The Chicago Tea Party is an independent coalition of conservatives in Illinois who have united under the umbrella of the Illinois Tea Party in order to bring about changes to Illinois and our country. Our core values are Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government, Free Market Systems, National Security and Individual Responsibility. In order to increase the effectiveness of state and federal government and to call attention to important issues affecting the lives of citizens of Illinois, we have joined forces with other groups, organizations and individuals, both locally and nationally, who share our value system and our belief in American exceptionalism.
We are very proud and humbled to tell you that the Chicago Tea Party Patriots were honored with the Ronald Reagan Award at CPAC 2011 in Washington, DC. The Ronald Reagan Award is CPAC's highest honor and we're one of only four tea party groups in the entire country to receive it. This is a group award recognizing all of your efforts over the past years. Congratulations to everyone.
CPAC says of the award: "From the beginning, the annual Ronald Reagan Award is given not to the generals of the movement, but to the soldiers, the men and women working in the trenches who sacrificed, and in so doing set an example for others. In past years, the award - which is our highest - has gone to grassroots organizers, taxpayer advocates, and those whose names may not be household names, but whose work has affected us all." The American Conservative Union is the nation's oldest and largest grassroots conservative organization and their CPAC conference is the largest annual gathering of conservatives. Chicago Tea Party member and small businessman Brent Hamachek says, "The Tea Party movement is comprised of a very large group of motivated Americans who feel their fundamental rights are being swept away by a government that has essentially gone rogue with regards to the Constitution. While the people are very different in terms of their overall demographics and educational backgrounds they share one thing in common: a deep and abiding concern for individual freedom and responsibility. I am proud to be associated with the Chicago Tea Party and will continue to passionately argue our case at every opportunity."
The tea party movement embodies President Reagan's spirit of freedom and optimism about America's future. Erica Free of Mount Greenwood says, "I am inspired by the genuinely concerned citizens of Chicago who found each other and now work together to create a brighter and stronger America for future generations. The members of the movement do not get discouraged. We know that we are on the right side of history. It is wonderful to be recognized for what we truly are - a grassroots organization."
C.J. Ford says, "Having been a part of the Chicago Tea Party and having participated in many events over the past year, I am inspired by the love of country, our founding principles, liberty and breathe of knowledge of my fellow concerned citizens and their resolve to carry our nation's torch forward so that history will not repeat itself. I am inspired by the multitude of naturalized citizens, many of whom left their homeland for a chance at freedom here, who are participating in the movement and, in turn, reminding us why we are fighting to keep the beacon of liberty alive here. Receiving the Ronald Reagan Award is a fantastic honor for the Chicago Tea Party. That the award is embossed with the moniker of perhaps the most beloved U.S. President in recent memory, who was born and raised in Illinois, will certainly help to inspire us to have the same resolve as our 40th President."
The tea party movement has provided an opportunity for many Chicagoans to get involved in the political process for the first time. Heather Miller of Lakeview says, "I'm thrilled that in Chicago of all places a real live opposition to big government is growing. Working to preserve and restore freedom in America is what I've always wanted to do, but I kept quiet thinking I was alone in my ideals. At my first Chicago Tea Party meeting I found a group that was welcoming and steadfast in their beliefs, but who don't take their politics so seriously that they were unwilling to listen to the other side of the argument. This is an outstanding award and I'm just so happy I played a small part in it."
Julie Gresham of Edison Park says, "I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat. The Chicago Tea Party is comprised of people from many different backgrounds and political views, but there is one thing we can all agree on - the need to limit government's control over us and remain true to the Constitution and our founding documents. I felt compelled to be a part of this important, history changing movement because we cannot sit back and let the government make all our decisions for us. If President Reagan were in office today, I believe there would be no need for the Tea Party movement. Until there are thousands of people like him holding political office across the country, we'll keep defending our Constitution."
Rick Santelli's rant on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade happened more than five years ago and the Chicago Tea Party is still growing. Jeff Tucek says, "I was immediately drawn to the Tea Party movement because of the three core principles - fiscal responsibility, limited government and free markets. I was motivated in joining the Chicago Tea Party because of the willingness of the organization to take on the real issues: pension abuse, the dysfunctional education system, over regulation, etc. In the few months I've been part of the Chicago Tea Party I've seen the ranks steadily increase with talented, knowledgeable and committed citizens."
John Quincy Adams said, "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." Together, we will continue to inspire people to dream more, learn more and do more in teh coming weeks, months and years. The future of our children and grandchildren depends on it.