By Valerie Baldowski
Republicans in Henry County used Thursday, April 15 -- the deadline to file income tax returns -- to rail against what they called burdensome taxes and wasteful government spending.
The rally was sponsored by the Republican Women of Henry County, the Henry County Tea Party Patriots, the Henry County GOP, and the Henry County Fair Tax Group.
'I'm here fighting for our freedom," said Donna Korb. She and her sister-in-law, Carol Corban, were among about 50 people at the rally on the Square in McDonough.
Since 2009, Korb said she has attended four previous tax rally events in Washington, D.C. "It is very important to me, for my children, and for my grandchildren, to give them the freedom that our grandparents and our great-grandparents had, that we are losing very quickly," she said.
Korb said the issue of taxation is of special concern to her. "Half the people don't pay taxes," she said.
Corban also attended the previous tax rallies in Washington D.C., and said the McDonough rally gave her the opportunity to participate on a local level. "We started last year," she said. "April 15 was our first one. We've been to Washington three times since then." Corban said she participated in two of those rallies to oppose federal health-care reform.
The main goal of the event in McDonough was to advocate for conservative political candidates, said Eleanor Toppins, vice president of Republican Women of Henry County. "We've had so many people that want to get involved, want to take our country back, and want to elect good, conservative Republicans to office," said Toppins. "This is their opportunity to listen to the candidates, assess them, see who's good, who's not good, who they want to vote for, and get good conservatives in office.
"We want [people] to know what's going on with government," she added. "We want less government ... we want to try and get government more out of our lives."
The list of scheduled speakers included Stockbridge Mayor Lee Stuart, State Rep. Steve Davis (R-McDonough), Henry County Commissioners Johnny Basler and Reid Bowman. Other scheduled speakers included gubernatorial candidates Ray McBerry, John Oxendine, Austin Scott, Former Ninth District Congressman Nathan Deal, Secretary of State candidate Doug MacGinnitie, Commissioner of Agriculture candidate Gary Black, Insurance Commissioner candidates Stephen Northington, Maria Sheffield and Gerry Purcell, School Superintendent candidate Roger Hines, and 13th Congressional District candidates Rupert Parchment, Deborah Honeycutt, and Dave Orr.
State Rep. Davis, the chairman of the Henry County legislative delegation, said he believes congressional leaders are veering off course, particularly with recent decisions that have increased federal debt. "This is a day of reckoning when it comes to taxes, and people are tired of more and more taxes," he said. "There seems to be a disconnect in [Washington] D.C., right now.
"We're fortunate, here in Henry County, to have Congressman [Lynn] Westmoreland, but, as a whole, Congress has lost its way, and they think that more and more taxes are going to help the public," he added, as he called the rally a strong statement by Republicans against big government.