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Manteca Tea Party plans talk on health care reform

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POSTED February 22, 2012 12:49 a.m.

David Marks is pleased with the response that the Manteca Tea Party Patriots has been getting from the public.

Ever since the group started meeting twice a month at Chez Shari, the local political outfit – which touts itself as a bi-partisan organization dedicated to constitutionally limited government, free markets and fiscal responsibility – has established a core base of a dozen active members and a rotating group of a dozen more that attend meeting semi-regularly.

When Marks joined up with Bruce Lownsbery and John Kramer to lay the groundwork for the group, none of them had any idea how it would play out with South County residents.

By hitting different subjects with different speakers for each meeting, Marks and the rest of the organizers are able to provide more information to the general public and allow people to make their own decisions based on what they’ve seen and heard.

“We’re a group that’s big on education, and one of the things that we want to do is touch off on as many different subjects with as many different people and subjects as we can,” Marks said. “Different concerns show up at different times, and those are things that we’re going to want to focus on so we can stay relevant to the things that are happening in the community.”

When the group meets this Thursday at Chez Shari, local insurance consultant Sylvia Oliverez will be giving a presentation on how healthcare reform will affect people and their business. It is just one of a variety of hot-button political issues this campaign season.

Oliverez – who has more than 20 years’ worth of experience in the field – will touch on the history of the legislation, how businesses will be affected, what the penalties will be for non-compliance, who qualifies for business tax credits and what’s happening federally and in California regarding the exchanges.

Providing an arena where that sort of information can be freely exchanged is exactly what Marks and his colleagues set out to create, and they’re happy that it’s well-received.

“At first it was sort of a ‘build it and they will come’ mentality. We hoped that as people saw what we were doing, they would start to show up and then start to bring friends, and that’s what is starting to happen,” Marks said. “What’s unique is that we try to provide information that shows all sides. We had SSJID out here last month and now we want to get PG&E out here to offer their side of the story.

“This week we have an independent broker that’ll provide us an independent presentation. Sometimes you need the people that are out there in the trenches.”

The Manteca Tea Party Patriots will meet next on Thursday, Feb. 23, at 7 p.m. at Chez Shari – located at 305 N. Union Road. For additional information visit www.mantecapatriots.org.

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