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Conservative 'tea party' movement to move inside Century II for winter political rally

TylerA conservative group has announced plans for a February “tea party” political rally at the Century II Convention Center, which will be Wichita’s fifth such event and its first to be held indoors.

Kansans for Liberty has booked the Exhibition Hall at the Century II Convention Center for its “Winter Rally 2010,” said Lynda Tyler, who organized the political group earlier this year.

The agenda is still being worked out, but planners are expecting to have a forum or debate for candidates in 4th Congressional District race. That will be held in conjunction with Independence Caucus, a national group that advocates for limited government, tax reform, political ethics and government transparency, Tyler said.

Andrew Gray, chairman of the Kansas Libertarian Party, is expected to speak. Smart Girl Politics, a conservative women’s group, will staff a voter-registration table, Tyler said.

The tea party movement draws its name from the Boston Tea Party of 1773, a protest raid on British merchant ships that helped solidify support for American independence.

The modern tea party movement has been widely promoted by Fox News and other conservative-oriented media.

Wichita’s first large-scale tea party rally was held near the Mid-Continent Airport Post Office on April 15, the deadline day for mailing income tax filings.

Subsequent tea parties have been held outside the Sedgwick County Courthouse, in Sedgwick County Park and in the parking lot at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium.

The most recent two tea parties were organized by Kansans for Liberty, an umbrella group Tyler started to keep the movement’s momentum going.

In addition to Independence Caucus and Smart Girl Politics, Kansans for Liberty includes representatives from Young Americans for Liberty, the John Birch Society, Oathkeepers, Tea Party Patriots and the 9/12 organization started by Fox News commentator Glenn Beck.

Tyler said weather was the dominant factor in deciding to hold the next tea party at an indoor venue. It is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. on Feb. 20.

Organizers are planning for the event to be open to the public for free, as the other tea parties have been. But they are leaving open the option of charging for admission if they bring in a nationally known speaker, Tyler said.