Llano Tea Party President Lee Ellis and wife, Liz, were among a select group invited to meet with Senator Rick Santorum during his visit to North Texas last week. Approximately 60 leaders representing tea party and grassroots organizations throughout Texas gathered Wednesday north of Dallas to pose questions to the senator about policies important to Texas if Santorum should become the Republican Party’s presidential nominee.
Asked to what extent the U.S. should be involved in the United Nations, Santorum responded that the UN and what it does mostly goes against our interests in terms of values and national security issues. He believes its role should be limited to international security. Although not optimal, the U.S. needs to continue to be involved. The UN undermines our sovereignty and Santorum pledges to take a systematic look at all other things with which the UN is involved, and to reevaluate our participation and funding.
On the question concerning Right to Work legislation, the senator responded that he has signed a Right to Work pledge and, as President, he will sign a Right to Work bill. Explaining his support for Right to Work, Santorum stated that he is not in favor of public employee unions where the taxpayers do not have a seat at the negotiating table.
When asked what he would do to encourage domestic energy production, Santorum replied that he had just had a meeting with Boone Pickens where the natural gas industry was discussed and its implications for job creation, along with the development of abundant, cleaner energy sources. Since we have tremendous amounts of energy in this country, Santorum stated, we can and should work toward making ourselves as self-sufficient as possible. With present restrictions on drilling in ANWR, and production from Alaska dramatically decreasing, new sources of energy must be brought online in order to gain the independence necessary to reduce our reliance on OPEC. Both natural gas production and the Keystone XL Pipeline are high priorities for him.
Santorum was then asked if the Second Amendment is only for hunting and sports, to which he responded emphatically, “the Second Amendment is there to protect the First Amendment!” His own family possesses firearms, he says, both for hunting and handguns for personal protection. He cautioned that if Obama is reelected, the Supreme Court’s Heller Decision, which holds that individuals have a right to possess a firearm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home, will be in jeopardy. It is imperative, he says, that judicial appointments over the next several years be only constitutional conservatives, or we will be at great risk of losing our Second Amendment rights. Heller, he says was a 5-4 decision.
After taking a couple more questions from the audience, Santorum closed with a response to an ad claiming that he is against the tea party movement. He explained that he is against those who believe we need NO GOVERNMENT—those who believe people should be allowed to do whatever they wish as long as it does not hurt anyone. Santorum stated that he fully supports the tea party tenant of limited government.
Following this planned meeting with tea party and grassroots activists from around the state, the senator dropped in on a Republican Women’s meeting being held nearby, and then travelled a few miles down the road to Plano where a crowd of as much as 3,000 supporters were forming for an evening rally. According to those coordinating events for the day, many rally hopefuls had to be turned away due to lack of space.