Independence Party will welcome any who agree with most of its platform

Jack Uldrich
Jack Uldrich is chair of the Independence Party of Minnesota.
Submitted photo

By Jack Uldrich

As chair of the Independence Party of Minnesota, I'd like to respond to former U.S. Sen. Dean Barkley's recent open letter to members of the Tea Party by providing some context and history so as to avoid any misunderstanding of my party's principles or current direction.

As America's most successful "Third" political party, the Independence Party of Minnesota values the principles of fiscal responsibility, personal responsibility, limited government and social tolerance. To the degree that members of the Tea Party movement also embrace these principles, it is only natural and fitting that the party would welcome them into our fold.

Unlike the other political parties, the Independence Party truly espouses a "Big Tent" philosophy, and we welcome broad-based citizen involvement. That said, the Independence Party also understands it is no longer sufficient to only be against government; it is imperative that political parties also engage in the serious and difficult task of outlining constructive solutions. The Independence Party's rich tradition of putting forward serious and credible candidates every election cycle speaks to this proud history.

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To this end, I'm confident that many individual members of the Tea Party movement are also serious about addressing real entitlement reform, controlling government spending, and putting forward meaningful electoral reform. On this basis alone, I encourage those associated with the movement to visit our website and review our party platform.

We don't expect everyone to agree with every platform plank. In fact, we only ask our members and candidates to be in agreement with 75 percent of our core planks and 60 percent of supporting planks. If any citizen, including members of the Tea Party movement -- or any other movement for that matter -- can live within these guidelines, and if they are also willing to engage in honest, constructive and respectful political debate on those issues on which they are in disagreement, then, by all means, the Independence Party welcomes them.

The two party system is failing Minnesota. It has already catastrophically failed at the federal level -- as witnessed by the $14 trillion (and growing) national debt. The Independence Party and the Tea Party movement are two different reflections of this reality. As party chair, I welcome any citizen who is serious about helping get this country back on a sound fiscal track.

Jack Uldrich is chair of the Independence Party of Minnesota.