Some members of the Knoxville Tea Party have incorporated the organization as a lobbying group in a dispute with other members over its purpose, reports Georgiana Vines.
Benjamin McCroskey, secretary and communications chair of the new board, has sent a letter to the organization’s members about the action. The letter said that “a small group of individuals” had tried to move the focus of the organization from fighting “over taxing, over spending, and over-reach of the federal government” to questions on President Barack Obama’s birth, social issues and radicalizing Islam.
He described their conduct as “intent on disrupting the activities of the KTP and taking over the organization to promote their agenda. This is a direct violation of the membership agreement.”
One of the people ousted with the new board’s action was Antonio Hinton, an organizer of the original Knoxville tea party and prominent at various programs the organization has had over the past year in Knoxville.
A bill requiring that presidential candidates to provide their birth certificates to Tennessee’s secretary of state as a condition of getting on the Tennessee ballot was killed Wednesday in a House Subcommittee.
Rep. Rick Womick, R-Rockvale, said the proposal was inspired by constituents who doubt that President Obama was born in the United States. Passage of the bill, he said, would “put this issue to rest,” even though he personally believes Obama is a citizen.
“What this really boils down to is enforcing our Constitution,” said Womick. “I think he (Obama) does have a birth certificate and I don’t think he’s afraid to show it.”
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner questioned whether the bill was constitutional, since the federal government is in charge of federal elections. Womick said that it was, thanks to the 10th Amendment.
“I thought all this (controversy over Obama’s birthplace) was dying down,” said Turner. “I’m almost kind of stunned that this is up here.”
But Womick said many citizens, including about 200 in his Rutherford County district, continue to believe Obama was born outside the United States and thus ineligible to serve as president.
“All he has to do is present that birth certificate and he’ll be on the ballot,” said Womick.
Rep. Bob Ramsey, R-Maryville, who chairs the State and Local Government Subcommittee, called for a voice vote, then promptly declared the bill had failed.
“I think this shows some people up here don’t believe that crazy birther stuff,” said Turner afterwards.
Two Rutherford County legislators are sponsoring a bill that would require U.S. presidential candidates to prove to the state of Tennessee they were born U.S. citizens in order to run for office, reports the Daily News Journal.
State Sen. Bill Ketron said he proposed the bill because he thinks President Barack Obama might be hiding the fact he was born in another country.
“Why can’t he (Obama) come forward and show he is a citizen?” Ketron said Friday, adding he has read articles stating Obama has spent $2 million from his campaign fund fighting lawsuits to keep from showing his birth certificate.
Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, and state Rep. Rick Womick, R-Murfreesboro, filed the bill that would force those running for president to file a sworn affidavit with the secretary of state proving they meet “constitutional residency requirements.” The bill puts Tennessee in league with some 10 other states considering similar legislation.
Ketron said when the bill was brought to him for sponsorship, he decided, if nothing else, it would give the state of Tennessee a chance to vet the matter and determine if it needed legislation. But, he added that if Obama has spent $2 million protecting his birth certificate from lawsuits, “I would lean on the side of he’s trying to hide something and he’s not a citizen.”
Ketron’s doubts are like those of “birther” activists, who believe Obama has refused to show the long form of his birth certificate because he was born in Kenya, the homeland of his father, and shouldn’t be eligible for the presidency. Critics of the movement say birthers are fanatics whose claims have been repeatedly disproven and who won’t accept any evidence that Obama is a U.S. citizen.
Note: Sen. Mae Beavers first filed a similar bill (SB366), but the legislative website shows the bill has no House sponsor. The Ketron-Womick version is SB1043.