Every revolution needs icons. The Tea Party movement may have mushroomed because of its reluctance to anoint a leader, but leaders have emerged nonetheless. In February 2009, Jenny Beth Martin was one of about 20 people who took part in the original conference call (convened via Twitter hashtag) in response to Rick Santelli's now famous rant. Her commitment to building the burgeoning movement has made her one of its breakout stars.
Martin, 39, is a co-founder and the national coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots, an umbrella organization that claims 1,800 local affiliates with some 15 million members. She serves as co-chair of her hometown Tea Party in Atlanta, and she helped lead the 9/12 movement's march on Washington in September. It was only as she watched protesters trickle down Pennsylvania Avenue to promote Tea Party principles, she says, that "the enormity of the movement hit me."
The former Republican consultant is an unlikely beacon — a mother of young twins, she blogs about clipping coupons, her household menu plans and her family's battle with bankruptcy, which had Martin cleaning houses to make ends meet when the Tea Party began brewing. "I have a tendency to raise my hand to volunteer too often," she says of the decision to launch the Tea Party Patriots. Her peers are glad she did.
Speaking as one of the local coordinator & State Coordinators -- we could not be happier! And we may be biased, but we do not believe there is a better example than Jenny Beth as to what the Tea Party movement is really about.
I recall the initial nationwide conference calls in the days immediately following the 1st Tax Day Tea Parties. Maintaining the integrity & original intent of the Tax Day Tea Parties, remaining a grass-roots, bottom up type non-partisan group has always been at the forefront in the Tea Party Patriots birth and infancy. Jenny Beth was always stressing this must be maintained as the TPP's grow.
Jenny Beth, we know you do not like the spot light, that you have shied away public recognition for your hard work you do , but-- Congratulations! In the spirit of a true American you have truly earned this.