Tom Lawrence, who helped to found and foster the Flagler County Tea Party, has stepped down as chair of the organization.
Lawrence has acted as chair of the organization since July 2009. He always planned to step down — the Tea Party will hold elections for a new chair in the fall — but a pinched nerve in his back led him to end his tenure a bit earlier than expected.
When Lawrence first got involved with the Tea Party, he had one goal for Flagler's chapter of the political party: to have a conservative presidential candidate win the Flagler County vote in the 2012 election.
“We got the job done,” Lawrence said. “We were one of the only counties in the state that turned a 2008 [conservative] loss into a win in 2012.”
Now, he said, it is appropriate for the organization to have some new leadership. He remains sympathetic with the Tea Party’s goals, but will be stepping back from it to make room for the new chair’s authority.
Since it began in 2009, the Tea Party's email list has grown from about 300 to about 900, Lawrence said. He estimates that each email address reaches two people on average, and said that the organization also reaches more than 100 people through the phone. He said he is confident that the Tea Party will continue to grow.
Now, Lawrence will be recovering from the pinched nerve in his back, which renders his left leg nearly unusable. And, Lawrence said, he wants to spend more time with his wife.
“I’m going to be 72 in August,” Lawrence said. “I want to be able to do some of the things my wife and I never got to do.”
Nominations for a new Tea Party chair will open in the fall. There will also be elections for a new vice chairperson, secretary and treasurer. In the meantime, Gail St. Pierre will act as interim chair.
St. Pierre plans to have more member participation in the organization, so the Tea Party chapter has formed committees for communications, federal, state, county and municipal monitoring. The party also needs three members for a monitoring committee.
To volunteer for any of the committees or offices, email [email protected] or [email protected].