HUNTLEY – Despite losing re-election last fall, former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh still is passionate about his views for the need for smaller government that he ran on and that got him elected to Congress.
Walsh, who served part of McHenry County for one term in Washington as a member of the tea party movement, has been touring around the state speaking at town hall meetings, including one Saturday hosted by the Huntley Area Tea Party.
Walsh still is fiery, calling for limited government, tax cuts and eliminating the federal government’s debt. He said the current track is leading to a country vastly different than what the nation’s founders envisioned.
“We have a government that’s too big, that does too much for too many of us,” Walsh said.
For the past six months, he has been speaking two or three times a week to crowds of 50 to 350 people. Walsh still starts his town hall meetings with the Pledge of Allegiance, and recognizing military veterans.
“Every town hall is a little different; it’s the same basic message, trying to grow this independent movement,” Walsh said.
On Saturday, even though he wore a microphone, he did occasionally shout to emphasize his points.
“There’s a huge number of independents, conservatives and tea party people around the state who are demoralized right now,” Walsh said. “They’re fed up with the Republican party, especially the Illinois Republican Party, and they’re looking for something to do. I feel the same way, that’s why I’m creating this movement to give them a voice.”
Walsh, who has a radio show on five days a week on WIND, says he is not starting a party as an alternative to the Republican Party, but if the GOP doesn’t “right its ship, something is going to overtake it. If you don’t, a third party, something new will begin.”
However, he is trying to get about 20,000 people signed up for his movement, and has about 4,000 people who have signed his pledge.
Walsh said he is disappointed in the Republican party, and the Illinois Republican party is broken and is out of touch with conservatives.
“I know that because the party is not my voice anymore. ... I’m going to grow ... a conservative, freedom-loving army,” Walsh said. “We are going to force, as best we can, the Republican Party to change.”
Walsh said if he were still in Congress, he would be asking many questions about the Benghazi terrorist attacks, calling for the disbandment of the Internal Revenue Service, and saying President Barack Obama needs to read the constitution.
He said people are too dependent on government.
He believes that Republican efforts to work with Democrats on immigration reform are only made to gain votes.
“They are so afraid to not get re-elected, it’s what drives them,” Walsh said.
“I’m going to make the case for freedom and limited government, and I’m going to fight like hell,” he said.
Walsh said he thinks he will run again, but he doesn’t know for which office or if he’ll be on a 2014 ballot.
“We’ll see,” he said. “I think the most important thing I could do is grow this army, and really kick the Republican Party in the rear, and straighten them out.”
Dianne Hansen of Huntley worked as a social worker and came to the event.
“The best thing for a person is to get up and do for himself,” she said.
For more information about Walsh, go to www.walshfreedom.com.