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Coffee Party brews opposition to government inactivity

The group welcomes people with any party affiliation.

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Holly Henory, co-organizer of the Coffee Party of Mid-Missouri, and Columbia resident Christephor DeWeese talk about political issues Saturday at The Underground Cafe. The Coffee Party wrote letters to Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., and Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., to address political concerns.

Robert Swain/Staff Photographer

April 13, 2010

A new movement in politics known as the Coffee Party has made its way to Columbia.

The group denies a media claim that it was created in direct opposition to the conservative Tea Party, but it recognizes that the Tea Party has flaws.

Welcoming all creeds and denominations, the Coffee Party is a "100 percent grassroots" movement according to its Web site.

Columbia College political science major Amber Franz initially thought the Coffee Party was a joke. She said now she likes the inclusiveness the Coffee Party could potentially bring to Congress.

"At meetings they ask you when you leave, 'Bring your conservative friends. Bring your liberal friends if you're conservative,' " she said.

The official pledge for Coffee Party members summarizes its values and goals.

"As a member or supporter of the Coffee Party, I pledge to conduct myself in a way that is civil, honest and respectful toward people with whom I disagree," the pledge states. "I value people from different cultures, I value people with different ideas and I value and cherish the democratic process."

Annabel Park began the movement as a rant on Facebook about the inability of politicians to make good decisions and work together, Coffee Party local organizer Jeff Reed said.

Reed, a Moberly resident, said he was inspired to join the Coffee Party because of his father. He said people like his father, who voted Republican as long as he can remember, don't identify with the party anymore, and they are getting pushed further away from the process.

"Right now we are working on an initiative to try to get our elected officials to sit down with us and have coffee to talk about what's going on in Congress and how we can work together to make it better for everybody," Reed said.

Franz agreed the positive approach to political participation is a good thing.

"It's nice as opposed to being angry and just holding a sign," she said.

Reed said the upcoming debate on the Cap and Trade bill would be a good conversation to have with U.S. Representatives because local members have a good understanding of the issue.

Franz said she hopes Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., will recognize members' views.

"He needs to stop listening to one side even though he is a Republican because he represents more than one side," she said. " We have more than one party participating."

Reed said they have been split when it comes to college student participation but said that is where focus needs to be because legislation primarily affects them.

"I don't think there is a college kid right now that shouldn't be excited about the health care bill," Reed said.

Reed has held several official meetings at the Underground Cafe in Columbia. Reed said he hopes to continue weekly Saturday meetings for members to discuss the future of the Coffee Party and solutions for bipartisanship.

"Anybody is welcome to come," he said. "The only thing we ask is that you check your party affiliations at the door."

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Article comments

April 30, 2010 at 9:14 p.m.

Mick Mayers: I was just kidding when I posted that I was a member of the "Coffee Party" on Facebook a while back. But it sounds like this is right up my alley. I'm in.

July 27, 2010 at 2:23 p.m.

Pedro: I love your vision: mission and goals and concept of the role and function of government about its representing the collective will of the people. Get palin to debate Park please.

July 27, 2010 at 3:34 p.m.

Victoria: The Coffee Party sounds like is has been designed in Cambridge Ma,looking forward to hearing the progression of this Party.

July 28, 2010 at 6:49 a.m.

Richard: I am behind you 100% and please get that debate Annabel someone needs to set them straight! I think their movement has really mislead a lot of people!

Sept. 25, 2010 at 11:46 a.m.

Darlene: The health care bill has some great advantages, I feel it's a start and over time it will get much better. We need civility in Congress, if not we are doomed. We have got to make sure everyone votes in November.

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