Becky Gerritson, president of the Wetumpka Tea Party, announced Thursday that she would be challenging Martha Roby for her position as congressional representative of Alabama’s 2nd District in the upcoming Republican primary.
Gerritson immediately began campaigning on a 15-county tour in the 2nd District. She ended her tour in Troy on Saturday, Oct. 3, where she hosted a meet-and-greet session at Momma Goldberg’s Deli.
Gerritson, who received national attention for her public opposition to Internal Revenue Service practices in 2013, has gained some following due to her adherence to traditional conservative values.
She claims that Roby, a member of the Republican Party, does not have a conservative record and is not properly representing her constituents.
“She’s had three terms to prove herself, and she over and over votes with the establishment, rather than listening to her constituents,” Gerritson said.
Gerritson said that the primary concern among the people in the 2nd District has been that “they are not being represented. Martha Roby has represented the leadership in Washington, and she’s voting the way they tell her to.
“I think it’s the message of conservative values and really trying to stop big government. Our liberties are being taken away, and we need someone up there who’s going to fight against that, and that’s me.”
Todd Stacy, spokesman for Roby, said in a statement: “She listens to the people and fights on their behalf against the entrenched bureaucracy in Washington. She will campaign vigorously to make sure her constituents always have representation in Congress that is strong, smart and responsible.”
Gerritson identifies herself as a grassroots conservative and has been vocal about her opposition to invasive tax laws, government overspending and Planned Parenthood.
Gerritson said, “I’m passionate about the principles that made this country great: free markets, limited government, individual liberty, national security and traditional values.
“Those are the things that we see being eroded by this current administration and, frankly, by leadership within our own party.”
On Planned Parenthood, Gerritson supports defunding the organization, as does Roby.
“I do not believe that our tax dollars should be going to fund a private organization that chops up babies and sells them for parts,” said Gerritson, of recent videos by the anti-abortion group, Center for Medical Progress, showing the alleged selling of fetal tissue by Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood is federally funded by Medicaid and Title X. Title X does not allow federal funds to go toward abortion services. In Alabama, Medicaid is allowed to use federal funds for abortions only in the case of rape, incest, or endangerment to the mother’s life.
There are two Planned Parenthood locations in Alabama — neither of them in the 2nd District.
According to politifact.com, Planned Parenthood contends that fetal tissue is donated, a legal process. No state that launched an investigation has found proof of sales of fetal tissue.
On what she hopes to accomplish for the 2nd District, if elected, Gerritson said that she would like to help lower health care costs by getting rid of “Obamacare” and increasing competition, as well as protecting military bases.
“I think our military has been thinned down so much. I really would love to make sure that our country is protected in case we were to be attacked,” Gerritson said.
According to defense.gov, the defense budget has fallen a little over $100 billion from 2010 to 2015, from $691 billion to $560 billion. However, the projected budget for 2016 is already set at $585 billion, an increase of 4 percent.
Gerritson said that the Republican Party has strayed from its conservative principles and that “they’re leaning too much to the left.”
“My thoughts are: if they want to go to the left, then they should leave the party and become a Democrat,” she said.
The Wetumpka Tea Party was founded by Becky and Eric Gerritson in 2009.
“The Tea Party holds to the principles that the Republican Party was founded on,” said Gerritson, who is a Wetumpka native. “We’re just staying where the Republican Party used to be.”
Ultimately, Gerritson said, “I think my conservative message will win the day. We want to get back to values that are embraced by Americans, and I think my message is going to unite people.”
For more information on her campaign, her website is beckyforcongress.com.