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The first field hearing took place in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Thursday, September 1, 2011. Hundreds of local activists and interested citizens packed into the standing-room-only meeting at Noah's Conference Center in South Jordan, Utah. Attendees also included a large number of local elected officials and aspiring candidates for office.
"We are about to start the Tea Party Debt Commission meeting. Standing room only. There must be 200 people crammed in here. I am one of 12 national members on the commission (to mirror the 12 congressional members). Our kick off meeting is in Salt Lake City tonight. The people are suggesting solutions to our nation’s debt problem. This is exciting," said David Kirham of Utah Rising. [via Instapundit]
Participants lined up to offer numerous ideas for specific cuts and reforms. After introductions by local activist Dan McCay and FreedomWorks President and CEO Matt Kibbe, the audience heard a presentation on the budget crisis by Dean Clancy of FreedomWorks, who presented initial findings from the group's online budget poll (www.TeaPartyDebtCommission.com), which allows voters to prioritize spending cuts.
"The line to speak is out the door. There is a lot of passion in this room. The politicians don’t see us rallying in the streets because we are rallying in meetings and on campaign staffs. Our greatest hope is they underestimate our resolve to get our government spending under control," said another activist. [via Instapundit]
Members of the Utah Advisory Committee of the Tea Party Debt Commission sat at the dais, listening to budget-cutting suggestions:
"Therefore, just as the tea party grassroots took matters into their own hands in the 2010 elections, generating a bottom-up 'Contract From America' that became the unofficial platform of the tea party movement, so the Tea Party Debt Commission will tackle the enormous fiscal challenge that our political leaders seem incapable of addressing," said Clancy.
FreedomWorks will continue holding field hearings in key cities across the country. The next hearings are scheduled for September 23 in Orlando, FL, and Thursday, September 29 in Philadelphia, PA.