about the meeting>, but it surprised us and we ended up doing a double meeting to accommodate the overflow crowd,” said Jim Bowles, one of the presenters that evening.

Organized by Cliff and Laura Sumrall, the Fallbrook Tea Party group had enough space for 100 people at the 6:30 p.m. meeting.

When the crowd nearly doubled that number, it was decided the meeting would be done in two sessions.

“We were told to come back at 8 p.m. for a repeat presentation,” said Colette O’Grady. “Some of us had to work, so not all were able to come back to attend, but it was a great turn out for this exciting event.”

The meeting began with an opening prayer by Penny Bowles, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance led by her husband, Jim.

Cliff Sumrall addressed the attendees by explaining how he and his wife, Laura, began discussing the potential of a Tea Party in Fallbrook.

“We met in our garage and this core group of volunteers with the name tags gave birth to what you see now,” said Sumrall, who thanked Roy and Christine Moosa, owners of the Sun Center, for providing the meeting room for the event.

Sarah Bond, the co-founder of the San Diego Tea Party group, also attended the meeting and addressed the crowd.

“ gave us a brief history of the numerous Tea Party groups that have formed across the nation,” said Bowles. “The vast majority are leaderless, nonpartisan groups sharing similar values.”

“She said people are getting frustrated with partisan politics but want to contribute something to get our government back to the American values they hold dear and that these nonpartisan Tea Party groups are giving a voice to those who feel they are not being heard by their elected representatives.”

Bowles’ presentation that evening was on essential nonpartisan values.

“Our founders used four self-evident values (equality, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness) in their Declaration of Independence to rally their fellow Americans and to proclaim to the world the importance of independence from English rule.”

Bowles said the values he presented at the meeting were the result of a consensus of values agreed upon by the initial group that met in the Sumrall’s garage, which included: support for the U.S. Constitution as written and amended; limited government, limited taxation, fiscal responsibility; equality, life, liberty, pursuit of happiness; national sovereignty, national security; government of the people, by the people and for the people; integrity, honesty, humility, love of country, true to oath; rule of law, property rights; common sense over ‘political correctness;’ and peaceful assembly and right to petition government.

“I reminded [everyone] that all of our elected state and national representatives, all members of this nation’s armed forces, all federal employees, and all civil servants take a solemn oath to support and uphold our nation’s constitution and to bear true faith and allegiance to that same constitution,” said Bowles. “Yet, our freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom to bear arms and many, many more of our freedoms, protected by the highest law of the land, are being legislated away by the same elected representatives who swore or affirmed to uphold and protect our freedoms.”

Retired police officer Dan Dakovich followed Bowles’ presentation with a talk on candidate vetting (examination). Dakovich polled those in attendance by asking, “Are you in favor of examining candidates for local office? Should we give candidates a form with questions we feel are important and ask them to respond? Should we invite candidates to come and speak with us so that we can ask them pointed questions and decide whether or not we want to support their candidacy?”

Following the presentation, four special interest groups were formed to move forward with the organization’s goals.

Bowles said the group’s next scheduled event is April 15 and those interested in more information can call the Sumralls at (760) 723-7879 or email

[email protected].


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