Apr 15, 2010 9:51 PM by Danielle Lerner
The Tea Party Express was heard loud and clear in Atascadero Thursday.
Hundreds of people gathered to voice their opinions on illegal immigration, taxes and President Obama's recently-passed healthcare bill.
They sang songs, waved flags and held cardboard signs.
Some said no to immigration reform and spending, while others said yes to change.
"Freedom, beyond and above all else, freedom, people want their freedoms," said Dane Senser, a member of the Tea Party.
Thursday's event drew people of all ages.
Fourteen-year-old Joseph White says you are never too young to get involved.
"Obama isn't going to be in office long enough to deal with this debt and its going to get passed on to my generation," White said. "I don't want my generation to have to deal with $2.2 .billion of debt."
The event was not just about protest. For some it was also about getting rid of the stereotypes associated with the Tea Party movement.
"We hate being called racist for expressing our constitutional rights, we hate being overgorverned by the government, and we hate being overtaxed," said Senser. "However we love freedom and we love our country."
Local voices in a national movement, as the Tea Party patriots continue on.
Police officers were on hand at Thursday's event, but it was peaceful.
There was talk of a possible counter protest but that did not happen.
Republican candidate for State Assembly Matt Kokkonen organized the event.
He is up against three other Republicans for that seat in the June primary, Etta Waterfield, Katcho Achadjian and Fred Strong.
Hilda Zacarias is the only Democrat in the running and Paul Polson is the sole Libertarian in the race.
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