The Mississippi Tea Party is trying to ramp up support ahead of this year’s election season by reaching out to other conservative groups around the state. Officials say they are trying to spread the conservative message in Mississippi.
The Agree to Agree for Freedom Symposium is an annual meeting held by the Mississippi Tea Party in Downtown Jackson. It serves as an opportunity for Tea Party members to familiarize themselves with other single-issue, conservative groups from around the state.
Laura Van Overschelde is the Chair of the Mississippi Tea Party. She say events like this help build a conservative community in the state.
“This is a community building effort,” says Van Overschelde. "Many of us stay in our homes and we don’t know that many others are grumbling about the fact that we have this problem with our power plant, or we have this problem with vaccines, or being taxed to much or whatever. But now we’re beginning to have a voice and letting people know that there are lots of other people around us who have the same issues.”
In attendance were anti-abortion groups, anti-vaccination activists as well as opponents of common core. Jack Fairchilds is with the United Conservatives Fund – a Tea Party linked Political Action Committee based in Mississippi. He says learning about these other groups allow Conservatives to present a united front.
"We come in here and we find those core tenants, those few things that we can all unite and rally behind,” Fairchilds says. "I really think that it’s important to have events like this. One of the things that people have to understand is that it’s okay to disagree sometimes, but when you agree on important issues it’s better to work together than against one another.”
Tea Party officials say they also hope to rally more support for issues they would like to see taken up by state and local lawmakers next year.