Tea Party pastor visits Grass Valley | TheUnion.com

Tea Party pastor visits Grass Valley

Dave Brooksher
Staff Writer

Rafael Cruz, father of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks during a tea party gathering Friday, Jan. 10, 2014, in Madisonville, Texas. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

Pastor Rafael Cruz called out for a revival in America, speaking to a packed house Monday night at the Nevada County Fairgrounds. The sell-out crowd packed the Ponderosa Room, with roughly three hundred ticketholders in attendance according to organizers.

The pastor's son, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, is rumored to be a potential presidential candidate in 2016 – but organizers with the Nevada County Tea Party Patriots say the event had no connection to any presidential aspirations.

"He believes what we believe," said Nancy Garcia, former president of the local chapter, when asked what led them to invite Pastor Cruz to Grass Valley.

Availability was also a factor, as Garcia says that Cruz was traveling through Sacramento.

In a pre-event interview, Pastor Cruz told The Union that if only one message was taken away from his speech, American freedom was its core.

Cruz's narrative focused largely on his experience as a younger man in Cuba, becoming part of the revolution under Fidel Castro — who Cruz described as a charismatic leader that spoke of hope and change.

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Cruz said that before leaving Cuba, never to return, he was imprisoned and tortured.

After coming to the United States on a four-year student visa, he took a job washing dishes and enrolled at the University of Texas.

"When I lost my freedom in Cuba, I had a place to go," Cruz said. "If we lose our freedoms here, where are we going to go? There is no place to go. This is the last bastion of freedom in the world, and we have to work, fight to protect it."

That message was strongly flavored by conservative values, including the dangers of communism and the importance of constitutional limits on the powers of federal government. In support of that argument Pastor Cruz cites Article 1 section 8 of the United States Constitution – which enumerates the powers of congress and mentions neither education nor health care. He also spoke in support of the right-to-life movement, and warned against the hazards of political centrism – urging those in attendance to identify and vote as constitutional conservatives.

Readers of a liberal political persusasion may be surprised to find that they share at least one perspective with Pastor Cruz and members of the local tea party. His remarks condemning mass surveillance and federal invasions of privacy met with broad and audible support from the crowd.

Opening speakers included local Tea Party luminary Mark Meckler, who is credited with founding the political movement on a national scale, and Gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly – both of whom were met with standing ovations. Donnelly is a Republican Assemblyman from the San Bernardino area who is affiliated with the Minuteman movement.

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has been an active party to the national dialogue on Russia's recent military action in the Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula. In a statement issued by the senator's press office last week, Ted Cruz criticized the Obama administration's foreign policy and urged the international community to oust Russia from the Group of Eight (G8) and possibly the United Nations Security Council as well.

To contact staff writer Dave Brooksher, email dbrooksher@theunion.com or call 530-477-4230.

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