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There won’t be any federal elections this year -- but local tea party members concerned about the country’s direction say now isn’t the time to let up.

More than 50 people rallied Saturday in Memorial Park for the South Dakota Tea Party Alliance’s annual “Tax Day” rally, supporting a message of a more conservative course for the country.

“We must balance the budget without raising taxes. We cannot do this any more,” said Mark Skogerboe, a Minnesota activist who addressed the rally. “Taxed enough already?”

Tea Party Alliance president Shad Olson said the Republican victories in the November elections had caused some people to undergo a “going home.”

“Some people feel we’ve done our duty for God and country, and we’ve been successful at infusing enough change in the government that we don’t have to worry about it as much,” Olson said. “I hope what people take away from today is that the conversation needs to continue.”

Two years ago, Olson said, a tea party “Tax Day” rally attracted between 1,500 and 2,000 people.

“It’s not quite as impassioned now, in terms of public display,” he said. “But the conversation continues in the United States, and even in the state of South Dakota, about which direction our government’s going to head and what we’re going to do as far as a nation.”

One message that resonated with many rallygoers Saturday was that the federal government has overstepped the bounds set by the U.S. Constitution in the 18th century.

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Congress “can raise money for debt, common defense and for the general welfare,” Jim Fletcher of Rapid City said. “They’re not doing that now. They’re spending on anything.”

Olson called the people at Saturday’s rally “some of the most impassioned and dedicated of the conservative movement in the Black Hills and surrounding areas.” His hope is that those activists aren’t satisfied with voting in Republican members of Congress last year.

“November of 2012 is going to be just as important, if not more important, than November of 2010 in determining our future course as a country,” he said.

Contact David Montgomery at 394-8329 or david.montgomery@rapidcityjournal.com.

 

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