WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - Members of the Tea Party in Wichita Falls are working to persuade residents to vote "No." in the upcoming bond election. As News Channel 6 has reported, they have partnered with the political action committee from Arlington, Texas called Texans for Freedom.
Tonight, the members gathered to discuss the bond and how they will be campaigning against it. The treasurer of Texans for Freedom, Bill Eastland, was in attendance.
Eastland explained what he feels about the projects on the bond, "You've got to keep your streets rebuilt and maintained. I'm sure there are some things I could agree with; however, I think it's probably the best idea to vote all the propositions down."
CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Henry Florsheim feels Eastland should not be getting involved in another city's bond election. He said, "They are ad agencies and political parties that seek to shoot down tax propositions…they don't know how this stuff works. I guarantee you can't find a single example of them coming out in favor of a proposition for some community, because they decided somehow 'Oh, in our expert opinion, this proposition will work'."
Eastland said his PAC has supported some bonds in the past, but he also said they have been against many in north Texas. They recently campaigned against a few bonds in Ellis County.
According to him, funds are gathered by citizens in whichever area the committee is campaigning. $2,000 has been raised in Wichita Falls and about $20,000 has been raised from what he calls "in kind contributions."
The canvasing materials that are being used are generic and have been used by the PAC in other bond elections. Eastland said none of the money that has been raised in Wichita Falls has been spent yet.
A few members do not completely oppose every item on the ballot. Keven Hunter, a local Tea Party Member, said, "The extension of Maplewood going all the way through to Barnett road by Walmart – it would ease traffic." Like Eastland he feels that it is necessary to maintain roads as well.
Ed Stein is the member of the party that reached out to the Texans for Freedom committee. He thinks a memorial for veterans is a good idea, but he'd rather donate money to it willingly. He said, "I will not vote yes while you go to my neighbor and reach into his pocket."
Eastland said he would contribute financially to a memorial wall. He also said he would be willing to meet with Henry Florsheim to discuss what he feels should happen for the city.
Early voting for the bond begins this coming Monday on April 23.