Georgia Tea Party learns of three leaders’ ouster
by Jon Gillooly
jgillooly@mdjonline.com
April 20, 2012 12:00 AM | 5157 views | 25 25 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — The Marietta-based Georgia Tea Party had a lively meeting Thursday night as its leadership explained to an audience of about 60 why they decided to remove three people from the group’s nine-member board.

The meeting kicked off with the board’s chairman, J.D. Van Brink of Acworth, explaining that the board met Sunday and removed members Field Searcy, Bill Hudson and Sue Stanton.

“For quite some time, the board had been split on the future direction of the organization, with two thirds wanting to stay true to the Georgia Tea Party’s founding principles and one third wanting to go in a different direction,” Van Brink said. “The decision of the majority of the board was to save the Georgia Tea Party from eventual but certain destruction.”

Van Brink said it was important for the group to remain independent and on a grassroots level rather than joining up with other groups. He wants it to continue to be modeled after the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, he said.

“We want to continue the Georgia Tea Party’s standard of working with elected and appointed officials to impact public policy,” he said. “Now that does not mean being a protest movement. We feel we’ve grown beyond that. What we need to be concentrating on is getting public policy passed.”

Moving forward, the tea party would continue to garner input from its volunteers about what qualities are needed in board members, he said.

“One of the qualities … is they’re going to have to be able to work with the group, and that is what we didn’t have,” he said.

Volunteer Pat Negron was next to speak, noting she had been part of the group for more than a year and a half. Negron defended the ousted board members, who were not in attendance. She said Hutson and Stanton were at the Capitol so often they practically lived there, while Searcy put together the group’s newsletters.

“What the remaining board members have done to these three patriots is a disgrace and only condemns them and not Field, Sue or Bill,” Negron said. “I will end by saying this is the last Tea Party meeting I will attend.”

Next to speak was former member Ben Mihalski, who was blocked from speaking at the lectern, but stood in front of it and spoke loudly anyway. Mihalski said he and Hutson were among the group’s founders.

“I’m asking for the immediate resignation of all board members due to the tyrannical rule this group has now performed,” Mihalski said. “I ask for all your resignations now. If you will resign now we will install new members. We will redo the bylaws making it more open and fair to the people, rather than tyrant’s rule.”

This prompted a member to announce he was calling the police, although no police officer arrived during the meeting, which lasted about two hours in a conference room across the street from Roswell Street Baptist Church.

Joyce Schumacher of Marietta also expressed her displeasure.

“When we started three years ago, we were all together, we worked on different events, we had the membership events, we had a media group, we had several different groups going on and everybody felt part of it and they all contributed and we had a tea party togetherness,” Schumacher said. “Slowly over the past year or year and a half, things have changed. All of a sudden people really weren’t part of things like it was before. It wasn’t grassroots anymore. It changed.”

Johnell Woody of Marietta, who serves as the Cobb Republican Party chair of House District 38, called on the audience to put things in perspective.

“I have been embarrassed as a Republican and as a conservative … at the Capitol by some of our members,” Woody said. “I forgive them for it. We all make mistakes. But you can’t separate yourself from the organization.”

Woody said the mission was greater than the individual members.

“What is our No. 1 objective right now?” Woody asked. “If we fight among ourselves, how are we going to get rid of (President Barack Obama)? How? You cannot.”

Some have their own agendas that seek to bring the tea party down, she said. Woody said her first pick for president is no longer an option and neither is her second or third choice. And her fourth choice will be out of the race soon.

“Does that mean I’m not going to support the party?” she asked. “If my dog was running for president, I would vote for him over Obama. That is the only thing that matters.”

Doris Fowler of Powder Springs also called for unity.

“If we don’t stay together, the Muslims are taking us, the communists are taking us, they’re taking our country and I’ve seen things in my life that I never thought I would see,” Fowler said.

Fowler said the tea party has too many important issues to deal with, from defeating the July 31st transportation referendum to electing a new president, to be distracted by a personality fight.

“There’s no point in people being rude and yelling and acting like you’re a child when it’s a personality thing,” she said. “If this country does not get together, and we don’t get together, we are going down and we are going to have a Muslim communist and Obama can still win this election, and it’s going to take every one of us, so my thing is ‘God bless this tea party.’”

Board member Tom Maloy said after the meeting that he was optimistic.

“I believe it will actually make the Tea Party stronger because we had an opportunity to reiterate our core principles and to discuss them,” Maloy said. “We found out a lot about what our volunteers are thinking about, what they want, and we’ll move on from there. Our task now is to keep on going and doing what we’ve been doing and at the same time find three new board members. … the board members that left the board are still our friends, they were our friends before, I consider them our friends still, and I hope once they think about it they still consider us friends as well.”

Maloy said the Georgia Tea Party, which is governed by a nine-member, self-elected board that serves two-year terms, has about 50 to 130 people who show up at its regular meetings, with a mailing list of about 3,000.
Comments
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Rule of law
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April 25, 2012
When our elected officials fail to honor their oaths of office and to obey the principles on which they were elected, we have to rein them in or must vote them out. The Georgia Tea Party board members who were removed violated the policies and procedures of the organization, were unremorseful and unwilling to return to the organization's founding principles, and were voted out. Simple as that.
Patriot's Wife
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April 26, 2012
Thats why the board had to change the founding bylaws to remove board members to get their way? I might add the board is not elected but self appointed. So your point is what? The board also was resistant to the idea of allowing the volunteers to have any input into the appointment process and certainly not a seat on the board. Trumped up charges to manipulate the process. How about that lunch to pursuade a member to go along with the group in changing the bylaws.
anonymous
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April 22, 2012
"The said Hutson and Stanton were at the Capitol so often they practically lived there...."

That is the problem right there. People like "Doctor" Hutson are too busy down at the capitol badgering republicans who agree with him on almost everything instead of out working to build a grassroots organization to ensure Barack Obama is a one term President. Glad to see this was done, maybe the Tea Party can be taken a little more seriously now.
Just Wait
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April 22, 2012
The tea party is just another flash in the pan. Like other special interests before it, it will flare, have some impact for a short time, then die away to ash while another takes it's place.
Just_The_Truth
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April 21, 2012
That guy Mihalski who stood and spoke goes by the name "Ben Truther, Birther, Tenther Mihalski" on Facebook. He is a dedicated Ray McBerrian an he's a nutjob.
North Cobber
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April 20, 2012
The Tea Party reminds me of a far right group that was started in the south 50 plus years ago called the National States' Rights Party. The only difference is a Democrat Lawyer/Politician started the NSRP and the Tea Party is a spin off of the GOP. Both groups have the same opinions and views. The NSRP lasted about 25 years, The Tea Party will probably be around for 5 years.
Thomas J. Palmer
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April 23, 2012
@North Cobber: Just wondered if you have ever attended a Tea Party meeting, if you have ever completed any comprehensive research on the origin of the Tea Party, or have you even spoken with an active Tea Party worker? The Tea Party movement began April 15, 2009, so you're predicting that in another 2 years the Tea Party will be no more. You want to cover your mouth with any money...I'll cover any amount you want to wager up to $5K.
North Cobber
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April 23, 2012
Thomas J. Palmer, The Tea Party will go the same path as the "PickensPlan" another " flash in the pan" uprising I believe you supported about 4 years ago. I assume that you probably focus on the "tax cut" promise of the Tea Party. The only taxes the conservative founders of the Tea Party are willing to cut are those of the top 1%. I'm good for $5K, There will be those of you who will continue to serve and sink with the ship so I will consider it a failure when the total number attending your meeting is less than what is needed to play a game of baseball (18).
Patriot's Wife
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April 20, 2012
My only request is that the MDJ actually interview the three board members that are at the heart of this story. The issues were not over the founding principals, being grass roots or remaining independent. If that were the case, there would not have been a contenuous meeting and mass exidus of the remaining dwindling volunteers. Please seek the truth.

Rule of law
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April 25, 2012
The board members who were removed would be embarassed were all the details made public. The rabble rousers at the meeting were not regular attendees but undesireable fringe elements who give the whole tea party movement a bad reputation. Once the bad apples are gone, the organization will thrive!
Too funny
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April 20, 2012
This is what happens when paranoid conspiracy theorists try to work together.

Seriously, the "Muslims are taking us, the communists are taking us?" Turn off talk radio and read a book (by someone other than Glenn Beck or Bill O'Reilly) every once in a while. Good grief.
SW Gal
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April 20, 2012
The GA Tea Party described in the meeting last night is nothing like the grassroots patriotic group comprising most tea parties. Why should people attend these meetings if they have no say in the process? This group does not resemble the heart and soul of the TEA Party movement by any stretch of the imagination. It is a good thing other Tea Party groups continue with focus on saving our beloved country.
Searcy v TSPLOST
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April 20, 2012
Field Searcy has done good work on the NO TSPLOST defense team. I hope he will keep up a strong role defeating that $700 million train tax debacle.

This may be a blessing in disguise. We need him between now and July 31st.
Timus
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April 20, 2012
I read this article expecting to read something about tax reform or small government and what I read about is choas and the whacko fringe calling the President a Muslim and a communist. If that's the type of organization you want to have you are already done for. Independents are go to run as fast as they can to get away from you and then all you'll have is a room full of nutjobs!!
WestCobber
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April 20, 2012
Just what article did you read - I don't see anything in this article that calls "the President a Muslim or a communist". You are so typical of the left - you read the words then put your own meaning on them. I would suggest that you re-read this article, or have someone explain it to you because obviously you don't understand the written word
In the know
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April 20, 2012
I agree completely with Timus. The "my way or the highway" metality will be the downafall of the Tea Party.
Heaventree
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April 20, 2012
Reading comprehension is clearly not West Cobber's strongest suit.
4Dees
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April 20, 2012
It appears to me that the GTP board borders on the side of being tyrants. They've lost three amazing and very hard working board members, whose contributions were not appreciated. I have also heard that they do not appreciate their volunteers, but rather pay them lip service to keep them attending their meetings. It is a true shame that egos have gotten in the way of the true meaning of what a tea party organization should be, and that a few who have some power have let it go to their heads.
Rule of law
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April 25, 2012
Is ridding the board of rogue members who show contempt for the principles of the organization tyrannical? Is failing to show appreciation for conspiracy theories a result of big egos?
Mr. KnowitAll
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April 20, 2012
The Tea Party is not some cookie-cutter, predetermined mold where everybody has to think the same. THAT'S WHAT WE ARE FIGHTING AGAINST!!! We are grass roots, and organically grown. We are not the same grown from the same seed! And for the Ga. Tea Party to wrestle that diversity from the group, NOW--at a time when OBama is wreaking havoc on the Constitution---just shows THEY are the ones out-of-touch.

Ga. Tea Party---you have harmed the cause to sooth your egos. Shame on you.

J Balfour
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April 20, 2012
No point being rude??? Tell that to your much touted Ted Nugent and his supporters Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and the rest of the repubs. Your rants about communists put you in the lunatic category with Alan West.
NF Patriot
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April 20, 2012
The meeting last night was only a small bump in the road. The principles articulated by the Tea Party of personal Liberty, Freedom and accountability and limited government caused a seismic shift in the 2010 elections that ousted more then 700 Democrats from positions at all levels of government and brought control of the House to Republicans.

These same principles frame the 2012 elections. The people who have been involved with the Tea parties may not all remain there, but they have gotten involved iwht other groups and elections. They have certainly NOT disappeared from the scene.
COBBCSI
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April 20, 2012
Looks like the Republicans’ are taken over the TEA Party county and state government is where you have the most power, than you can move to national level. You should know by now that Chip Rogers Don Balfour is scared. SB 469 was the coming together of people of Georgia and you were finally getting some power. Go ahead and sit there each week and read your home work while you’re being mugged at the county and state level. If lobbing wasn’t important why is there so many of them and so much money spent fools!!
rjsnh
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April 20, 2012
sounds like the Tea Party is over
Lib in Cobb
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April 20, 2012
The Tea Party has or had little chance of survival due ti its lack of organization and too few active members. Yes, they were partially successful during the 2010 elections, but at the same time they are a thorn in the side of the GOP.

Good luck, I am certain we will see the demise of the TP rather soon.
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