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Rally draws more than 500 to North Fort Myers

By Staff | Oct 9, 2009

More than 500 people registered for the FreedomWorks rally held Wednesday at the Shell Factory & Nature Park in North Fort Myers.
Founded in 1984, FreedomWorks is a grassroots movement headquartered in Washington, D.C., which has hundreds of thousands of volunteers nationwide. The group’s cause is to “fight for lower taxes, less government and more freedom,” said officials.
The group’s chairman is former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey, who was the key speaker Wednesday. He opened his remarks with, “I shudder at the word politician.”
Of the group, Armey said, “We’re about smaller, more responsible government, effectively doing on a cost-effective basis only doing what is necessary to do and authorized by the constitution.
“We need to keep on keeping on,” he said. “This is where the Tea Party started. Our organization has grown all over the country bigger than I ever imagined or seen. We need to keep it on because this is the fight of our life.”
Armey’s remarks included “hard work beats daddy’s money,” and he noted that the group still has a lot of work ahead.
“It was a great privilege for me to be in Congress,” he said, when asked about his political career. “I think anyone would see it that way. It was a great responsibility. I tried to do it to the best of my ability, without embarrassing my family. I’ll look back and say it was a privilege, but it’s time to move on and do more.”
“I came today to see what this is all about,” said Dick Ripp, a candidate for the District 2 seat on the Lee County Board of County Commissioners. “These are causes I generally agree with: less government, less government spending. These are things I want to bring to Lee County.”
Local organizer and Cape Coral resident Mary Rakovich said she never got involved with politics until last year.
“I got interested in politics for the first time in my life last summer,” she said. “I got on the Internet and started reading about our candidates.”
Rakovich joined FreedomWorks and went to an activist training. She then met Brendan Steinhauser, director of federal and state campaigns and grassroots coordinator, and decided to become more involved.
“They are an excellent resource, especially for someone who is just learning to be an activist and doesn’t have a clue of what’s going on, like I was,” Rakovich said.
Renee Haines, of Fort Myers, said fear brought her to Wednesday’s rally.
“I am very fearful with the way our country is going. I think government is out of control,” she said. “I am not racist, I don’t have a racist bone in my body. I’m thrilled we have a black man as president. I just don’t want that one.”
Adam Brandon, vice president of communications for FreedomWorks, and Steinhauser also spoke at the rally.
FreedomWorks recruits, educates, trains and mobilizes hundreds of thousands of volunteer activists. The Web site is: freedomworks.org.