Constitution Party is aiming to raise its profile in Carroll

January 16, 2002|By Lesa Jansen | Lesa Jansen,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The Constitution Party, formerly the U.S. Taxpayers Party and a group that wants to abolish the Internal Revenue Service, is holding information meetings in Carroll County to expand its membership, part of a statewide effort to swell the party's ranks.

Westminster real estate agent Gary Hagerick is Carroll chairman for the party, which follows a strict interpretation of the Constitution.

"I think there's been a shift in emphasis in the last year or so to develop the party at the local level as opposed to the national," he said.

The party's Maryland Web site states that its goal is to run a gubernatorial candidate in Maryland this year and have candidates in as many local and state office elections as possible.

"I think the frustration is shared by a lot of people that the current two-party system is not meeting the needs of the middle and lower classes," said Hagerick. "The No. 1 problem and our major focus is lowering taxes."

The party believes that "the IRS has no jurisdiction over American citizens," said Steve Krukar, state chairman of the Maryland Constitution Party.

The party was founded in 1992 by Howard Phillips. He was head of the Conservative Caucus for more than two decades as well as a Nixon administration official.

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