Tea Party Coalition convention draws hundreds to Myrtle Beach

The convention kicked off Friday night with two speakers at a boardroom at Springmaid Beach Resort.

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WPDE) - Hundreds of Tea Party members from across South Carolina are gathering on the Grand Strand this weekend to talk about the issues that bring them together.

The South Carolina Tea Party Coalition is hosting a convention at Springmaid Beach Resort for the second year.

The invitation-only event will feature speakers who will talk about national issues. They include Attorney General Alan Wilson, Congressman Tom Rice, and Governor Nikki Haley via video presentation.

Friday, the convention kicked off with a small crowd. By Saturday, it's expected to grow, filling a third floor ballroom with supporters of the group's agenda, which includes trying to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act.

"It's always been a total utter failure whenever it's a state-patient relationship. The state has no business in it. We are free individuals in this country. The U.S. Constitution guarantees that," explained Joe Dugan, chairman of the Myrtle Beach Tea Party. "The American people have not been told the truth about fiscal matters, foreign policy, about personal responsibility. This whole idea of political correctness, we intend to put that in a ditch this weekend and bury it."

Plenty of literature is on hand, and about two dozen speakers will take the podium this weekend.

Beverly Owensby traveled to the convention from the Upstate. She's interested in hearing solutions to the nation's problems. "I think the majority of people here care about America and they love their country. And over the years there's been a lot that's happened that's caused our country's freedoms to erode."

Among those issues is the national debt and what to do about.

Dugan said, "That is unpayable. There is no way that can ever be paid by our generation, the next generation, or five generations after that. The only way they're going to be able to get rid of that debt is to drive inflation so high that the dollar won't mean anything anymore. "

"Government is just getting bigger and bigger. They're wanting more and more tax money. And that's really why the Tea Party started, taxed enough already. I think people are getting to the point, you have less money in your pocket and the government is just getting bigger and bigger spending more and more money and we are all, families are on budgets," added Owensby.

The Second Amendment, foreign policy, and the state of Social Security will also be discussed.

Dugan said the oceanfront location of the convention is significant. "It is somewhat symbolic in that we want to keep our Constitution, and we don't want to cross that ocean into a Socialist or Marxist system like they have in Europe."

The ideas expressed this weekend won't just stay within the walls of the ballroom. A film company is creating a documentary of the convention, and the Tea Party members plan to present their solutions to Congress.