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Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - 2:01pm

VIDEO: Tea Party Groups Unite At State Capitol

Lawmakers hosted Georgia Tea Party Day at the state capitol Wednesday. Three years to the day the party was founded Georgia Tea Party members say the party has evolved from rallies and protests to influencing policy and legislation.

Nolen Cox is with the Valdosta Tea Party. He reflects on the parties start three years ago.

"We got inspired to do something about the nation we saw the bailouts and all the debt that was being created. So we put a small add in the paper, we emailed a bunch of friends and to our surprise there was 500 people that showed up," Cox said.

Several Tea Party members from across the state gathered at the capital to weigh in on issues currently being debated under the Gold Dome and to attend various educational workshops.

Party leaders say the grassroots efforts that the party is known for must strengthen, as they continue to fight issues including this year’s regional T-SPLOTS. That’s the ONE-cent sales tax Georgians will vote on to fund transportation projects in their multi-county regions.

Debbie Dooley is with the Atlanta Tea Party. She encourages lawmakers to pass a pending measure that repeals the regional T-SPLOTS and instead allow voters to approve a tax on more local transportation projects.

There are more than 160 Tea Party chapters in Georgia statewide.