Patricia Presti | Citizens Against Government Waste

Patricia Presti

CAGW President's Club Member Patricia Presti Speaks From the Heartland

4/6/06

America is, as those moving lyrics say, “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”  But keeping it that way requires leadership and commitment to principle, and that’s why the President’s Club exists.  It’s here to make certain that Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) can carry out its mission to restore fiscal restraint and accountability to government.  Now, more than ever, with the federal deficit slated to set yet another record of $423 billion and an $8.28 trillion national debt, we must push our agenda with renewed vigor. 

Our success depends on the generosity of CAGW President’s Club members from coast-to-coast, like Patrica Presti, who speaks from the Heartland.  Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Patricia attended college at Maryville University and is married to Michael Presti, a gastroenterologist who was voted one of the top 10 G.I. physicians in St. Louis three yeas in a row by St. Louis Magazine.  Patricia believes in maintaining a physically fit and healthy lifestyle, and her pride and joy in life are her two children, Joseph and Michelle.  Joe, a 16-year-old sophomore, is a lacrosse star at Charles Lindbergh High School, while his 14-year-old sister Michelle is a tennis-playing freshman at the same school.

Patricia’s father was an immigrant from Bulgaria who married a “farm girl” from Farmington, Missouri.  Patricia visited Bulgaria, a communist country at the time, on several occasions in her youth.  She recounted how miserable the Bulgarians were, with soldiers on the corners of the cobblestone streets, rifles at the ready, and long lines at the grocery stores, while the government was exporting goods to subsidize its leaders’ luxurious lifestyle.  The citizenry was terrified to speak a word in defiance out of fear of retribution.  On one return trip, Patricia remembers armed soldiers' detaining her father and her at the airport because they had forgotten to fill out the proper paperwork with the top-ranking Communist Party official in her aunt’s neighborhood when they had arrived.  At just 16, Patricia picked up her suitcase, looked at her father, and started for the plane saying, “They are going to have to shoot me to keep me here any longer!"

A denizen of the no-nonsense Show-Me State, Patricia is gravely concerned about federal overspending and waste.  She contends, “Government waste steals so much from what we need; it steals from our children,” and she communicated that grave concern to her own children early on.  With glee, she recounted the story of her daughter Michelle, who announced to her second-grade teacher, “Did you know that Dick Gephardt is one of the top 10 spenders out of 435?” 

Patricia’s current job is one of the most difficult, important and time-honored professions, a “stay-at-home” mom.  However, she has a passion for civics and spends her free time toiling night and day to help elect fiscal conservatives to local office, including County Council member Kurt Odenwald and Missouri State Senator Anita Yeckel.  Patricia's lifelong commitment to civics can be traced to her Midwestern values and core belief in the importance of building strong communities.  In fact, she ran for the St. Louis County Special School District Board of Education on a platform of eliminating government waste at a time when services for children with disabilities were being cut, while a new lounge was being constructed for bus drivers.  Patricia also noticed that on election day bus drivers routinely stranded children to work the polls for candidates, alongside custodians, mechanics, food-service workers and other union members. Motivated by this corruption, she ran against a man who had 25 years of experience in education and a Ph.D. to boot, and Patricia won!

Patricia contends most government workers are diligent and honest but the bureaucracy is wasteful and unresponsive to taxpayers.  She is highly concerned that congressmen and senators become easily seduced by the prestige of office and their decision-making influenced by the size of campaign donations from special interests.  In addition, Patricia is disgusted by congressional perks, such as taxpayer-subsidized haircuts, gymnasiums and limousines.  She dislikes the trial attorney lobby and sees a need for substantial tort reform, because we’re “not getting the cream of the crop into medical school” anymore due to unnecessary medical malpractice suits.  She feels quite often patients seek legal remedies when they simply don’t like the outcome of procedures.  And when a physician is sued, even if the lawsuit is thrown out, weeks have to be set aside for the possible court case, depriving patients of treatment even while staff and overhead expenses must still be met.

We asked Patricia, why she feels it’s important to support Citizens Against Government Waste.  She responded, “With the demise of unbiased reporting, the public can no longer look to journalists or reporters for accurate news about our elected officials.  Those elected officials have been so completely seduced by the fame and power that come with public office that they use our hard-earned dollars like Monopoly money.  They spend it to keep special-interest groups happy and to insure donations for their reelection campaigns.”      

Patricia and her husband want their children to live in an America that is free, strong, and honors the sacrifices of those who came before us, which will only happen if our government is based on fiscally solid ground.  It’s because of CAGW’s work that she remains hopefully optimistic for the future of our country.  Each and every time that CAGW President Tom Schatz calls her to thank her for her President’s Club donation, her thoughts are the same, “I should thank you, because you are watching out for me and my family. . .I donate as much and as often as I can and look at it as an investment in my children’s future.”

 

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