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Rhode Island Tea Party Breaks Up—New Group Forms

Friday, August 12, 2011


The Rhode Island Tea Party has broken up and a core group of volunteers has left to form their own organization—the Ocean State Tea Party in Action, GoLocalProv has learned.

It’s unclear what the future of the older and original state Tea Party holds. One of the founders and president, Colleen Conley has been conspicuously absent from Tea Party events and activities over the past few months. Yesterday, Conley did not respond to a request for a comment.

For the past few months, the public face of the Tea Party has been Lisa Blais, one of three board members and a spokeswoman for the organization.

Blais is now one of the leaders of the new organization. Blais told GoLocalProv that all of the volunteers behind the Tea Party’s campaign at the Statehouse—including a successful defeat of binding arbitration legislation in the last session—have all left and formed the new group. In addition to herself, she said four out of six members of the Tea Party steering committee have made the departure.

Disagreement over direction of Tea Party

Blais said they left because the other two members of the board—Conley and Nan Hayden—decided to take the Tea Party in a “different direction.”

“The Board of the [Rhode Island Tea Party] decided to take a different direction for the group. As one board member of three and one of the five members of the legislative committee that resigned from the organization, I decided to move on in order to continue the work that had proven effective. I appreciate the opportunity to have volunteered for the RITP,” Blais told GoLocalProv. “The excellent work of the last number of months will be continued in the Ocean State Tea Party in Action.”

She added: “We were particularly pleased with having made GoLocalProv.com’s Who’s Hot list. We are that group and will continue that work. We look forward to collaboration with all good government groups, tea partiers and citizen activists in RI.”

She declined to elaborate on what differences of opinion there were over the future agenda of the Tea Party.

State Rep Doreen Costa, one of the original members of the Tea Party, confirmed there had been a split in the organization. She said she will serve as a legislative liaison for the new group. But she said she will also maintain ties to the Rhode Island Tea Party.

“I’m just going to support anybody I can who has the same values,” Costa said.

Focus on legislation, economic climate

Ocean State Tea Party in Action says it will focus on legislative issues, improving the state’s economic climate, and serving as a voice for taxpayers, according to advance copy of a news release announcing its formation obtained by GoLocalProv.

“The Ocean State Tea Party in Action provides a laser-like focus on regulations, laws and pending legislation that undermine the voters’ and taxpayers’ desire to achieve prosperity for all Rhode Islanders in a flourishing economy,” said Deloris Issler, a lobbyist for the Rhode Island Tea Party who is now leaving to join the Ocean State Tea Party.

Already several other groups are lending their support to the new group, including RI Salons United—which opposed Governor Chafee’s sales tax expansion, and Patriots of South County and RI Friends, according to the news release.

“If we are to restore Rhode Island’s economy and move it from being the 50th worst state in which to do business to one of the top ten states in which to do business, we have no alternative but to restore a balance in the State House,” Blais said. “Jump on-board with the Ocean State Tea Party in Action, we’re on the move.”

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This is just a fad. They remind me of the folks who organized during the banking crisis ( they had good reason) where are they now. In ten years you will be reading in the pro-jo on this day, and look back and get a big laugh out of the Conley's, Costa's and their cup of tea.

Comment #1 by Lis Velva on 2011 08 12

Let's hope the splinter group at least knows how to spell.

Comment #2 by Ned Rivers on 2011 08 12

Conley finally realized that Blais is an "organizational virus"...Conley just figured out that an organization of HATERS, blinded by ambition, reason & any political acumen, starts to consume itself..as for Costa, my grandmother could have beaten Ken Carter & she's been gone for 22 years!!..Beginning of the end for TP

Comment #3 by Buc Kner on 2011 08 12

"Me, me, me, me, me" Lisa Blais

Comment #4 by Travis Yowley on 2011 08 12

I wish I was cool like you guys.

Comment #5 by Typical Resident on 2011 08 12

Sad state of journalism. If they knew anything about the "core" of the tea party, they would know that its made up of volunteers and not just 4 or 5 people who have egos that are out of control. Good for RITP for standing firm on their principles.

Comment #6 by Lianne Russell on 2011 08 12

And they blame the dems for winning election after election. Maybe the opposition should look in the mirror before the blame themselves for their inability to get organized. You can win an election if you are fighting with each other

Comment #7 by Phil Lagoy on 2011 08 12

Sounds to me like Issler and Blais have started the Menopausal Mean Girls Club. The Tea Party fought binding arbitration successfully for 3 years now- long before these catty egoists were on the scene. What's really their end game? RI is full of people like this, who care more about their own little empire than working together and getting something actually done.

Comment #8 by Chloe Euston on 2011 08 12

Who really cares about these useless teabaggers? They were not relevant when they started, and they're still not relevant now that they've disbanded.

Good riddance to this group of right wing, homophobic, racist, union hating maggots.

Also, someone needs to tell the #1 teabagger, that ugly skank Costa, to start cleaning out her desk at the statehouse-she's one term and out.

Comment #9 by johnny jones on 2011 08 12

Poor ignorant Johnny Jones can't grasp the reality that the Tea Party spoiled his two year old left wing monopoly party across America. They didn't get all they wanted from Congress and the GA but they sure made life miserable for you lefties. Let me wipe a tear for you. LMAO!!!

Comment #10 by Max Diesel on 2011 08 12

Regarding Representative Doreen Costa, she represents all Tea parties from her local town of North Kingstown and throughout the state. As a Representative Liaison she will be a valuable asset to the Tea Party and it's Conservative mission with smaller government and less taxes.  Like the Body...... It can't survive on one blood cell alone, it takes many cells to complete it's tasks.  My sincere congratulation to all Tea Parties though out our State for their hard work, I hope to see you all at rallies in the Future!

Comment #11 by Stephen DeNuccio on 2011 08 12

Leave it to Rhode Island to screw up the one thing that had a shot of keeping us from going over the brink. Figures that damn half-wit Costa was involved. It seems everything she touches turns to crap. If that’s the best you can find, you are doomed.

Tea Party, or whoever you are now, you ought to take a look at Costa’s voting record, by the way. I heard her repeatedly promise “no new taxes”. Was I hearing things or are you now the Tax Party?

She’s working tonight at Lucky’s Tavern at 143 Danielson Pike, Foster. You should stop by and ask her. Or just call up and ask for Doreen. (401) 647-2537

Comment #12 by Al Carvine on 2011 08 12

Why are personal attacks are allowed at GoLocalProv?

Comment #13 by Joyce Bryant on 2011 08 12

Wow - you leftists love sniffing the dirty laundry, don't you? You ooze out of the woodwork. johnny jones - what a shining example of intellect and insight you are... not. Vicious personal attacks and nothing of substance to say is so typical of the left. (yawn) it's tiresome too.

Back to the real issue: If Lisa and this new group say RITP is moving in a different direction, and THIS group is the volunteers who were so successful in the GA against Chafee taxes and binding arbitration, then THIS is the group to watch and follow. Colleen Conley has needed to go for a long time. Too bad her refusal to step aside exposes dirty laundry and brings the important movement to this very public split.

Comment #14 by Nancy Freeman on 2011 08 12

Even here, the attackers feel the need to attack Doreen Costa in a personal manner. It is also occurring on Facebook ….connect the dots. Everyone continues to notice that these attacks are a one way direction. Now we are bordering on slander and harassment as nothing is beneath these individuals. Nothing but bullies!

Comment #15 by guy smily on 2011 08 12

Al Carvone said:

"Tea Party, or whoever you are now, you ought to take a look at Costa’s voting record, by the way. I heard her repeatedly promise “no new taxes”. Was I hearing things or are you now the Tax Party?"

Pssst! Al, she is in the minority party, minority meaning they don't control the GA. Pay attention.

Comment #16 by Max Diesel on 2011 08 12

Liberals and personal attacks go together like shit and flies.

Comment #17 by John Waddington on 2011 08 12

If you are going to accuse someone of voting for tax increases please list each specific vote and reference it. Then you will have a valid argument instead of just lobbing bombs all over the place.

Comment #18 by guy smily on 2011 08 12

Did someone say SHIT?

Comment #19 by Travis Yowley on 2011 08 12

If you're taking flack then you're over the target. Kudos to Ocean State Tea Party in Action. To those who post about Rep. Costa, why don't you have the gonads to print your real name so we know who you are. You seem to have no problem posting Rep. Coata's info. And to the brain child who compared this to the folks who organized during the banking crisis, the banking crisis was remedied and so will the left's strangle hold in RI.

Comment #20 by Robert Carlin on 2011 08 12

We have a number of different groups focusing on a conservative agenda. People get unhappy with the direction an organization is going in and find the need to splinter off rather than working through their differences.

You need to follow one playbook, not throw the book out. The NE Patriots don't win games by just playing offense and ignoring defense.

Will the real Tea Party please stand up.

Comment #21 by Mark D on 2011 08 12

Hey, GoLocalProv, how about fixing your front page banner? This isn't "Tea Party IMplodes," which implies it's falling apart. It's more appropriately "Tea Party EXplodes": grows, expands, broadens its reach and hones its effectiveness.

A sensational headline is beneath you, GLP. This is actually great news for hardworking taxpayers.

Comment #22 by Lucie R on 2011 08 13

Mark D, consider this: the Rhode Island Tea Party is not the NE Patriots; the tea party movement is more - in a very general way and if we're sticking with the football analogy - the NFL. There are many teams, many coaches, and each plays the game in their own style according to their strengths, but they have the same objectives. We've just added a new team to the conference.

Comment #23 by Lucie R on 2011 08 13

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