2016-2017 Chair's Report

Following is the Chair's report submitted by outgoing Chair Michelle Taube at the DA-Denmark Annual General Meeting on Sunday, March 26, 2017:

I guess the Chair's report should run from AGM to AGM, but 2016 was exciting from early in the year. As I said at last year's meeting, we knew from the time the DIS students arrived in January that the year would be different. The students came in and all knew that they wanted to vote and our turnout in the Global Presidential Primary was higher than ever before!

To complete the work of the Global Primary, Tom Hale, David Miller and I flew to Berlin in May to attend the four-day Global Meeting and Convention. During the DA state party convention, we elected our delegates to the Democratic National Convention, including Bernie Sanders' brother Larry, who lives in the UK. (By the way, he is not the only relative of a famous person who lives abroad and is a DA member -- Al Franken's brother lives in France.) In the course of the Berlin meeting, we also elected DA's DNC members for the next four years and worked on our platform. While the DA platform deals with many issues, it's the issues that affect overseas citizens that are the most important for us to bring to the attention of the Party and lawmakers in the US. In fact, we were able to get one of our planks into the DNC platform before the Convention in July.

Back here in Denmark, our voter registration team worked hard to get everyone to request absentee ballots. We helped well over 300 voters in person to fill out ballot requests and ballots. In addition, we answered questions by email and on social media. This year, DA switched to online phone banking so anyone with a computer could make calls. I want to especially thank Michelle B. who not only made calls to voters in Denmark and around the world last year, but is continuing to call now to let voters know about the special elections coming up. If anyone else is interested in helping out, volunteers are always welcome.

I happened to be in the US in July and saw both the Republican and Democratic conventions in real time. Our convention managed to be positive while theirs was overwhelmingly negative. It's nice to see the Democratic Party moving back towards the promises of FDR's New Deal policies. Bernie obviously felt that these issues were important enough that he chose to run as a Democrat. And, clearly the voters are ready for more progressive values.

When we finally got to November, DADK was involved in two Election Night events. David helped the Social Democrats to arrange a party with speeches and bands at VEGA. And, DADK hosted its own viewing party at Schæffergården in Gentofte. Both of the events were very successful and the mood was good until we realized that the old, orange racist was actually going to win the Electoral College vote.

So, now as I prepare to step down as Chair, we have new challenges. Not only do we have to mend the rift in our party, but we have to join the resistance and fight the Trump administration. The resistance is already having an impact. The discontent among so many voters at the thought of losing their healthcare coverage helped lead to the failure of the AHCA (aka Repeal-and-Replace) just a couple of days ago!

Just to put my voter assistance volunteer hat on quickly once more, I want to remind everyone to send in a voter registration form this year. Yes, most of us are already registered and very few of us will have a special election to vote in this year, but it is good to let our election officials know that we want to remain registered. In addition, you never know when there might be a special election to vote in and the form is valid for an entire year.

Before I close, I just want to address an issue that has come up several times recently -- that is, how DADK fits into Danish society. The answer is DADK does not have an official relationship with the Danish government. Democrats Abroad is the Democratic state party for all Americans living overseas. DADK members can voice their opinions and work to change Danish society as private citizens, but as part of an American political party, DADK cannot try to influence local policies. Let me read the beginning of the DA Charter for the more official version:

Democrats Abroad Charter
Article One: Name; Purpose
Democrats Abroad, also known as the Democratic Party Committee Abroad ("DPCA"), is the organization that represents all United States citizens residing outside the United States who wish to adhere to the principles and further the aims of the Democratic Party of the United States of America. The organization is recognized by the Democratic National Committee ("DNC") as the equivalent of a U.S. State Party. Democrats Abroad is a non-profit association organized and operating under the Uniform Unincorporated Nonprofit Association Act of 2000, D.C. Code §§ 29-971.01, et seq. Democrats Abroad's principal place of business is and will remain the District of Columbia.

For administrative purposes, Democrats Abroad is divided into Country Committees and Regions comprised of the members from within each such country and Region.

Membership in Democrats Abroad is open to all citizens of the United States of voting age (or who will be such before the next Federal election) who have declared themselves to be Democrats. Members of Democrats Abroad may also be members of a local Democratic Country Committee or organizing committee existing in the respective country or defined geographic area in which such member resides or works.

Neither Democrats Abroad nor any of its constituent units may participate in the political activities of any country other than the United States of America.

To conclude my final Chair's report, I want to say that I hope the level of engagement in DADK remains high and I'm looking forward to seeing the new ideas that the next DADK Executive Committee will bring to the table.