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By Scott Jorgensen
Posted 1:00 AM Eastern
April 8, 2009

In 1773, American colonists expressed their frustration at the abuses of the British monarchy by staging the famed Boston Tea Party.

Now, over 200 years later, residents throughout the United States plan to recapture the spirit of that historic event with tea parties of their own.

On April 15, a series of tea parties are scheduled in more than 1,500 towns in all 50 states. The protests are being promoted at the national level by Americans for Prosperity, a non-partisan grassroots organization.

Earlier this year, the national AFP chapter led an effort against the federal bailouts of several failing companies. According to AFP Oregon State Director and former state legislator Jeff Kropf, that prompted nearly 500,000 people to sign an online petition in protest. It also caused AFP’s membership to double in just a few weeks.

“People all over American and Oregon are angry and afraid. They’re scared about what’s happening to America’s freedom and economy, and they’re willing to get out and do something about it on April 15,” Kropf said. “We’re diligently working to channel that anger, frustration and fear into a positive direction through asking these people to come be part of our organization and join one of our local or state chapters.”

Oregon, a state where Democrats have a near-monopoly on political power, will see tea parties in many of its cities. Those include notoriously liberal Portland, where Kropf said “several thousand people” have registered for the event.

Protests have been scheduled for Astoria, Beaverton, Bend, Coos Bay, Corvallis, The Dalles, Eugene, Grants Pass, La Grande, Medford, Oregon City, Rogue River, Roseburg, Salem, Reedsport, Tillamook and the campus of Oregon State University.

The Grants Pass tea party is being organized by around 100 people, according to Josephine County chapter coordinator Jack Swift.

Swift said that concerns over increased government growth, spending and deficits have lead to widespread interest in AFP’s activities.

“The driving crux behind this seems to be coming from women,” Swift said. “They’re concerned about their grandkids and what this mess is going to leave to our grandchildren.”

Members of the mainstream press have started taking notice of the tea part events and reporting on them. Swift said that publicity has raised expectations for the Grants Pass protest, which will begin at 5 p.m. in front of the county courthouse.

“We thought we’d get maybe 40 people out. But nationwide, this has just grabbed hold,” Swift said.
“It has all kinds of momentum.”

Speakers for the Grants Pass protest will include Swift, Richard Burke of Oregon AFP, Editor Paul Walter and Medford KMED radio personality Bill Meyer. Josephine County Commissioner Dwight Ellis [R] decline the invitation to address the group.

Swift said his speech will concentrate on the Declaration of Independence and the parallels between revolutionary America and now. Paul Walter who immigrated from a socialist country will speak on the dangers of socialism.

“Look at the long litany of complaints brought against King George,” Swift said. “Six of them are exactly on point today.”

The Josephine County AFP chapter meets at the Elmer’s restaurant in Grants Pass at 6:30 p.m. every Thursday. Swift said he would be more than happy to welcome new members upset about current events.

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“I think what history is going to say about our nation today as we sit here is that we are confronting a monumental decision,” Swift said. “Are we going to be a nation of free enterprise or a nation of socialism?”

[Read Judge Andrew Napolitano's book "A Nation of Sheep"]

For more information, e-mail Swift at [email protected].

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W. Scott Jorgensen is a resident of Cave Junction, Oregon and reports for the Illinois Valley News. He hosts a talk show on KAJO radio in Grants Pass from 9:30 to 10:30 every Wednesday morning and has reported for various daily, weekly and monthly newspapers, worked as a press secretary for a 2004 Congressional campaign and served as an aide in the 2005 Oregon Legislature.

He can be reached at: [email protected].










On April 15, a series of tea parties are scheduled in more than 1,500 towns in all 50 states.