Tea Party groups rally in Lockport against health law
By Cindy Wojdyla Cain email@example.com July 21, 2012 5:30PM
Jerry Wilmer, of Joliet, settles in for the "Hands Off My Health Care Rally" held by the Will County Tea Party Alliance at Lockport East High School in Lockport, Illinois, Saturday, July 21, 2012. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 23, 2012 10:44AM
LOCKPORT — More than 200 people attended Saturday’s “Hands Off My Health Care Rally” organized by local Tea Parties and Americans for Prosperity.
The morning event at Lockport Township High School’s East Campus was in response to the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The ACA is the “biggest tax in American history,” and it will lead to fewer jobs and longer lines for health care services, said event organizer Steve Balich, chairman of the Homer/Lockport Tea Party.
“So that’s why it’s so important that we all get up and we really stick together, stick it to them by saying, ‘No,’ ” he said.
The rally also was about firing up the troops for the November election, said Tim Kraulidis, a leader with the Will County/Joliet Tea Party Alliance.
“The battle lines are drawn,” he said. “We’re hitting the beaches of Normandy and it’s called Nov. 6.”
The Tea Party movement erupted in 2009 to fight “Obamacare,” a term critics use to describe the ACA. But now the movement has to kick into high gear to get Obama our of office and the act rescinded, Balich said.
“The fight was then, we need to carry it on now,” he said. “We can’t stop.”
David From, Illinois director of Americans for Prosperity, which is a nationwide free-market advocacy group, said the ACA is bad policy.
“It’s bad for our health, it’s bad for our pocketbooks, and it’s bad for business,” he said.
Dr. Barbara Bellar, a member of the Homer/Lockport Tea Party, said she is reading the ACA, which is thousands of pages long. She is opposed to it because she believes it will lead to the “annihilation” of human rights, it’s a pro-abortion shift in America and it will trample religious freedoms.
“Obamacare is an abomination,” said Bellar, who also is an attorney and a former nun. “ ... We cannot, we must not let Obamacare drain us of our liberty and suck the life out of us.”
Scott Pyles, chairman of the Will County Democratic Party, disagreed with Bellar and others who criticize the act.
“President Obama took a middle-ground approach on health care,” said Pyles, who did not attend the rally but was contacted for a comment. “Everyone is required to have auto insurance. This is not a government expansion of health care. It’s just an expansion of the private insurance we already have.”
While the rally was about “Obamacare” being repealed, WLS-AM (890) radio host Dan Proft said the act’s founder must go, too.
“Well, you can’t repeal Obamacare if you leave the Obama in,” he said.
Speakers at the rally didn’t outline plans for reforming health care, but Balich said after the event that those details will come later.
“We have to win in November, repeal this health care tax, then start from scratch,” he said.
After the event, Catherina Wojtowicz of Chicago and Bill Leubscher of Evergreen Park sold T-shirts in the parking lot that featured a picture of the Statue of Liberty holding her hands over her eyes.
Wojtowicz, coordinator of the Chicago Tea Party, said events like the one in Lockport will help get the Tea Party get revved up for the fall.
“People took a break this summer,” she said. “Even activists and people that are concerned kind of turn off. Now it’s reigniting the fire.”