RNC chairman brings ‘Fire Pelosi’ tour to Niles

Published 4:33 am Saturday, October 16, 2010

Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee, brought his "Fire Pelosi" bus tour to Niles Friday. He told the crowd the Nov. 2 election will be the GOP's election. (Daily Star photo/KATIE ROHMAN)

Kids and adults cheer and wave signs as the Republican National Committee's "Fire Pelosi" bus rolls into downtown Niles. (Daily Star photo/KATIE ROHMAN)


Niles Daily Star

“Change needs to happen in the Senate and Congress,” believes Steve Hicks, a Republican and precinct delegate for Bertrand Township. “Less government. It really comes down to folks listening to the people.”

And just like in the 2008 election, “change” is the reoccurring word heard among the politically minded in 2010. But this election, the word is coming — in full force — from the GOP.

“I would like to see our country more conservative, to protect our unborn children,” Niles resident Crystal Prenkert said. Prenkert, also a Republican, said she plans to vote for John Proos for state senator and Sharon Tyler for state representative.

Prenkert and Hicks were just two of the many citizens who turned out at the “Victory Center” in downtown Niles Friday afternoon for the Republican National Committee’s “Fire Pelosi Bus Tour” stop, headed by RNC Chairman Michael Steele.

A nationwide tour that began Sept. 15, the crusade is about much more than pushing out Speak of the House Nancy Pelosi — it’s about the GOP “taking back” seats and minimizing “big” government.

Ned Gardener, a conservative from Buchanan, said he was “anxious to see Steele” as he waited inside the “Victory Center” at 127 East Main St. He plans to vote for Proos, U.S. Rep. Fred Upton for Congress and Rick Snyder for governor.

Steele, who arrived in the red, eye-catching bus with Proos, Rep. Sharon Tyler and state representative candidate Al Pscholka in tow, shook hands with citizens and posed for photos with children and fans who held red “Fire Pelosi” signs on Main Street.

The RNC chairman encouraged supporters to not only get out the vote, but push hard with door-knocking and phone calls.

“This is a grassroots movement that has been organic since day one,” Steele said. “This movement happens because you want it to happen. … Folks, you are part of not only the transformation of our country, but transformation of our party.”

The focus of Steele’s speech was that the people’s opinions are not being heard enough and that government is growing bigger and bigger. He said if Republicans take back seats in the House and Senate, it would put a “backstop to the craziness of the Democrats on the right.”

“What we need the government to do is get the heck out of the way,” he said. “‘We the people’ still matters in this country.

“‘We the people’ is not ‘us the government,’” Steele said.

He told the crowd that Michigan has been favoring unions too long. Citizens should be working and business owners should be growing their businesses.

“There’s no sense for Michigan to continue to fall and falter,” he said. “Do you look at yourself in the mirror in the morning and say, ‘All I want is to be dependent today?'”

Steele was very critical of President Obama as well as his stimulus funding.

“He’s learning that there is no such thing as a shovel-ready project,” Steele said. “What part of ‘there is no such thing as a shovel-ready project’ didn’t they get?”

Steele also dispelled widespread talk that the GOP and Tea Party are at odds.

“Don’t fall for the hype that there’s all this tension … between us and our friends in the Tea Party movement,” he said. “It reminded us what the Constitution still means, not (what it meant) 200 years ago. Don’t listen to the hype, because it’s a lie.”

Steele also spoke in support of Tyler, of Niles, who is seeking a second term in the 78th District; Proos, of St. Joseph, who is running for state senator in the 21st District; and Pscholka, of Stevensville, who is seeking Proos’ seat in the 79th District.

“What’s it got to do with these guys?” he said of the tour, gesturing to the local candidates. “Well this, guys, is where it starts. It’s right here. It’s in the state legislature. These are the ones who put the state budgets together.”

“It’s time government gets out of the way and we get those enterpreneurial businesses started up,” Proos said as he rallied the crowd before Steele spoke.

“We’re going to have a fabulous, fabulous November,” Berrien County GOP Chairman Mike Garey said.

The “Fire Pelosi Bus Tour” was scheduled to visit Battle Creek, Mich. Friday evening.

To learn more about the tour, visit www.firepelosibus.com.