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George Rodriguez sworn in as first Hispanic Tea Party President in U.S.

George Rodriguez sworn in as first Hispanic Tea Party President in U.S.

By Valerie Godines Fitzgerald

La Prensa de San Antonio.- San Antonian George Rodriguez will be sworn in as the first Hispanic Tea Party President in the nation.

At a recent law school panel discussion on immigration, George Rodriguez told a visibly angry associate dean to call the authorities to report undocumented students. And in an interview with La Prensa, he argued that Hispanics routinely suffer discrimination from blacks, but the issue rarely gets attention.

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He'll be in the news again today when the San Antonio Tea Party swears him in as its new president, making him the first Hispanic Tea Party president in the country.

The 62-year-old conservative who worked in the Reagan-Bush administrations doesn't shy away from a good fight, routinely issuing scathing statements on topics ranging from the budget to immigration. He complains that much of the local media don't portray him accurately.

George Rodriguez

And he relentlessly talks about race relations, turning the notion of the oppressive white man on its head.

"Since my days in college to date, I have felt less discrimination from whites than I have from blacks or even Hispanics," he said in a recent interview with La Prensa.

"Hispanics get very upset with me because I am conservative and blacks, I am a racist to them. I am the antithesis of what they would like to see here. It doesn't matter to me. People don't like you for many reasons - because you're fat, skinny, the clothes you wear. They don't like me because of my politics."

Rodriguez was born in Laredo, where his family lived in public housing. They moved to San Antonio and briefly lived in public housing again until Rodriguez's father, a printer who worked for the San Antonio Light, could save enough money to buy a house in a neighborhood where they were the first Mexican family on the block.

When Rodriguez tried to play with the other children, racist parents stepped in and sent him home. And when helping to organize a Good Will drive at school, another student asked Rodriguez why he even bothered since he was just going to end up receiving the donations.

"Kids are cruel and life is cruel," Rodriguez said. "Either you let life defeat you or you just rise above it. And the problem that I see is that quite often that people want government to come in and make things right, and government can only do so much. Government can't make you feel good about yourself. Only you can feel good about yourself."

Rodriguez has been serving as the San Antonio Tea Party president for weeks now, but is being sworn in today. The national movement, made up of conservatives and libertarians, draws its name from the Boston Tea Party, a historic protest over taxation.

According to a statement, the San Antonio Tea Party was established in 2009 and the mission is to "educate and advocate for the maintenance of a strong national defense to retain our National sovereignty, protection of individual rights and liberties while promoting personal responsibility, morality and religious expression, strict adherence to the Constitution and the rule of law, and exercise of limited government, sound fiscal policies and free enterprise."

Rodriguez draws on his personal experience to carry that message...

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