Daily Local News (West Chester, PA)

Beth Sweet puts her money where her mouth is

- Bill Rettew Small Talk

Beth Sweet puts the rad in radical, the demonstrat­e in demonstrat­or and the act in activist.

Sweet, 49, has been a volunteer with the Chester County Democratic Committee since March 2016 and zone leader/chair of the East Goshen Democrats since September 2017.

I first met her at a political rally. I enjoy chatting with anyone who puts their money where their mouth is and speaks out — no matter what their political party or opinion.

I like to hear diverse opinions! I dig democracy!

“I’m just someone who pushes the boundaries,” Sweet said during a recent interview in a coffee shop. “I also speak up for what is right.”

Sweet first got involved with weekly Friday protests at former U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello’s office on President Trump’s inaugurati­on day, Jan. 20, 2017. The protests have moved down to the corner of High and Market streets since Costello retired, and the flower lover no longer takes part in those rallies.

“People can protest all they’d like,” Costello wrote in a Friday text. “Never bothered me.

“(She) disrupted the ability of my staff to assist elderly, immigrants and veterans with their casework.”

Sweet: “There were a lot of factors that led him to resign. We were a constant visual reminder that his constituen­ts were not happy. It put a spotlight on him that he didn’t like.”

Costello often visited with the protesters, shaking hands and listening.

More recently, Sweet took part in specific rallies for women’s health care, the tax bill, repealing the Affordable Care Act and the immigratio­n separation policy.

The American Civil Liberties Union represente­d Sweet and five others when Sweet said Costello cut off and blocked several of his constituen­ts from his social media sites.

The pro tennis fan said Costello changed his policies and the issue never hit a court room.

“That’s radical - telling your kids that you are suing your congressma­n,” she said. “He took it as personal attacks.

“We felt we were personally not being represente­d by him and that’s his job.”

Can one person who does not hold office make a difference or is there strength in numbers?

“One individual can probably not be heard, but an individual that represents many definitely can,” she said.

Sweet said she is “outspoken.” She said the media helps get the message out, otherwise if nobody knows, there is no traction.

“(Elected officials) do know about us and care about us,” she said. “It probably ticks them off with what we’re saying but they hear us; that’s what we want.”

She said a June 2018 immigratio­n rally attracted the scrutiny of the White House.

Sweet has been married to Brian Sweet for 26 years. He is running for East Goshen supervisor. The couple has three children. She grew up in Montgomery County and has lived in East Goshen for 19 years. She earned a math degree from Ursinus College.

She has actively become involved in politics during the past three years.

“I was always interested and involved in social issues but during the past three years it’s turned political,” the home baker said.

She became involved during the 2016 presidenti­al election.

“I couldn’t do nothing,” she said. “I had to do something to stop it.”

Now she works to get Democrats elected.

Would she ever run for office?

“I’d consider running but I have more impact outside the structure of political office and I advocate for people to run such as my husband,” she said.

She and her husband “agree on the big stuff” and Sweet said she might have pulled him a bit to the left politicall­y.

What’s it like to get involved with an election and stick around as the re

 ?? BILL RETTEW - MEDIANEWS GROUP ?? Activist Beth Sweet
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