The tea party movement continues to grow a year and a half after the movement began. The last few months Richmond Tea Party has received requests to start local tea party groups. The interest to hold local government accountable is very high, as people realize that we must solve the problems in our own backyard before wrestling the larger giants.
RTP Board Member, Susan Lascolette, decided to take the initiative and start a Goochland Tea Party Committee last night that will be fostered by RTP. This approach will allow Goochland Tea Party to avoid all the legal and accounting headaches that new tea parties usually have during the start up phase. We want local tea parties to hit the ground running and not get sidetracked with all the legal and organizational setup and hassle, realizing that at some point they may grow into their own independent group.
Susan sent the word out through the RTP email and put a notice in the local paper. The meeting was set for the Goochland Library, which holds 50 people theater style. We had received RSVPs from about 47 people, so we thought we would be fine with our location. But what I saw when I pulled into the parking lot blew my socks off!
The parking lot was slap full. There was not one space left. People were parked in the grass and in the lots across the street. When I approached the library, people were overflowing out the library doors and down the sidewalk. It was a sight to behold. It looked like one of the town hall meetings you saw on TV last year where people were packed like sardines all around the room, gushing out the door, and then out the building!
It became quickly apparent that we couldn’t stay where we were for our meeting. Outside the library was a large grassy field on a slight hillside. We moved the meeting outside. Young people and seniors alike took their seats on the grass. People who had lawn chairs in their cars got them out and provided them to the elderly. We brought the American flag outside and stood it up on the grass lawn, said our pledge, and away we went with our meeting. It was a sight to behold. Nobody can deny this is a TRULY grassroots movement with the first meeting of the Goochland Tea Party taking place on the grassy hillside outside the library.
We had expectations of about 50 people and had 175 turnout last night! We went over our mission, charter and core planks and updated everyone on the plans for 2010. We talked about the next steps for the Goochland Tea Party. We took questions for over 45 minutes from people interested in all sorts of things from organizational structure, public policy, legislation, and campaigns. At the end of the meeting we had 15-20 individuals who came forward and indicated their interest in forming an executive committee to move the Goochland Tea Party along towards the next steps. A meeting will be scheduled for sometime next month.
All I can say is that Goochland knocked my socks off! It is so thrilling for me to be a part of a truly grassroots movement…in every sense of the word! :)