Politics & Policy

Interview: Pennsylvania’s ‘Kitchen Table Patriots’

The Kitchen Table Patriots are one of the thousands of tea party groups that have sprung up across the nation. They’re based in Southeastern Pennsylvania, and they’re soon going to be one of the first tea party organizations to establish a physical office. On Sept. 14, they’ll be opening up a “People’s Headquarters” in Doylestown, Pa.

I sat down with Anna Puig and Anastasia Przybylski of the Kitchen Table Patriots to talk about their group and the work they’re doing to impact the national conversation in November and beyond.

Battle ‘10: Who are the Kitchen Table Patriots, and how did they come to form in Southeastern Pennsylvania?

The Kitchen Table Patriots was established in 2009 by concerned citizens of Pennsylvania who had had enough of our government’s socialist agenda.  The tea party that took place on April 18th, 2009 at Washington Crossing park, the historic place where General Washington turned the Revolutionary War around for the Patriots, was just the beginning. It was simply a place to gather folks who wanted to send a loud and clear message to our state and to the federal government that we were sick and tired of the dishonesty and lack of transparency in our government which is supposed to be for the people and by the people! 

Since then, the Kitchen Table Patriots have been successful in our mission to restore our government and bring back conservatism to America simply by being innovative and strategic with our ideas and by our willingness to put our egos aside in order to work with other groups who share the same frame of mind.  We are not looking for fame and glory, just results.  This is a key element in growing our membership on a day to day basis and the reason many have recently joined our group.

Throughout the past year, we have organized several grassroots “activism” events as well as fundraisers as we believe that in order to be successful in our mission, the movement must work simultaneously in five different areas:  marches and rallies, lobbying members of the state and federal government, events to promote candidates who represent our conservative morals and principles, educational forums and finally, but perhaps most important, fundraising events. 

The one and only reason we have been able to provide the public with such a vast array of activities is simply due to the fact that we have been able to create a war chest by hosting fun, unusual events to raise funds.  Just this May, we strategically planned a pork roast fundraiser ten days prior to the PA primary elections, where we raised money for our organization by charging an entrance fee to a social gathering that celebrates the ideals of limited government, economic freedom and fiscal responsibility in Grand Tea Party Fashion while also providing various candidates running in the primary a chance to meet and greet folks who have been woken up since the election cycle in 2008.   During this event, we also educated the masses by featuring phenomenal speakers who touched on various issues that people must understand in order for us to win the battle ahead.

By concentrating on activism while not being too overbearing when communicating with the folks who have joined us throughout the last year and half, we have grown our membership and our credibility from two friends who were worried about the direction of our country to an organization that now has enough leverage to participate in national events as well as make changes within the local GOP!  This year, for the first time ever in our district, we had a no-party-endorsement/open primary congressional race where the people had a direct say in who will represent them. 

So, to sum it all up, we are grassroots!  We are in essence concerned American citizens standing up for our country and our state.  We are everyday people who want the government to keep a balanced budget! We promote positive and constructive ideas consistent with the Constitution. We work to identify leaders who will promote the founding principles by standing up and fighting for limited government and more freedom.

Battle ‘10: Pennsylvania is already a battleground state, and the Southeast, especially, is home to a number of nationally relevant and very competitive House races. What is your group doing to have an impact?

The most important thing is providing voters with information on candidate voting records. This election, more than any before it in a very long time, is an election that is being driven by the people and not by the parties.  It is important to note that while the GOP appears to have better polling numbers across the board than the Democrat Party at this point in time and may indeed take the House and potentially even the Senate on November 2nd, groups like ours will hold them accountable to their promises. 

Unlike years past where winning candidates simply moved on to the corridors of power and did whatever the party mandarins told them to do, we, the people, will be closely watching and holding their feet to the fire.  Grassroots groups in Southeastern PA will continue to be engaged in the political process by pressuring our elected officials, no matter what their party affiliation, to live up the expectations of accountable government set by the people.  America is for Americans, not for a patrician political class.

Battle ‘10: Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally last weekend, and many other elements of the tea party movement, are frequently described by the media as “overwhelming white,” “angry,” etc. What do you make of this narrative?

The “overwhelmingly white tea partier” narrative is quite simply a hit job by the main stream media.  The only people who believe this narrative are the main stream media and the left wing political class of this country (and not even that they probably believe it, but they do see it as an effective tool to turn the conversation in the public domain away from the failure of the Obama/Pelosi/Reid economic agenda).

If you have been to as many tea party events as we have, you can clearly see that this is false.  Being a tea partier is not about the color of your skin, it is about loving what is good about this country. And what is good about this country are the principles upon which it was founded. 

We certainly are “angry” about the direction the Obama/Pelosi/Reid troika are attempting to take this country in, which is why someone like me, a stay-at-home mom with a more than full-time job of taking care of after four kids, a husband and a household has had to personally get involved to turn this thing around. There is simply too much at stake to trust the political class with the future of our children and our country.

Battle ‘10: You mentioned that you’re opening one of the nation’s first physical headquarters for a tea party organization on Sept. 14, in partnership with American Majority. What will it’s purpose be, and why the need for a physical location?

The main purpose for us to open Headquarters and have an actual physical location is simply to better be able to “Get Out The Vote” in an organized fashion. The headquarters meets the needs of the unprecedented number of citizen activists generated by the Tea Party movement.  We consider this The People’s Headquarters.

Politicians in both Washington and Harrisburg have not listened to the voice of average citizens, while deficits have soared and our freedoms have shrunk. We are going to speak loud enough this November to change that.

Battle ‘10: Dan Onorato recently came out with a no-tax “promise”, as opposed to Tom Corbett’s “pledge.”Which candidate will your group support on this economic issue? Is one more trustworthy than the other?

Americans have found out the hard way that politicians will say whatever it takes to get elected (President Obama is just the latest great example of this). Once they are in office they tend to change or modify these promises to meet their political needs. What is the difference between a “promise” and a “pledge”? Who really knows; these are just words. What really matters are “actions” and voting records (for those who have previously held office).  

We will support the candidate who has the most compelling argument on tax reduction and then we will hold them responsible for their actions. Whoever wins this race needs to remember that tea party groups are not going to go away. 

Americans have been burned way too many times and we are not taking our country back by voting in candidates who will respect our views and take the Constitution seriously.

Battle ‘10: The Tea Party movement is more than a year old — are you finding that interest is waning? Are you still welcoming new members? What’s the level of intensity?

The Tea Party movement is real and we have experienced enormous growth during the past year and a half, so much so that we can no longer keep up with the influx of emails we receive through our website!  When we first came together, it seemed that we were mainly Republicans who were feeling disenfranchised with our Government.  But now, as the current administration has rapidly progressed towards a socialist agenda, we are being approached on a daily basis by Republicans, Independents and Democrats; we are being sought by folks from all walks of life who are frightened and fed up with both parties. 

These are independent thinking people who want a party which tries to solve the things the American people fear most: terrorism, the economy, and loss of honesty and transparency in our government.

Battle ‘10: What is the goal of Kitchen Table Patriots beyond election day, and what do you see as the future role of your group in Pennsylvania beyond 2010?

We hope for a big conservative win in November and that will be our main focus for the next two months.  Once the elections are over, we will continue to do what we do best: organize!  We will take all of our volunteers and we will continue to get more involved in the Republican party since we do not believe in forming a third party (at least not at this point in time), so that we can influence not just how the party is run but also so that we can help bring the Republican party back to what it used to be, conservative. 

In addition, we will be fighting a very important battle which many of us have lost sight of, the indoctrination that is taking place in our country through the school systems, media communication, entertainment and religion.  We will start this fight by looking into the School boards so that we can find the right individuals to run for intricate positions on those boards. 

We will also be pushing School Choice for the parents in the state of Pennsylvania very hard as we believe that parents should have the power and opportunity to choose their child’s school and reap the benefits of free-market competition.  We will partner with the Conservative Leadership Coalition to continue to groom everyday citizens so that they can, too, become more involved by running for positions in their counties, parties, and school boards. 

Battle ‘10: Further thoughts?

We’re going to continue to help the citizens of this great nation regain control of their government so that we can let “the people” — and not bureaucrats — govern once more.  In addition, through our activism, we will continue to educate the folks around us that the government works for us; we do not work for the government and if we don’t have freedom, we don’t have life!  We are committed to not letting America go down the same socialist path so many nations throughout the world have taken. 

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