With U.S. and Colonial American flags flying, tea party-affiliated groups rallied Monday in downtown Tampa to show their disdain for the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding President Obama's health care reform law.
Thirty to 40 men and women, many waving signs or holding flags, lined Florida Avenue for the Stand With Liberty demonstration in front of the Sam M. Gibbons U.S. Courthouse. The site was chosen because Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson has an office in the courthouse. Nelson voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, widely known as Obamacare.
"Sen. Nelson doesn't listen to his constituents," said Shirley Wood, the leader of the Pine Crest chapter of the Tampa 9-12 Project. "He needs to be replaced in November."
Sharon Calvert, co-founder of the Tampa Tea Party and candidate for Hillsborough County Commission, helped organize the rally. Calvert said opponents of the health care law need to weigh in heavily before the November election.
"This health care issue is going to be fought for the next few months, up until November," Calvert said. "A majority of Americans still don't like (the law). We need to fix what we have before we hand down another entitlement."
Calvert said her oldest daughter, who doesn't have health insurance, will be forced to buy coverage under the health care law's individual mandate. The Supreme Court upheld the mandate last week.
Nelson was in Washington on Monday, but his regional director, Shahra Anderson, came down to talk to the demonstrators, and her aides took written comments to pass along to the senator.
After the Supreme Court decision, Nelson issued a statement saying the health care reform bill is not perfect but is a good first step toward fixing a broken system.
"Insurance companies were refusing to cover people or dropping those who got sick," Nelson said. "So we passed legislation to prevent insurers from running over people."
Nelson likely will face U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV, the favorite to win the Republican primary, in the general election Nov. 6.
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