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Blunt, Martin sign Tea Party Treaty, which seeks repeal of federal health-care changes

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 5, 2010 - Republican U.S. Senate nominee Roy Blunt has joined several other area GOP candidates in signing the "Tea Party Treaty," which Blunt did so during a private meeting Monday.

Ed Martin, the GOP candidate for the 3rd District congressional seat, earlier signed on, said St. Louis Tea Party media liaison Jen Ennenbach.

Among other things, signers of the treaty pledge to seek repeal of the new federal health-insurance law.

Blunt's appearance Monday at a private gathering at the St. Louis Tea Party Coalition headquarters in south St. Louis was "a very assuring move," the group said in a statement.

Ennenbach said that Blunt acknowledged that some of his congressional votes had been at odds with the Tea Party's positions, but that he now recognizes and sides with the group's views on many key issues.

Tea Party leaders also promised to back up pledge signers who, once they are in office, can face pressures-- and threats of punishment -- from their own party if they fail to embrace the party's position on a certain measure. The message from the Tea Party to candidates who sign the treaty is "we will back you up," Ennenbach said.

Here's the treaty:

Tea Party Treaty

1) I believe that the healthcare reform bill (Affordable Care Act) should be immediately repealed as an un-constitutional extension of governmental powers according to Article I of the U.S. Constitution, and thus a burden on the people's rights as recognized by the 9th Amendment.

2) I believe the government should reduce taxes and cut spending, as a rejection of the Keynesian model of economics. Government should be fiscally responsible with the people's dime.

3) I believe that we should reduce the federal bureaucracy. The size and scope of federal regulation endanger all liberty, and hinder accountability to the public.

I resolve to be a proponent for small government across the board, and agree to be held accountable for failure to abide by this treaty.

"As the first candidate in the up-coming election who currently holds a public office, this is a very bold statement from his campaign," the St. Louis Tea Party said. "It says that he has heard the voice of his constituents, and is backing them up."

A number of other Tea Party groups, including those in southern Illinois, are also calling for their region's candidates to sign the treaty, Ennenbach said.

Blunt, Martin and many other area Republican candidates and officeholders have been courting the local Tea Party for months. Blunt had faced resistence from a number of area Tea Party groups and activists last summer, many of whom were angry over his 2008 vote in favor of the initial $700 billion earmarked to bail out troubled banks and other financial institutions.

"The St Louis Tea Party Coalition does not take this move lightly, rather, as a statement of re-dedication to the constituents, as well as constitutional principles across the board," the group said. The St. Louis Tea Party "celebrates this relationship with great enthusiasm as a victory for America, for the government, but mostly, for all of us, the American people."

Jo Mannies is a freelance journalist and former political reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.