Keli Carender

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Often considered the first Tea Partier, Keli Carender is known for her organization of Tea Party protests since February 2009,[1] and for her speech at a Bremerton, Washington town hall meeting in which she challenged the philosophical views behind the recent health care plans. Carender received the 2010 Town Hall Award at the third annual Sam Adams Alliance's "Sammies" and has been featured in the New York Times and on NPR and CBS News.

Personal Life

Keli Carender was born in 1981 and lives in Seattle, where she is a teacher and actress.[1] “You probably would not think of her as a Tea Party type,” New York Times reporter Kate Zernike explained in a February 2010 article:
"Carender has a pierced nose, performs improv on weekends and lives here in a neighborhood with more Mexican grocers than coffeehouses. You might mistake her for the kind of young person whose vote powered President Obama to the White House."[2]

The First Tea Partier

Before the Tea Party movement began, Carender found herself frustrated with the health care plan and her Congressman’s full voicemail box that prevented her from making her voice heard.[2] She began the blog, "Redistributing Knowledge", and presented herself under the nickname “Liberty Belle,” promoting “individual rights and freedom.” Carender’s blog states, “I will not sit idly by and watch as social democrats, socialists, or communists attempt to dominate this country. I am ready to do my part and fight for liberty.”[3] Carender still wanted to do more. In February 2009, Carender organized her first protest against the health care plan. Not many people participated, but as she planned more events and the media began covering her protests, the number of protesters grew. After six weeks, the number of protesters had grown to 1,200, and in January 2010, Carender was flown to Washington, D.C. for an activism training program called "Freedom Works."[2]

Town Hall Speech

At a town hall meeting in Bremerton, Washington in August 2009, Carender spoke to Congressman Norm Dick about the philosophical problem of taking from some for the benefit of others. She concluded by pulling a twenty-dollar bill from her pocket and challenged the Congressman to take the bill as a “down payment” on the health care plan. A YouTube video of Carender’s challenge titled “Come and Take It” has scored over 74,000 views, and Carender was awarded the 2010 Sam Adams Alliance's "Sammies" Town Hall Award.

Other Involvement and Awards

Carender founded the group "Seattle Sons and Daughters of Liberty" and is the director of outreach and education for State Budget Solutions. She is also a staff member for "Tea Party Patriots."[4] Carender was awarded the "Defender of Freedom Award" in December 2010.[5]

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