News

Office: Treasurer

The Candidates

 

 

Christian Jordan (Geneva)

I appreciate this opportunity to continue to volunteer with DACH members and executive committee. So as to further our political party objectives, recruitment, fundraising, and awareness.

Again, it was great working with the DACH executive committee for the past two years and to continue would be my pleasure.

I would like to note the following experience that could be of interest:

  • Over 20 years In Accounting and Financial Controller
  • Certified General Accountant (CGA)
  • Member of Institute of Management Accountants (IMA)
  • Member of International Financial Management Association (IFMA)
  • DA / DACH member since 2004
  • DACH co-organizer for 3 separate years of the Annual Softball tournament against RACH.
  • Boy Scouts of America Local committee member for Eagle court of Reviews and other voluntary service.
  • Geneva -'Feed the Needy' (feeding homeless, alcoholics, drug addicts, & distressed families)
  • Orphan aid Africa fund raising
  • Orphanage fund raising for India, Nepal, Morocco.
  • Fund raising for installation of Water wells in Mozambique
  • Geneva Softball League-Treasurer/Accountant 2010-2013 http://club-softball.web.cern.ch/club-softball/GSL/
  • CERN Softball club-Accountant and treasury from 2010-2013
  • Geneva Youth Baseball League - Volunteer Accountant 2009 - 2015
  • Geneva - Lions Club International 'Nations 102w' in all benevolent / charity activities.
  • Treasurer Club47 2015-2016 - Voluntary
  • USA birth, Irish Naturalization from 1997 & Swiss Naturalized from 2001

Finally, I believe that my professional experience, sport activities, community activities, family of 3 children, and benevolent activities give me a strong recommendation to continue as DACH volunteer of Treasurer.

 

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Office: Counsel

The Candidates

 

 

Hilary O’Connor Mueri (Brugg, Aargau)

I am a Democrat, an expat, a combat veteran, a lawyer, but most importantly, I am a concerned American. As such, I am honored to apply for the position of Counsel to Democrats Abroad Switzerland.

I attended The Ohio State University on a full academic scholarship, graduating with a BS in Aviation Engineering in 1999. I was commissioned as an officer in the United States Navy and immediately began flight school in Pensacola, Florida. Over the course of my career, I flew the F-14D Tomcat, F/A-18B/D Hornet, F/A-18F Super Hornet, and F-16B Fighting Falcon. My time in the military included combat missions in Iraq for which I received the Strike/Flight Air Medal and Navy Commendation Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device for heroic achievement, and a tour as a Strike/Fighter Instructor at the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center, teaching advanced tactics to over 250 aviators per year. Beyond my personal achievements, I was proud to lead a team of 30 aircraft mechanics resulting in a 100% sortie completion rate during combat operations and award-winning personnel retention rates.

I left the military after eight years of active duty service. I attended the University of San Diego School of Law, moving to Los Angeles to work for Perkins Coie LLP upon graduation in 2010. My main focus was product liability and corporate litigation, part of a team defending multimillion dollar lawsuits, but I was also privileged to perform hundreds of hours of pro bono work, fighting for residency visas for undocumented immigrants who were the victims of violent crime and fighting for the rights of a homeless woman in an insurance dispute.

As a naval officer, I swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States; as a lawyer, I gained a much more in-depth knowledge and appreciation of the nuance of the constitution’s protections and again swore an oath to support the Constitution as part of my admission to the State Bar of California. Like so many other Democrats, I am pained to watch the systematic perversion and outright destruction of the very foundation of our nation. I am excited by this opportunity to help give voice to the expat community of Switzerland in resisting the unconstitutional efforts of those who would twist the Constitution for personal gain.

Additionally, American ex-pats face special challenges, from the FATCA and FBAR to medical insurance access to the challenges hindering foreign residents pursuing their right to vote. I would be privileged to advocate on behalf of our community for tangible, positive change as well as to empower local Americans in overcoming many of these hurdles.

In my spare time, I’m an avid knitter, mediocre skier, half marathoner, and voracious reader. I look forward to the opportunity to serve the DACH community as Counsel.

 

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Office: Member-at-Large – Membership and Voter Outreach

The Candidates

 

 

Taylor de Graffenried (Bern)

I would like to declare my interest in becoming the Member-At-Large for Membership/Voter Registration in the DACH Executive Committee. With the current political climate in the USA, and voter disenfranchisement, I want to take a leadership position in ensuring that US citizens abroad have the support and information needed to remain registered and receive their absentee voting ballots. In addition to that, I would like to work with other members of DA in order to support the enfranchisement of US citizens born abroad. Specifically, I would like to work with DACH members and others to try to pressure the approximately 14 US states that do not give voting rights to citizens born outside the US and who have never maintained residence in the US.

I had the opportunity to register voters at a couple of DACH events and I was surprised to learn that it can be a complicated and sometimes confusing process. US citizens abroad should never be prevented from voting because of a sometimes confusing bureaucratic process. I want to do whatever I can to smooth this process for US voters abroad, especially with the importance of the 2018 elections.

Additionally, I feel that the implementation of a ten percent growth in membership can be achieved as a by-product of well planned and organized voter outreach. I personally joined DA during the process of registering for my absentee ballot and I believe that strategy, coupled other outreach events, will ensure that we are able to meet our membership goals.

I am very enthusiastic about the opportunity to work with the Executive Committee to advance both our membership and voter registration goals.

 

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Office: Member-at-Large – Fundraising

The Candidates

 

 

Becky Leach-Seymour (Zurich)

I respectfully submit my candidacy for the Member-at-Large, Fundraising position on the Executive Committee of Democrats Abroad Switzerland. Like many of my fellow Democrats, I was shocked by the results of our recent election and how quickly the current administration has upheld the worst of their campaign promises. Outrage has motivated me to be more engaged and active in the political process. It would be an honor to use my professional experience to support the Executive Committee of Democrats Abroad Switzerland.

Three years ago, my husband and I moved from our hometown of Columbus, Ohio, to Zurich, Switzerland. Prior to moving to Zurich, I spent over a decade as a professional fundraiser, raising money to support the work of three prestigious universities (Xavier University, Ohio State University and Ohio Wesleyan University) and an award-winning public library system (Columbus Metropolitan Library). In each position, I held full responsibility for the creation and execution of fundraising programs, from direct mail and email campaigns to special events. I also managed volunteer leadership groups and executive boards. Since moving to Zurich, I’ve served on the board of the Phi Sigma Pi Foundation and worked with a small environmental conservation organization to grow their base of supporters.

In addition to my fundraising experience, I am a passionate advocate for LGBTQ+, immigrant, refugee, minority and women’s rights. I most enjoy working with organizations that share my passions, which makes serving on the Executive Committee of Democrats Abroad Switzerland particularly exciting.

My goal for the Member-at-Large, Fundraising position is to ensure Democrats Abroad Switzerland has the financial resources to meet its goals. The 2018 midterm election is just around the corner and financial resources will be important to getting out the vote here in Switzerland. In this role, I will work with the Executive Committee to:

  • Create and execute a fundraising plan that supports the Executive Committee’s strategic plan.
  • Demonstrate the value of Democrats Abroad and communicate the importance and impact of member support.
  • Provide a variety of opportunities for members to invest their time, talent and resources.
  • Demonstrate the impact of gifts, share our successes and thank our members for their contributions.

I look forward to meeting at the Annual General Meeting in Basel!

 

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Office: Member-at-Large – Events and Volunteers

The Candidates

 

 

Robin Bognuda (Camorino, Ticino)

Born and raised in Boston MA, I moved to Ticino 27 years ago to marry my Swiss Italian husband and subsequently raise two children. Shortly thereafter I founded AWOT – American Women of Ticino – which still exists today. I also started All For Kids, which for over 2 decades provided English speaking families with educational products for children. I wanted to provide my own children with things that weren't available here.

Over the years the business evolved from mail-order catalog, to a network of sales reps throughout CH, and then to an online-shop. I enjoyed visiting schools and participating in expos nationwide to meet and connect with other expat families.

A few years later, I co-founded The Book Nook – the only English library in Ticino that served as a lending library, meeting place and venue for lectures and discussions for 17 years.

Before moving to CH, I ran a management agency for performing artists in Boston for 10 years – Performing Arts Consultants. I also taught Arts Management at the New England Conservatory of Music, Lesley College and Northeastern University. My BA is in Social Psychology and Dance from Tufts University.

I was raised in a Republican family and have always voted Democrat. My political experience is limited to organising meetings in Ticino with former American Ambassadors to CH, and voter registration drives. While I have never been active in the Democratic party, I believe my accomplishments have demonstrated a unique capacity for community organisation and initiative. Gathering like minded people to discuss, address and achieve common goals is my specialty. I enjoy networking and believe in collaboration. Since the election of our current President, I feel a moral obligation to get involved. I was at the Women's March on Washington on January 21st and contacted Anne-Shelton Aaron upon my return to ask about organising an event in Ticino.

I believe Member-at-Large, Events and Volunteers would be an appropriate role for me given my nationwide contacts and proven experience.

 

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Katelyn M. McClung (Vevey)

I am Katie McClung and I am running to be your Member-at-Large for events and volunteers. For an event and volunteer coordinator to be effective, they need a great deal of energy, passion, and knowledge on the effective use of communication technologies.

As a new member of the DA CH chapter and a relatively new resident of Switzerland, let me tell you a little bit about myself. I grew up in Philadelphia, Florida, and New Jersey, and did my university and masters studies – in chemical engineering, minoring in public policy- just outside New York City, in Hoboken. I am currently a PhD student at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), studying process integration techniques and applying them to refineries that focus on the production of liquid fuels from renewable sources. I am passionate about energy and the environment, and for obtaining, applying, and sharing knowledge.

While I have always been interested in energy policy, this election cycle thrust me into politics and public policy in a way I did not expect to happen so soon. I served as a volunteer for an independent organization, MoveOn, where I spent hours cold-calling voters in swing states. Now, I am more fervent than ever to put time and talent to political activism. I understand the gravity of the situation we are currently in, and the impact we as US citizens abroad can have. I want to help get more people involved, to run events, and to be an active member.

Furthermore, while I have little experience in the DA, I do have experience planning and running events. As a university student, I helped to found a chapter of Engineers for a Sustainable World, served on the executive board, and ran the fundraising events and the education outreach program. While I know this is a different scale of activities, I am sure these skills are transferable and will help with the learning curve this position has. I am well organized, timely, and, thanks to work, I am always accessible by email or slack.

I want to work with the rest of the executive committee positions and with my committee to spread our message. I am incredibly excited to work with and organize events that are as multi-purpose, fun, and educational as possible, involving components of outreach, activism, information, and fundraising. I also would like to see us make use of social media for getting the word out about events. I look forward to working with all of you.

 

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Office: Member-at-Large – Press and Media

The Candidates

 

 

Morgan Gray (Geneva)

As a corporate communications professional working for an American company in Switzerland, I have experience designing and executing communications activities to support the broader strategies of an organization. I am skilled at receiving global talking points and tailoring statements to a local audience while remaining on message. Having constantly worked with teammates across Europe, Middle East, and Africa, I am confident in my ability to collaborate across language regions and media markets to earn the most effective coverage.

Originally from Illinois, I have been active in civic life and engaged in the political process from a young age. Even as a child, I was secretary of our 4H club, representing our county often at state events. Before I could vote, I asked for help from the ACLU to lead a campaign against, and eventually stop, an unconstitutional random drug testing initiative at my high school that was proposed to the school board.

Later, I was a poll worker in my county and interned at the Illinois Attorney General's Office in Springfield. There, I was an active part of the staff, attending hearings and depositions, answering calls and requests for information from all over the state, and also writing various legal documents which were eventually filed in circuit courts.

My international affairs studies did take me out of the US frequently, as I've mostly lived abroad since high school. This meant I've felt a bit removed from taking part in more activism. However, I believe the political science aspect of those studies means that I have a solid background to explain not only local political processes in the US but also the effects of American policy on other countries. I think this knowledge will be valuable as I will be able to answer questions and give background to media in Switzerland.

I have studied and now worked in Switzerland for a total of nearly 8 years. In that time, I have made Switzerland my home and am interested in and committed to the relationship between the two countries. Because I intend to stay in Switzerland, I want to take this opportunity to run for a role in the DACH ExCom so that I can become active again in the political process of our country. Thanks to my work experience here and my personal experience back home, I think I have a lot to offer the ExCom and the Democrats Abroad organization as a whole. I believe that better media coverage of the DACH organization will help support the important work that the group is already doing, such as the voter outreach for the upcoming midterms, because raising awareness can help to get out the vote. But I also believe it will help support the new goals the group has set in terms of fundraising and increasing membership, and I hope that my fellow Democrats in Switzerland will vote for me to take the lead on this role.

 

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Leedonal Moore (Zurich)

I have had the pleasure to speak to current committee members, and I have been very impressed with the opportunities that would be afforded to me within DACH and for our fellow country men and women living abroad, who believe as I do, that our democratic values must be protected, nourished and fought for.

I firmly believe that I have the intellect, skills and talents necessary to succeed as a Press/Media Member at large. Besides working as a radio, tv, event presenter/host and very well versed in using social media devices as in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Hootsuite, I therefore also am well connected with various press and media agencies. I am fluent in English, German, moderate in Italian and French.

I value leadership, teamwork, honesty, and ethics. My strong desire to contribute upholding democratic values drive me to succeed and to accomplish my goals. I look forward to speaking with you and members of your Department regarding my application.

 

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Rosemary Pontarelli (Basel)

My personal motivation for this position is two-fold: that we utilize press and media to support member outreach and motivating existing members to contribute to the activism agenda of Democrats Abroad Switzerland and that Democrats Abroad Switzerland contributes to diplomatic relations abroad and represents a balanced image of America's role on the world stage to the Swiss public. Now more than ever Americans at home and abroad need role models and motivators. We could hang our heads, participate in only sarcastic humor towards Donald Trump, but this would not serve us to gaining positive traction on political issues that affect Americans and international relations. Now more than ever we need to promote activism on a progressive political agenda, which is what the Press & Media function should contribute to. Professional experience in organizational development, communications, human resources, my experience in voter outreach and press-media outreach in 2016 for Democrats Abroad Basel as well as bilingual competencies in English and German are some of my qualifications for this position. I however envision a function that promotes team collaboration and utilizing motivated members in Zurich, Geneva, Bern to fulfill regional positions and promote a sustainable press & media agenda. Regardless of the election outcome I am also further motivated to contribute the Democrats Abroad Basel Events and Press & Media Relations in Basel through a regional function.

 

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Georgia Special Election -- April 18, 2017

The State of Georgia will conduct a Special Election on Tuesday, April 18, 2017, for the 6th Congressional District to replace Tom Price who became U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary. This district consists of parts of northern Atlanta and parts of surrounding counties such as Cobb, Fulton, and Dekalb.

If you are a Georgia resident from the 6th Congressional District, register to vote and request an absentee ballot today at www.VoteFromAbroad.org or by clicking the VOTE link in the top menu above. Overseas citizens may use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), the registration and ballot request form accepted by all States and territories to request a ballot for this special election.

REMEMBER: You must 1. COMPLETE2. SIGN, and 3. SEND the FPCA to your local election office.

 

Eighteen candidates qualify to run

According to the State Secretary of State, 18 candidates have officially qualified to run in the Special Election. There are five Democrats:

  1. Ragin Edwards
  2. Richard Keatley
  3. Jon Ossoff
  4. Rebecca Quigg
  5. Ron Slotin

running along with two Independents, and 11 Republicans. There is no primary, so if no candidate receives a majority, a Special Run-Off Election will be held on June 20, 2017.

Georgia has also just announced another Special Election for State Senate District 32.

 

Be sure you will receive a ballot to vote

If you are not currently registered, your FPCA needs to be received by March 20 for you to receive the ballot to vote in the primary; if you are currently registered, your FPCA ballot request must be received by April 14.

Ballots will be sent beginning March 4 for those who have already requested them. If you do not receive your requested State ballot 30 days before the election, you can use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB), also available on Vote From Abroad

Please do not assume you will receive the ballot to vote in this special election, even if you just voted in the November 2016 General Election. Detailed instructions and county contact information is available at www.fvap.gov/georgia.


California Special Primary Election -- April 4, 2017

The State of California will conduct a Special Primary Election on Tuesday, April 4, 2017, for the 34th Congressional District to replace Xavier Becerra who became California Attorney General. This district consists of part of Los Angeles County.

The Special General Election will be held on June 6.

If you are a California resident from the 34th Congressional District, register to vote and request an absentee ballot today at www.VoteFromAbroad.org or by clicking the VOTE link in the top menu above. Overseas citizens may use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), the registration and ballot request form accepted by all States and territories to request a ballot for this special election.

REMEMBER: You must 1. COMPLETE2. SIGN, and 3. SEND the FPCA to your local election office.

 

Be sure you will receive a ballot to vote

If you are not currently registered, your FPCA needs to be received by March 20 for you to receive the ballot to vote in the primary; if you are currently registered, your FPCA ballot request must be received by March 28.

Ballots will be sent beginning February 18 for those who have already requested them. If you do not receive your requested State ballot 30 days before the election, you can use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB), also available on Vote From Abroad

Please do not assume you will receive the ballot to vote in this special election, even if you just voted in the November 2016 General Election. Detailed instructions and county contact information is available at www.fvap.gov/california.


Kansas Special Election -- April 11, 2017

The State of Kansas will hold a Special Election on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 for the 4th Congressional District to replace Mike Pompeo who resigned from the U.S. House of Representatives when he was confirmed and formally sworn in as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

This district consists of all or part of Barber, Butler, Chautauqua, Comanche, Cowley, Edwards, Elk, Greenwood, Harper, Harvey, Kingman, Kiowa, Pawnee, Pratt, Sedgwick, Stafford and Sumner Counties.

If you are a Kansas resident from the 4th Congressional District, register to vote and request an absentee ballot today at www.VoteFromAbroad.org or by clicking the VOTE link in the top menu above. Overseas citizens may use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), the registration and ballot request form accepted by all States and territories to request a ballot for this special election.

REMEMBER: You must 1. COMPLETE, 2. SIGN, and 3. SEND the FPCA to your local election office.

 

Be sure you will receive a ballot to vote

If you are not currently registered, your FPCA needs to be received by March 21 for you to receive the ballot to vote; if you are currently registered, your FPCA ballot request must be received by April 11.

Please do not assume you will receive the ballot to vote in this special election, even if you just voted in the November 2016 General Election. Detailed instructions and county contact information is available at www.fvap.gov/kansas.


Vote to End EAC Jeopardizes Vote from Abroad

February 8, 2017 — Yesterday the House Administration Committee voted to terminate the federal Election Assistance Commission (EAC). The EAC is the only federal agency devoted exclusively to improving election administration on a bi-partisan basis. The EAC is the agency responsible for overseeing the vote from abroad process for all overseas Americans, to make sure our access to ballots and the handling by elections officials is consistently fair and transparent.

Save the Election Assistance Commission

The House Committee on House Administration voted 6-3, along party lines, in favor of H.R. 634, the Election Assistance Commission Termination Act, sponsored by the committee chairman, Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.), which would shut down the federal agency that helps states regulate voting systems and administer election standards. Created after the chaotic presidential election of 2000, the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) secures our voting process and infrastructure, providing support that local election officials rely on. Now, the House Committee has decided that we no longer need it.

In 2014, President Obama’s Presidential Commission on Election Administration tasked the EAC with modernizing our severely outdated voting machines with more efficient, secure technology, and developing new standards, last updated in 2007. This legislation will leave local election officials without support just as machines around the country are reaching end of life. Terminating the EAC would abruptly end its important work, putting our democratic process at a higher risk for voting irregularities, machine failures, and hacks. This is a stunning move by Congress, especially after reported attempts to hack into state voter registration databases and destabilize our entire presidential election.

The bipartisan commission, co-chaired by the general counsels of the Obama and Romney 2012 campaigns, wrote in their report that: “Without a fully functioning EAC to adopt new standards, many new technologies that might better serve local election administrators are not being brought to the marketplace.”

The League of Women Voters Released a statement opposing this move: "League Opposes End to Voting Agency Passed by House Panel":

The EAC does invaluable work to improve our nation’s election system on a voluntary, non-regulatory basis. The bi-partisan organization seeks to ensure the efficacy, reliability, and trustworthiness of our nation’s election systems by conducting research, collecting data, and sharing information among elected officials, the public, and interested organizations. It was set up by the Help America Vote Act, which was adopted after the controversial presidential election in 2000.

Help America Vote Act 2002 (HAVA) mandated that overseas absentee ballots be tabulated separately from domestic absentee ballots, ensuring overseas Americans can see that their votes count and are counted. The EAC’s tabulation of overseas absentee ballots provides elected officials and candidates with a clearer picture of their overseas American constituents. Through reporting and data analysis, the EAC was established with the goal of improving the uneven state compliance with federal regulations of voting law. 

Support for the EAC and it's impact on the vote from abroad and overseas Americans is among Democrats Abroad's top priorities.

TechCrunch published an article "House moves to eliminate commission overseeing voting system security" questioning the intelligence of eliminating the commission at this particular time:

...it seems like extraordinarily bad timing to kill the EAC immediately after an election marred by allegations of fake voting, hacks and other improprieties. The Department of Homeland Security just last month even designated election systems as “critical infrastructure” and will be helping secure them...

In the article, EAC Chair Thomas Hicks is quoted saying, "the EAC is the only federal agency bridging the gap between federal guidance and the needs of state and local election officials.