News

Join Democrats Abroad Australia in support for Universal Healthcare

IT'S TIME FOR UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE - JOIN THE INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN


Universal Healthcare: a.k.a Guaranteed Healthcare, Medicare for All, Single-Payer

No matter what you call it, the time is now for universal healthcare. Given the recent attacks on healthcare and threats of repeal towards ACA (“Obamacare”), Democrats need a firm stance to show support for those who need it most.

The cost of healthcare in the United States is the biggest cause of poverty and financial and psychological strain on Americans - especially among minority communities and low income families. Many other countries ensure universal healthcare as a fundamental human right.

Democrats Abroad Australia surveyed its members in 2017 and found that affordable and universal healthcare was by far the biggest priority. In Australia, and many other developed countries, everyone can rely on public and accessible without thought or concern of how it will affect them financially.

You spoke and now it’s time for action.

First: Show your support.

Download the A4 selfie sign, fill out why you think universal healthcare is important, take a selfie. Share it on your social networks, make it your profile pic! Email it to us!

Please use the hashtag #DA4UHC when sharing!

Second: Tell your story.

What unique experience have you have from living abroad that you could tell fellow Americans back home? What experience have you had from a country with free access to healthcare? How have you benefited? Are you a healthcare refugee? Could you be such in future? What would like to tell your lawmaker right now about healthcare? Your voice matters, and will only matter if you use it.

We want to hear your story, please send it to: Info-Australia@democratsabroad.org and then, please e-mail your Representative and Senator!

Third: Spread the word, encourage others to join

Democrats Abroad Australia will take this campaign to the 2018 DA AGM where we will pass a resolution for Democrats Abroad international in support of universal healthcare (aka Guaranteed Healthcare, Single-payer or Medicare4All). Although Democrats Abroad favors the position of single-payer, we will propose a clear and unequivocal support for true universal healthcare, with intent to take to DNC. The more members we have involved, the more successful this campaign will be!

Your voice matters. Your story matters. Be part of the campaign “I Heart Universal Healthcare” and oppose the disastrous attacks on healthcare by joining us in this effort.

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Lots happening in June!

There’s quite a lot going on back home and we wanted to make sure you have all the info!

Below you’ll find some information for GOTV for Special Elections and the Residency-Based Taxation Campaign.

 

Special Elections - happening this month!

If you haven’t heard of what is now a trend, the GOP is facing formidable challenges in States they thought locked up - namely Kansas and Montana where fellow Dems were very close to winning these deep red states.

While this bodes well for us, we want to make sure you know all about what’s on for the immediate future. You can find a full list of the Special Elections in 2017 here.

Specifically, up this month is:

20 June - Georgia Special Election Runoff Democrat Jon Ossoff is running for the 6th Congressional District

Please do refer to the full list of 2017 Special Elections to make sure you meet the voting Deadlines!

 

Residency-Based Taxation Campaign - Call Storm on 15th June!

Have a read through the main RBT Democrats Abroad post as contains information as to what the campaign is and why it matters to all citizens living abroad. Also see the Residency Based Taxation Campaign in a Box pdf for details. There is also a Facebook event here.

Democrats Abroad is having an international Call Storm on 15th June - the tax deadline for international filers - where you can pick up the phone to your Representatives and Senators to ask for their support for Residency Based Taxation.

Thursday 15 June is of course US time and inconvenient for us. That 9 to 5 day translates to 11:00pm Thursday, 15th June to 7:00am Friday, 16th June (AEST: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart time).

If you can make any calls - late or early during the above times, Call Storms only work if a massive number of calls are generated, literally disrupting the day.  We need your help to storm Capitol Hill on June 15th.

Look for an inexpensive or free calling utility and starting calling home today!

 


Survey Results & Report - DAA 2017

Find the .pdf of this report here: https://www.scribd.com/document/349550222/Survey-Report

Updated: 27/5/17

This the official Democrats Abroad Australia Survey Results as promised by the Chair, Vice-Chair and Secretary - part of the new Executive Committee for DAA 2017-2019. This report will offer a basic interpretation of the results with intention to utilise the responses to form the 2 Year Plan for Democrats Abroad Australia at a time when great organising and planning is direly needed. 

We thank everyone who took time to respond to this very important survey as this will indeed determine our path forward, united, in pushing for change to the state of politics in the Party and USA.

Basics (Page 1/4)

Total Responses: 196 (excluding duplicates)

Total: 196

Approx percent of membership: 6 %

 

Survey Responses by State


State


# respondents


Percent


NSW


68


34.7 %


VIC


53


27 %


QLD


28


14.3 %


ACT


14


7.1 %


SA


14


7.1 %


WA


12


6.1 %


TAS


6


3.1 %


NT


1


0.5 %


Total


196


99.9 % (accurate to 0.1)

 

Conclusion & Explanation

 

The goal was for 200 unique respondents. Ideally wanted 10% membership response (~300). State breakdown was largely as expected per membership numbers, noting that the numbers may not be wholly accurate as they are self identified, and represent a proportionate representation of members per State.

 

Preferred Method of Communication

 

Conclusion:

Will continue to utilise e-mail for:

 

    • All member-relevant information (routine updates) - we're aware of bombarding people with information and leading to over-saturation.
    • Important matters (this survey, DA International elections, State Chapter elections).
    • Any urgent matters deemed so by ExCom or Member input.
    • State-level organising, meet-ups, actions will be distributed through this channel respective to State/Local Chapter.
    • As nearly everyone selected this, all formal DAA matters will be sent through this channel.

Social Networks

Social networks formed the second category, albeit a far-second. The percentage of respondents is proportional to the members currently on/engaged with social networks/media platforms. The Leadership recognises that social media channels can best be used for urgent actions, sharing information and those who want to engage with social media outreach.

 

We will use social networks for:

 

    • Organising & logistics for publicised events, actions, activities, meet-ups
    • Sharing of non-crucial information (concerning Democrats Abroad/Australia)
    • Information sharing between teams, individuals

 

Those who are not engaged with social networks and desire to be active are encouraged to join the State Facebook Closed Group (search for group in Facebook and send a request to admin of group), Slack (send email to sar.hoq@gmail.com for invite)

In-Person and Text Message were a virtual tie for third and utilised for quite different purposes.

In-Person

Personal meet-ups should be used whenever possible and to extent of what members prefer. Obviously organised at State level for Capital City/Regional meet-ups aside from AGM.

In-Person (aside from obvious personal connection):

    • In-depth planning and action
    • Social events, actions, protests
    • Organising where possible given membership location

 

Text Message

Text-Messages are more tricky, and we will utilise when we can. Obviously good for reminders and driving specific tasks/goals but challenging to send mass blasts due to technological limitations. This will mostly be used on a local level.

Virtual Meetings was last and will be used for connecting regional members and when local members can’t attend the in-person meeting.   

 

Larger Picture (page 2/4)

 

What are the four most urgent National Issues for the USA? (limited to 4)

 

Top Five:

 

    1. Affordable of Universal Healthcare (77.5%)
    2. Global Climate Change (61.8%)
    3. Income Inequality/Raising the Minimum Wage (46.6%)
    4. Domestic Gun Violence (44.6%)
    5. Corporate & Special Interest Money in Politics (39.7%)

This was asked to gauge where everyone is at, what they are feeling should indeed be the direction of the Party as a whole. It was also asked so that the Priorities that inform the 2-Year Plan will indeed be member-driven and not just the assumptions of the elected leaders. Our goal for DAA is to ensure that advocacy will largely focused (yet certainly not restricted to) these issues. It’s noted that in the comments, the majority of write-in responses were “all of them” (or an equivalent phrase). We will be prioritising turning out to vote to special, State and Federal elections and these issues to drive DAA forward.

 

Is the Democratic Party in need of a transformation?

 

Given the result of 2016 and the divide within the party, this was a necessary question. 1 was “no, not at all” and 10 was “yes, totally and completely”. Taking the straight average, the result is just under 8 with highest respondents being in categories 8 and 10 (tie). In fact, 64.2% said that the Democratic party was in need of a total transformation (ranked 7 or higher). It is obvious that DAA members believe the party is in need of change.

 

How we'll do it - your involvement

Excitingly, although only 35 people said they were currently involved in your local chapter, 153 people have said they want to be more involved. And, nearly every respondent saying they’d be willing to take part in activities including social media actions, calling politicians, turning out the vote and other activities.

 

If you’ve volunteered to take part in actions and activities, we’ll be passing along your information to your local Chapters, and we’ll be in touch soon!



Recap of the DPCA (Democrats Abroad) AGM 12-15 May 2017

Your Chair and Vice-Chair had the privilege to attend the AGM this past weekend and vote for new leadership of DA. Prior to the AGM, we released a survey to ask you who we should vote for and we wanted to share this publicly below as well.

First, the AGM was based in Washington DC and roll call began at about 11:00pm Sydney time. This proved very challenging to attend, but we’ll have more on how we worked together with the Asia-Pacific region to change this for next year.

Elections results

We had 26 respondents to the AGM Election Survey and we're excited to announce that not only did we reflect your vote - but your vote won!

Julia Bryan was successful for the Chair position and is who we supported. The majority of the survey responses supported her as well as all Australia’s votes. Julia’s lengthy experience in Democrats Abroad would serve us incredibly well over the next 2 years and feel that we are in very good hands.

In a surprise move, Art Schankler dropped out of the race allowing Alex Montgomery of Hong Kong acclamation to the Vice-Chair position. Our survey was strongly in favour of Alex, and we eagerly look forward to working with him as key representation in the Asia-Pacific region.

In surprising similar move, Kari Hiepko-Odermann followed Art’s move allowing Lisette Wright acclamation to Treasurer. Our survey was a virtual tie, a difference of only one vote, between these two qualified women, and it was proving difficult to decide.

Jeffrey Cheng was successful for Secretary, was strongly supported by our survey and Australia’s votes. Jeffrey has played a key role in the LGBTQI caucus and will make an exceptional Secretary.

Our survey for Counsel was varied and dispersed unevenly between the four candidates. Although Tom Schmid was marginally 2nd in the results, he was our voting choice based off his record and ability and was ultimately successful for the position. Tom makes the second candidate from the Asia-Pacific region - a feat that has not yet occurred in Democrats Abroad.

Resolutions and By-Law Amendments

The Resolutions and By-Law Amendments made for conversation, debate and most eventually ended up being “referred to a committee.” There were over 50 pages of proposed changes to resolutions and by-laws, which you can see here, and once the Wiki is updated with information about how the by-law changes went, we’ll update the link on our website so you can read more.

Committee & Caucus Updates

There’s great work happening in Democrats Abroad committees and caucuses, including GOTV, tax, fundraising, young, hispanic and progressive caucuses. We encourage you to get involved in committees related to your interest. You can see the full presentations and updates here.

Asia Pacific & 2018 

The Asia-Pacific region also held elections for our region during the AGM, and your Chair served on the election committee. We’re excited to announce that Shaun Barnes from Hong Kong was elected Chair of the region and ran unopposed.

Before the AGM, we also lobbied and worked with the Asia-Pacific region to bloc behind the next year’s AGM to be held closer to home. We are proud to announce that next year’s AGM will be held in Japan in or around Tokyo! This will hopefully allow more DA Australia members to attend and take part in our party.


Democrats Abroad Australia National Survey

The Democratic party is our party. It should reflect and address the concerns you have. And, as we ramp up to the 2018 mid-terms, we need as much member involvement as possible. So let us know what matters to you in the Party - and how you want to get involved to ensure our party reflects our values.

DA Australia National Officer Election Results

Democrats Abroad Australia elected its national officers at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Saturday, 18 March 2017.  Congratulations to its newly elected officers:

Chair:         Umme Sarah Hoque
Vice Chair:  Kent Getsinger
Secretary:   Kito Alvarez
Treasurer:   Mark Evans
Counsel:     Lisa Lombardi

Thank you to everyone who ran for office, including candidates Michael Ramos, Elizabeth Cage, Evan Leandro and Saun Mowrey.

Following are the results of the election, which includes the tally of the votes cast at the AGM in person or via WebEx and the absentee ballots which all DAA members had the opportunity to cast up until 24 hours before the start of the AGM.  

Chair
Umme Sarah Hoque:  57
Michael Ramos:          56

Vice Chair
Elizabeth Cage:          53
Kent Getsinger:          39
Evan Leandro:            15

Democrats Abroad requires gender diversity for the positions of Chair and Vice Chair.  Members of DA Australia were informed prior to voting that only the votes of the Vice Chair of the opposite gender of the person elected Chair would be counted. 

Secretary
Kito Alvarez:               60
Shaun Mowrey:           40

Treasurer
Mark Evans as the sole candidate was elected by unanimous assent at the AGM.

Legal Counsel 
Lisa Lombardi as the sole candidate was elected by unanimous assent at the AGM.

There were abtensions from voters in the races for Vice Chair and Secretary which account for the differences in the tallies for the 3 contested races. 

Verification of Election Results
Chris Stueckle, Teller of the Election, has verified the election results.  All voters were confirmed as members of Democrats Abroad Australia in order to count their vote.  In accordance with section 17.8 of the DA Australia by-laws and the absentee ballot instructions, absentee ballot votes were accepted from members whose email address matched the voter's email address in the records of Democrats Abroad. Where the email addresses did not match, the voter was informed prior to the AGM and notified of the opportunity to cast a vote during the AGM. The Teller of the Election and the Election Committee assistants Ersie Burke and Lisa Lombardi each counted the votes three times and ensured that only one vote was cast from a DAA member.

Minutes from the AGM will be circulated this week.  The new board is currently being set up with full access to the Democrats Abroad Australia database, bank account, and social media.  

Thank you to all DAA members who voted in the election and AGM.  We had an unprecedented level of turn out.  We look forward to DAA members involvement under the leadership of its newly elected national officers.


Executive Committee Candidate Statements version 2

Following are the candidate statements for those running for Democrats Abroad Australia national Executive Committee officers.  The statements are presented here for those who have trouble accessing the concise version of candidate statements on Scribd.

Democrats Abroad Australia will elect its Executive Committee representatives at our national AGM on Saturday, 18 March in Sydney.  Candidates are listed in alphabetical order for each role.  Members of DA Australia will vote for officers by registering for the AGM or submitting an absentee ballot. 

The duties of the roles at the national and international level are broadly outlined here.  The ExCom officers also provides support to the DA Australia local chapters. 

CHAIR:                Umme Sarah Hoque; Michael Ramos
VICE CHAIR:       Elizabeth Cage; Kent Getsinger; Evan Lorendo
SECRETARY:        Kito Alvarez; Shaun Mowrey
TREASURER:        Mark Evans
LEGAL COUNSEL:Lisa Lombardi

CHAIR CANDIDATES

Chair Candidate: Umme Sarah Hoque

"The here and now is all we have. And if we play it right, it’s all we’ll need. “ - Former Texas Governor Ann Richards

I am nominating because of the here and now. Our party and our country need  to be revived. And it is up to all of us to play it right at this moment.

Growing up a woman, a first generation American of Bengali and Muslim heritage, a progressive in a small town in Texas, I have learned the importance of the here and now - the moments that determine the outcomes for the future. And the importance of bringing everyone together to address not only issues locally, but also Federally and even internationally. I have seen individuals, communities and a society that needed - and needs - hope and a vision. And the is what has motivated me throughout my life.

Inspired by the need to create this hope and vision for a better future, I have been involved in our Democratic party for nearly 15 years. I have worked tirelessly in the deep South and mid-West, especially in Texas and Ohio Congressional and local elections, to turn counties blue through personal volunteering and professional work during the 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010 elections before moving to Australia in 2011.

During my day job, I work in community and union campaigning, including organising and communications, to utilise public interest and strength to ensure a better, more progressive future. I have been working for nearly 10 years to motivate and move people, to engage them by tapping into their issues and activating them for a bigger fight and to use this strength to influence decision makers and corporations to make real changes. My work experience is available on: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ummesarahhoque  It is these skills I want to bring to Democrats Abroad.

My passion and profession is social justice campaigning, fighting for the rights of workers, migrants, women and environmental justice. I am passionate about building and exercising the power of the collective to win, combining clever online campaigning alongside power on the ground, including marches, protests and stunts. Right now, the US needs strong Democrats and our collective voice more than ever. We have an opportunity to revise the narrative in the United States and harness the power of the resistance movement to be strategic and change the future of our country. Our time is now, and we must utilise it.

That is why I want to utilise what we have here in Australia and now with this moment in the dark days of Trump’s presidency. Because I believe this is what we need – to move forward, to move together and to be strategic and thoughtful to give hope to Democrats in the US and around the world. Our role of Democrats is not to give up - it is to respond, to be active and to be proactive in our belief for the future of our country.

I am motivated to nominate for Democrat Abroad positions because I believe that our party is in disarray. After the horror of the 2016 election, it is important that we revive and rebuild our party to be one that leads with a vision of what we believe in - social justice. Our differences make us stronger, and by harnessing our collective power and wisdom, we can revolutionise our country to increase the minimum wage, hold corporations to account, address wealth inequality, provide health care for everyone, address climate change, and ensure and grow rights for all minority groups, including immigrants, LGBTQI people, disabled individuals and everyone else.

If elected, I will work hard to make Democrats Abroad Australia an active chapter, organising and campaigning to fix our party and influence fellow Democrats and our US politicians. I will use the skills I have developed through successful campaigning to activate, develop and engage members and involve Democrats Abroad Australia in the current fight at home. This includes bringing together Democrats and growing our movement, organising and holding lobbying activities and events, taking part in and organising solidarity events and being proactive and communicative across Australia about issues of shared concern - and solutions to address them.

Thank you. Please contact me on  0468 427 640 or Sar.Hoq@gmail.com if you have any questions.

Please contact me on 0468 427 640 or Sar.Hoq@gmail.com if you have any questions.

Chair Candidate: Michael Ramos

With this statement I declare my candidacy for chairperson of Democrats Abroad-Australia (DAA). My experience:

  • I am a proud member of DAA-Victoria. During my membership I have joined in with DAA colleagues in voicing opposition to the Trump administration, participated in letter-writing campaigns and petitions, and contributed my ideas to the global DA leadership’s “Action/Rapid-Response” team.
  • I have personally worked under three members of Congress in both district and Capitol Hill offices. While serving as a staffer to three congresspersons (U.S. Rep. Lane Evans (D-IL-17), U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), and U.S. Rep. Phil Hare (D-IL-17)), I drafted several pieces of legislation, wrote numerous congressional speeches, communicated regularly with the press, resolved constituents’ issues and concerns with the federal government, and much, much more. I possess knowledgeable insight and experience into the Legislative Branch and am willing and able to contribute significantly to matters related to DAA, such as how to effectively communicate with senators and representatives.
  • While on the campaign trail of five successful congressional races (those listed above in addition to the campaigns of U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA-01)U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), and U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL-17), I pounded the pavement knocking on thousands of doors, registered voters, distributed absentee ballot requests, organized fundraisers, conducted GOTV efforts, supervised hundreds of volunteers, and more. I have also worked on three presidential races; all of these campaign roles included grassroots organizing and effective communications with both the campaigns and everyday voters. In short, I know what it takes for Democrats to win.

As your DAA chair, I will use my political experience to join with you in pushing legislators for reforms in addition to actively being engaged in DAA activities throughout Australia. I firmly believe that now is the time to build on the solid work already done by our DAA predecessors. All of us are democracy stakeholders with voices needing to be heard by policymakers back in Washington, D.C.

My priorities as your DAA chairperson: *Immediately engage with DAA members to bring in any and all ideas. *Prioritize efforts on the 2018 congressional mid-term elections. *Ensure that every DAA member has the contact information for their specific members of Congress, and document how they respond to our issues, concerns, questions, and requests. *Protect our right to vote. *Conduct a letter-writing campaign asking congresspersons to join the Congressional Americans Abroad Caucus and the Congressional Friends of Australia Caucus. *Invite guest speakers (i.e. academic experts on U.S. politics; union leaders) to DAA meetings. *Urge Congress to reform citizenship-based taxation to residence-based taxation. *Utilize DAA communication tools more often: use of the press and online media to get our message out (i.e. letters-to-the-editor, press releases, peaceful protests involvement). *Produce brief videos of our membership explaining our very real concerns and how they affect us. *Work with other groups whenever mutual goals are concerned.

The above-mentioned are only my highest priorities. I have many more ideas that I would like to share with the DAA membership and implement with your vote of confidence. Despite the long road ahead, I am motivated and prepared to take action but I cannot achieve these goals alone. I respectfully request your vote to be DAA chairperson because I am ready to work and lead with you in securing a Democratic Congress and White House.

About me: U.S. citizen and patriotic expat. Born in the Midwest. Raised on the east coast (“home”/voting address in Illinois). Former enlisted Marine. Married to an amazing Aussie of which we have two children. Reside in northern Melbourne suburbs. Associate member of the National Tertiary Education Union. Member of the American Political Science Association. Unapologetic progressive Democrat.

My education: Associate degree (political science) completed at Black Hawk College, Moline, IL. Bachelor of Arts degree (political science) completed at the University of the District of Columbia, Washington, DC. Diploma of Government, Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE. Currently working part-time on a postgraduate degree at La Trobe University, Melbourne. My thesis topic is analyzing the unique challenges facing U.S. citizens living abroad and how Congress can better assist them.

Like you, I understand the seriousness of the political challenges we face, especially the additional barrier of residing abroad. If I am given the honor of becoming your chair, I assure you that I bring both experience and enthusiasm to DAA. To the best of my ability I will devote my attention to your ideas and comments, and encourage any DAA member to contact me with any questions at michael.e.ramos@gmail.com, @MRamosDC on Twitter, or 0452 394 955. Thank you kindly for your consideration.

VICE CHAIR CANDIDATES

Vice Chair Candidate: Elizabeth Cage

I’m an American-Australian – an immigrant and dual-citizen, resident of Sydney for nearly 17 years. I vote in Virginia.

  • Originally from Chicago. Lived for various lengths of time in Washington DC, New York City, and Baltimore and also worked on political campaigns in North Carolina, California, Nevada, and Virginia.
  • Hold a Bachelor’s of Arts in Political Science, Portland State University; MA in Int’l Communications, Macquarie University; and an M Litt in US Studies from the University of Sydney.
  • I have just come home from a mid-life gap year spent travelling, on my own, including some 4700 kilometres by bicycle in Europe and Australia. I’m slowly blogging my way through the journey here: www.elizabetheverettcage.com
  • I returned from that journey and then the Republicans nominated a fascist so I wrote this op-ed for the Sydney Morning Herald: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/donald-trump-has-scared-me-back-into-politics-the-similarities-between-nazism-and-trumpism-20160719-gq8roh.html
  • I spent four months volunteering with the Hillary Clinton campaign in Virginia.
  • Before I’d even gotten on the plane to come home I’d put my hand up to help with the Women’s March, Sydney. I became one of the lead organisers and spokespeople for that event – including doing this live-cross to BBC World from my bedroom - https://vimeo.com/200530374

What I’d like to achieve as Democrats Abroad, Australia’s Vice-Chair:

  • Work to identify, register to vote, and engage with as many of the US citizens living in Australia as possible.
  • Work to channel the energy of woke Americans living abroad into the efforts to elect Democrats wherever they may run.
  • Develop a stronger grass roots community of Democrats Abroad through Meet-Ups or Huddles – more groups in more places.
  • Spread the workload and develop capacity by recruiting more members to take leadership roles and responsibilities – as local organisers, social media managers, committee chairs, etc
  • Look for opportunities for Democrats Abroad to partner with like-minded Australian groups.

More on my political/professional background:

  • 15 years handling media and PR for Major League Baseball International (Sydney)
  • Member of Democrats Abroad since 2004 (or so)
  • Steering committee member: Peter Garrett for Kingsford-Smith (2004)
  • National Advance Staff 1996 Presidential Election and the Clinton White House from 1994-1996
  • Campaign Manager for state house and state senate primary races in Oregon (1994)
  • Office of Presidential Correspondence, the White House (1993)
  • Media logistics on the Presidential Inaugural Committee (1992-3)
  • California Democratic Party Presidential Student Corps Intern in the Los Angeles media office (1992)
  • Delegate to the 1992 Democratic National Convention from Oregon’s 4th CD
  • District office intern for Congressman Peter DeFazio (D OR-4)
  • Co-founder of College Democrats at both University of Oregon and Portland State University
  • Volunteer, Harvey Gantt for US Senate, Charlotte NC (1990)
  • Further details here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/elizabethcage/

Vice Chair Candidate:  Kent Getsinger

I'm proud to announce my candidacy for Vice Chair of Democrats Abroad Australia.

19 years ago when I turned 18, I eagerly submitted my voter registration for the Democratic Party to be part of a political process that fought for working people, minorities and the oppressed.

Having contributed heavily through canvassing, calling and door-knocking in the months leading up to 2008 election for Barack Obama, it wasn’t until the primaries of 2016 that I saw a candidate who truly embodied the spirit of the Democratic Party.

Last year, I volunteered for the Bernie Sanders campaign from my garage – getting up nearly every morning at 4am to make calls before work – some days I would take annual leave so that I could phonebank all day. I have never been so inspired by such a transformative public servant. This daily activism has carried through to the efforts of volunteering for Our Revolution and We the People Collective in which I am now still actively involved.

I have been a resident of Australia for 6 years now and live in Adelaide, SA after having lived the bulk of that time in Melbourne, VIC. For the past 5 years, I continue to be a leader Delegate and Branch Committee Member of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) where I have actively pushed for improvements for working conditions, protection for the most vulnerable people and nationwide solidarity with preserving the working protections, universal medical coverage, public services and other benefits we Australians enjoy that we Americans do not.

This experience as an Australian strengthens my belief in core American values – and values that I feel embody the Democratic Party. Having seen the rise of Trump (and its affiliated, frightening far-right counterparts the world over), I cannot sit by and not use my organising potential to serve the country and party I call home.

We will defeat Trump and the Republican by empowering individuals, by creating a power structure that comes in the truest democratic form. This means organising at the local level, this means regular meetings and helping others in their local efforts to connect and build. We cannot hope for great leadership, we must bravely

Democrats Abroad needs strong, bold, and progressive leaders to organize, mobilize, and lead its global GOTV efforts. We ultimately need to promote growth and work towards creating chapters and country committees that become sustainable and scalable so that they may endure various leadership cycles – this will occur when involvement is not just duty but a desire to be committed to a cause. The movement needs to continue by manifesting itself into actively recruiting Americans abroad to get involved in Democrats Abroad and ultimately vote in elections.

It is with this conviction in my experience of organising and bringing people together, I feel that we must organise like never before and come together around a unified base that can appeal to all voters and bring them to the Democratic Party. It is with my belief in empowering others to activism that I submit my name for nomination of Vice Chair Democrats Abroad Australia. I hope to have your vote at the AGM in mid-March.

Please contact me on  kmgets01@gmail.com if you have any questions.

Vice Chair Candidate:  Evan Lorendo

While I am new to Melbourne, I am not new to politics. I grew up in Georgia in one of the most conservative districts in the country. It was a place that was so steeped in bigotry that Oprah did a special show in the town discussing the issue of race. Being a Democrat carried with it a strong negative connotation, but I was raised to be open about who you are regardless how popular it may be. Being a liberal family in the traditional South brought with it some social headaches but that didn’t stop us from standing up for what we believed in.

I continued to define my beliefs while in college in Chicago by working on now Senator Tammy Duckworth’s first congressional campaign. While she lost the election in the wildly conservative suburbs, it propelled her to the national spotlight. I was then offered a position working with Senator Dick Durbin as an Urban Development Fellow. During my time in D.C. I saw the very best of what it meant to be a Democrat and the very worst.

I had a desire to live abroad and took a scholarship opportunity to get my Master’s Degree from the American University of Beirut. This led me on a professional journey across the Middle East and Africa with stops in Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Ghana, and Tanzania while working in a further dozen countries. I took this time to stay active in American politics through Democrats Abroad, if and where I could. I was involved as much as possible in getting Americans to vote during the last election cycle and was shortlisted by the Sanders campaign to be a delegate at the DNC.

While in Africa I met my Australian partner, Linda, and after a few years together we decided that it was time to put roots down somewhere and we decided on her home in Melbourne. I am very excited to get involved with such a vibrant and active Democrats Abroad community.

I am running for the Vice-Chair because I want to bring new ideas and energy to the group. I am a natural conduit and I want to connect as many people as possible to the group as well as letting them know that they can still be involved with American politics. I want to expand the organization across Australia. The current leadership worked hard to get the group this far. We are now at a critical mass that needs to be pushed forward and expanded.

I also am a strong believer in holding yourself accountable. I want to be better than the side that we are criticizing. I do not believe in spending time and energy by arguing over how orange the President looks or how bad his suit fits. Instead, I want to fight his misogyny and bigotry.

Thank you for reading this about me. I welcome any questions that you have and I really hope to be your next Vice-Chair. You can contact me on 0431160269 or ewlorendo@gmail.com if you have any questions.

SECRETARY

Secretary Candidate:  Kito Alvarez

The time is now. I put my hand up to serve, not because of me, but we.

We must resist Trump and fight the Republicans.

No more tears, sorrows, or frustrations. No more casting stones. It’s time to get in the ring and get involved. We must harness our collective strength and channel it into renewed energy for ourselves and for our Democratic Party. We must be there for each other like we’ve never been before.

We must be bold.

Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, the queer son of Filipino immigrants, I saw the world through colourful lenses. I knew nothing else but to be bold. We must stand up for each other’s dignity. My neighbours were mostly Black, Latino and Polynesian. Some had papers and others didn’t. All chasing American Dreams, united, creating community, recognising each other’s humanity. This is the America I know.

We must organise.

With supposedly 100,000 Americans living in Australia, there’s nothing to stop us from building upon the community we’ve already created.

We must mobilise.

 We will identify and recruit fellow Americans from Perth to Cairns. We will run voter registration drives from Darwin to Hobart, creating strong chapters in every major city across Australia. We will phone bank, get out the vote and run solidarity actions proving the Pacific Ocean will be no barrier to the values that we demand.

We must activate.

 With a strong passion for social and economic justice, I can offer up 15 years of experience in worker, community and political organising both at home and abroad. I envision Democrats Abroad meetings of involved members with deep built relationships running various committees. We will utilise our membership’s talents and build capacity towards winning the collective goals we set forth, whether it’s holding Trump-friendly corporations to account, taking action on climate change or standing up for refugees. We will be active.

We will be represented.

 Transparency and accountability is crucial. We need our Party and DA to represent its members. DA leadership, including those that sit on the DNC, need to proactively engage and listen to the voices of rank and file members and represent them to its fullest. The status quo and corporate Democracy will not be tolerated.

We will do whatever it takes. 
If you’re in, I’m in. I would only be so humbled to work for we.

Contact me on kitoa@aol.com if you have any questions.

Secretary Candidate:  Shaun Mowrey

I am committed to progressive values and the issues that are important to citizens living abroad, whether visas, social security, taxation, or international repute. I believe Democrats Abroad have an important and underestimated role to play in electing progressive candidates and holding our officials accountable in the age of Trump, and I’m excited to offer my skills and experience with DA Australia as we move into the future.

I’ve lived in Australia for almost ten years after moving here from Washington State to study. During studies I met my partner, Daniel, and we have lived together in Western Sydney for about seven years. I grew up in a Republican household but became a progressive after moving here and gaining some new perspective. The diversity of my experience helps me help others to understand issues in new ways. I’m passionate about politics and feel fortunate (—a lot of people wouldn’t call it that!) to now be able to participate in not just one, but two systems of government.

I’ve held leadership positions professionally for the last few years in Australia’s largest insurance conglomerate, where I currently work as a people and operations manager. I have experience in leadership, organising and administrating volunteers and resources, strategy, planning, and reporting. I’ve been instrumental in various grassroots projects for diversity and inclusion, such as the forming of an LGBTIQ employee network and the design and rollout of an inclusion-centered leadership training pack to thousands of managers.

As National Secretary I will work with the executive committee to apply my skills in Get Out the Vote and other member outreach initiatives to grow our membership, lobby our issues, and elect more progressive Democrats in US elections.

I would appreciate your consideration and your vote for me, Shaun Mowrey, to serve as National Secretary.  I’ve prepared a brief video here:  https://youtu.be/9A2BMrV8vxM.  I can be contacted on shauncaleb@me.com or 0435528344 if you have any questions.

TREASURER

Treasurer Candidate:  Mark Evans

 I am a native Pennsylvanian who has been living in Sydney, Australia for over 3 years. Currently, I am a Project Manager overseeing a multi-million dollar annual budget for the U.S. Government in Washington DC while teleworking from Australia.

Last summer I returned to the United States where I volunteered for a week at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. I am an active and passionate member of the LGBT community. You can find me most Friday afternoons at the Australian Marriage Equality shop on Oxford Street in Sydney, where I am a volunteer.

I believe we must fight hard to protect the progress Barack Obama has made and we must stand up to Donald Trump and keep him from implementing his extreme agenda. It would be an honor to be elected the Treasurer of Democrats Abroad Australia.

LEGAL COUNSEL

Legal Counsel Candidate:  Lisa Lombardi

I have been active as a Democrat since 1980, my first election – I was living in Idaho, and it was very crushing to watch Senator Frank Church get beaten by Steve Symms.  Alas, not the last time I have been surprised and disappointed by election results, and left wondering, how could anyone possibly choose that person over this one?

Since 1980, I have been active on campaigns at various levels.  I managed a few local races.  I volunteered on several state level races, Congress, Governor, state legislature.  I then moved to Washington State – voila!  Where Democrats actually win!  The most prominent role I took there was to assist Lands Commissioner Jennifer Belcher in her race – my job was to hold down the loss in Eastern Washington so that the west side could carry her over the line.  It worked, we won, and I got to go to the Governor’s Ball!

Then I went to law school, turning down an offer to run the Washington State Environmental Political Action Committee (WENPAC), and turning down an offer to be the first state coordinator in Idaho for the Western States Center.  While in law school in Idaho, I still kept my hand in, and volunteered on Larry Echohawk’s gubernatorial campaign.  (He lost, of course.  Sigh.)

Then I moved to Australia, for a six-month project. That was almost 19 years ago – I met “the gent” and stayed, getting my practicing certificate along the way (I am licensed to practice in AU and the US).  I have been on-and-off active in Dems Abroad in the Brisbane chapter, and this year got re-engaged.  I have served as counsel before, and would be honoured to do so again, if elected.


DAA AGM ExCom Election Absentee Ballot

Democrats Abroad Australia will elect its national Executive Committee officers as part of its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Saturday, 18 March. If you are unable to attend in person in Sydney or via WebEx, you can vote an absentee ballot in advance.

- You must be a US citizen and a member of Democrats Abroad Australia before you submit a ballot.  You can join here.

- You must submit a ballot using the email address Democrats Abroad has on file for you.  (If you are uncertain of your email address or wish to update your email address before voting, log on to Democrats Abroad.

- Read the candidate statements before voting.  

- You must submit your ballot no later than 10:00am, Friday 17 March 2017 (Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time), 24 hours before the AGM. 

- Do not vote an absentee ballot if you plan to attend the AGM in person or via Webex.

Democrats Abroad seeks to have gender diversity in its leadership.  The Chair and Vice Chair of DA Australia must not be of the same gender.  You are welcome to vote for whichever candidates you seek to support. But please be advised that after the election of the Chair at the AGM, only the ballots of Vice Chair candidates of the opposite gender of the newly elected chair will be counted.

ACCESS the Democrats Abroad Australia National Officers Absentee Ballot

 


Executive Committee Candidate Statements

Democrats Abroad Australia will elect its Executive Committee representatives at our national AGM on Saturday, 18 March in Sydney.  The level of interest in DAA leadership roles is unprecedented. We've never had so many people run for office before!  Thank you to our candidates!

Following are the candidate statements for those seeking election as Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and Legal Counsel.  Candidates are listed alphabetically. 

You can vote either by registering to participate in the AGM on 18 March (either in person or through Webex) or via absentee ballot online. 

The following candidate statements open in in the Scribd application.  If you have trouble accessing them, you can read the candidate statements on the DAA website.

The duties of the roles at the national and international level are broadly outlined here.  The ExCom officers also provides support to the DA Australia local chapters.

CHAIR

Candidate:  Umme Sarah Hoque 
Candidate:  Michael Ramos  

VICE CHAIR

Candidate:  Elizabeth Cage
Candidate:  Kent Getsinger
Candidate:  Evan Lorendo

SECRETARY

Candidate: Kito Alvarez
Candidate: Shaun Mowrey

TREASURER

Candidate: Mark Evans

LEGAL COUNSEL

Candidate:  Lisa Lombardi