MOUNT VERNON — As localized tea parties spring up around the state of Ohio, as well as the country, more and more communities are seeing the need to come together.
“After all the tea parties people asked, ‘Well, what do we do now,” said Warren Edstrom, coordinator for Knox County 912.
On Thursday night at the Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County, about 35 Knox County residents gathered to create an organized group of individuals with a common purpose and goal of reaching the ears and heart of local, state and national government with the concerns of the people. From this meeting was created Knox County 912 that will be an organization under the umbrella of the Ohio Liber-Tea (Liberty) Council.
The council was started two months ago and is a 501 c4 incorporated organization that is involved with local grassroots groups all around the state of Ohio.
“Its taken quite a while for this to develop. I realized, after listening to Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, some thing’s made a lot of sense. I was becoming very concerned,” said Bob Ronk, an organizer with the Ohio Liber-Tea Council. “As our awareness became more acute, we went to the April 15th tea party ... and we realized how important it is to do this from the grassroots up.”
Jason Mihalick, a council leader with the Ohio Liber-Tea Council was also present during the meeting and is the son-in-law of Ronk. Mihalick and Ronk began the organization with other concerned members of the community.
“We had to do something,” said Ronk, a resident of Knox County. “We ended up hooking up with six to eight individuals that represented various organizations that already had quite a history of conservative values — exactly what we believed in. So we all got together decided that all the little groups are just little groups all over the place. What power do they have as a little group?”
That is how the council found its purpose — to connect grassroots groups and organizations by communicating and creating a bond among like-minded people, he said.
The focus of the organization is to establish tools and information to get the people involved in the issues, said Ronk. “We want to provide information so the people can decide [on the issues].”
“[And] we want to keep it non-partisan,” said Bill Williams, coordinator for Central Ohio 912 group and a council leader with Ohio Liber-Tea Council. The speaker addressed the importance of keeping the organization open to all concerned citizens.
“We want to create a safe and loving environment for freedom- loving people and keep it free,” said Ronk. “And do whatever we have to do to build up organizations and to establish some creditability to do that.”
“That is part of the purpose of us doing this, is to get ‘us’ back involved in the system,” said Edstrom, who has been a resident of Danville for 19 years. “Because ‘us’ ain’t involved in the system.”
The discussion focused in as listeners asked what can be done for Knox County.
“It has to come from the people, from the ground up — the grass roots,” said Edstrom.
He said one of the goals would be to build a strong infrastructure in Knox County. In doing so, making the public aware of local issues, what these issues represent as well as information on candidates running in the local and state level.
“For every one of you sitting here, there is another 100 people out there [with the same concerns],” said Edstrom. “We have to look at every area of government. ... If we organize on a county level you can cover all these people from the dog catcher to the school board, and all the way up and on.”
To contact Knox County 912 group coordinator, Edstrom e-mail him at .
While keeping an eye on what happens “now,” the groups holds out hope their actions will create a better country for the future.
“We want to make things better for our grandchildren,” said Ronk. “We don’t want them to look at us and say, ‘Where were you when all this was taking place?’”
The Ohio Liber-Tea Council is organizing a tea party rally for Aug. 1, at 2 p.m. at the Statehouse in Columbus.
“This tea party is already one of many sporadic tea parties [happening],” said Ronk.
For more information about the Ohio Liberty Council visit www.ohiolibertycouncil.org.