By JASON CAMPBELL
209 staff reporter
At first glance David Cushman doesn’t look anything like a political operative.
He’s young and soft-spoken and has a friendly boy-next-door demeanor that you don’t expect to find in somebody who stands up for what he believes in and tries as hard as possible to clue others in to what he considers to the right course of political action.
But as the Chairman of the Manteca Tea Party Patriots – an offshoot of the conservative organization that swept American politics after the election of President Barack Obama – Cushman is all of those things at once while at the same time toeing the line between being vocal and being pushy.
The core tenets of the group are quite simple and nonpartisan – constitutionally-limited government, free markets and fiscal responsibility – and anybody who shares a viewpoint within that framework is more than welcome to come and join their ranks at a monthly meeting.
Their reach, however, extends further than just that.
According to Cushman, who was one of the founding members of the Manteca group when it formed in 2011 and became the chair in 2014, constitutional ideas and the preservation of freedom don’t necessary have to be applied to only to Washington. While attendances fluctuates with the chosen program, the group has hosted local business owners, the Manteca Police Chief, the San Joaquin County Undersheriff, the former General Manager of the South San Joaquin Irrigation District and gun rights advocates who work within California’s legislative system to enact changes.
And on Thursday, Cushman was vocal about doing more to get the idea about conservative principles out to the public before the November elections – whether that’s for a school board candidate, a city council candidate, or a legislator.
“This is and always has been a grass roots movement, and that’s what we try to showcase when we have our meetings,” Cushman said. “It’s a way to share ideas with our members and the community – there are a lot of different ways to look at things when it comes to politics, but we believe in constitutional conservatism and we want to express that viewpoint to as many people as we can.”
But Manteca isn’t the only place where conservative ideals hold firm in the Tea Party Fashion.
Here’s a list of local communities with active Tea Party organizations, and how to get in touch with them:
Stanislaus County – depending on where you live, there’s a good chance that a community just north of Manteca has some sort of a Tea Party faction. Individual meetings are held under the umbrella of the North Valley Tea Party in communities like Merced, Patterson, Oakdale and Los Banos. The group represents nearly all of Stanislaus County including Modesto, Ceres, Turlock, Riverbank, Salida, Hughson, Denair and Keyes. For more information visit www.stanislauscountyteaparty.org.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.