NAACP Says No Problems With Local TEA Party

by Cierra Putman
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND/ODESSA - On the national stage, the TEA Party has fought accusations of racism, antisemitism and other hate speech for a while.

But here in West Texas, Midland TEA Party leader Mike Lopez says they don't support that at all.

"This is not happening in Midland, Texas to my knowledge," Lopez said. "None of the members of my organization have had any racial epithets or out spurts. I'm a Hispanic male myself and I'm not racist."

The NAACP released a report linking some TEA party leaders to a variety of controversial groups.

"It was discovered that some of the leadership in some of the TEA Party groups were ex-Klansmen, part of the Aryan Nation Movement and The White Council which is an old group out of the south,"

Gene Collins with the local branch of the NAACP, says those ties aren't popping up in West Texas.

"I have listened to them on the radio and on the television and it seems like they were discussing only the issues." Collins said. "Of course we may not agree on the issues, but that's our right."

Lopez supports the groups right to release the report but he questions the motive especially since it's so close to the November elections.

"You can release all the reports you want as an organization that's fine that's you're prerogative," he said. "But when you look forward what are you fighting what is your stance. Are you trying to divide Americans or are you trying to bring Americans together."

The NAACP did say its report says that it believes the majority of TEA Party members are "sincere, principled people of good will."