Brewing political tea in Bedford

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By John Barnhart

    Ann Briscoe got the idea for a Bedford Tea Party when she and her husband, John, attended a Glenn Beck rally in Washington, D. C. in 2010.

    Then, later, she was at a local Republican unit meeting, talking with some people outside when Laura Rodes suggested that Bedford should have a Tea Party. Travis Witt offered to start one if somebody assisted him. Briscoe agreed and that’s how the Bedford Tea Party got rolling.
    The organization announced its first meeting online and Roanoke Tea Party supporters showed up to help them get started.
    “That was really helpful,” she said.
    There are now 135 members on Briscoe’s e-mail list.
    Some members attend every board of supervisors meeting and they have recently begun recording videos. There is one currently posted on the organization’s Web site, wwwbedfordvateaparty.org, of Board Chairman Steve Arrington’s speech to local teachers, recorded at a meeting last month.
    “We act more on a local level than anything,” Briscoe said. “That’s where things start. You can keep an eye on things.”
    They are having an impact. Briscoe said Arrington and District 6 Supervisor Annie Pollard spoke to the group, giving them credit for helping to keep the county’s tax rate down that year.
    Briscoe said that she understands that the county has needs, but it’s also necessary to ask where the money is going to come from.
    John and Ann Briscoe, along with a number of other Tea Party supporters, went to the state Republican convention, supporting E. W. Jackson for lieutenant governor.
    “It went down to four ballots and it was E. W. and [Pete] Snyder,” she said. “So we prayed.”
    Briscoe said Witt led the group in prayer.
    “And then, E. W. won and it was so exciting,” she said.
    “The Tea Party was instrumental in that,” Briscoe added.
    The Bedford Tea Party meets at the Bedford Central Library on the third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. Briscoe said she sends out a notice to every one on her e-mail list to remind them. The group is loosely organized and not everybody on the list attends all meetings. Every nine months, Briscoe goes through the list and drops the names of people she hasn’t seen or heard from.
    To contact Briscoe, call her at (540) 586-9778 or e-mail her at annbriscoe@verizon.net. If you e-mail her, put Tea Party in the e-mail’s subject line.