DACZ ExCom Nominees Candidate Statements and DACZ Bylaws

The 2017 DACZ Annual meeting is coming up on March 28, 2017. Please find below statements from the candidates running for the DACZ Executive Committee. 

And here's a link to the DACZ bylaws, with marked changes. We will be considering these changes during the meeting.  


NOMINEE FOR CHAIR

GEOFF KLIMKO

STATEMENT OF QUALIFICATIONS & GOALS

In addition to being a member of DACZ for several years, I have been Legal Counsel for the last year, providing exposure to the inner workings of the executive committee of our country committee, affording me the opportunity to represent Czech Republic at the DA Global Convention in Berlin in 2016.

I have worked hand-in-hand with the current chair to create events, including hosting multiple fundraising “50 States Dinners” in my home as well as last year’s started-great-but-ended-horribly official DA election-night party. I also work with the current chair to help Americans living abroad make their voices heard back home, for example with recent congressional letter-writing campaigns.

As was the case with most everyone I know, the results of last year’s election left me dumbfounded and searching for a way to make a difference, to promote democratic ideas and ideals, and support others suffering through some very dark days. I have been so excited to see the relentless, ongoing global efforts to make sure the majority’s voice is heard over the din of corporate money and influence in congress, as well as in our minority elected president’s White House. I’ve been especially heartened to hear the results of these outreach efforts are having a significant impact.

I believe DA’s focus should continue supporting Americans living abroad who want to participate in our democracy. This can take many forms, including:

  • Making sure all US citizens living in Czech Republic register and can exercise their right to vote
  • Helping focus constituent energy to effectively communicate our opinions and issues to elected leaders
  • Creating novel ways to impact future elections within or outside of traditional channels

Born in La Jolla, California, I was raised in California, Oregon, and Illinois. I am currently managing director for an import/export firm based in Prague. I left the US in 2005, and since then have lived in Prague as well as Doha, Qatar.

I have a BA from the University of Southern California in journalism, with a minor in photography.

I am married to a Belarusian (we met here in Prague 10 years ago) and we have a 2-year-old daughter. 


NOMINEE FOR VICE-CHAIR

JULIA BRYAN

STATEMENT OF QUALIFICATIONS & GOALS

The 2004 elections kick started my work with DACZ when I registered my first voter, and got hooked on voter registration. I subsequently helped earn DACZ its official country committee status within Democrats Abroad, and have served as both Vice Chair and Chair for the country. As Chair, I have run our committee’s voter registration efforts since August of 2012, pushing turnout and getting out the vote across the country. In 2016 alone we were able to triple our membership and help more than 1500 Americans vote in the Czech Republic.

Besides chairing DACZ, I also volunteer at the international level, where I am the International Secretary for the global organization and the co-chair of the Communications Committee. In the last year I served as a delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention where I had the honor of casting one of Democrats Abroad’s votes for Bernie Sanders. I also helped create the new DA website (democratsabroad.org), managed our digital advertisements for both the global primaries and the general election, managed our online vote count for the global primaries, set up the processes and managed our global voter help desk, and set up the processes and managed our global phone banking system. Here are some of DA's numbers from 2016:

  • 150,000+ voters used our online tool votefromabroad.org to request their ballots. That’s an 83% increase over our numbers from 2012.
  • volunteers made 120,000+ phone bank calls to Americans abroad, helping them request their ballots 
  • we reached 2.5 million+ Americans abroad through our digital ads
  • we helped 30,000+ voters through our 24/7 online voter help desk
  • 34,570 Americans abroad participated in the DA Global Presidential Primary in March of 2016, up 50% from 2008

In these next two years it is vital that we grow DACZ and turn out the vote during the midterm elections. We cannot let Congress remain in Republican control, and we cannot be complacent about what many in the past have seen as elections they can let slide. We also must push back against the Trump administration’s assault on democracy and on the values that we as Democrats believe in.

I believe that Americans abroad are poised to make the difference in the many races that will take place in 2018. I also believe that we can do that best together – by committing ourselves not only to vote but to encourage others to vote. I believe that it is crucial that we build our community in 2017 to help support this work.

As Vice-Chair I will assist the committee to ensure that DACZ is the activist organization Americans in the Czech Republic turn to in our fight against the Trump administration. I will also assist the committee to do all we can to get out the vote – starting with the special elections in 2017 and continuing with the vital midterm elections of 2018.

Bio: I live in Prague with my husband and two children. I run a software development and media company. I am originally from Charleston, South Carolina, and I vote in North Carolina.


NOMINEE FOR TREASURER 

MARSHALL JOHNSON

No statement at this time. 


NOMINEE FOR SECRETARY

SUSAN LEGRO

STATEMENT OF QUALIFICATIONS & GOALS

I am writing to nominate myself for the position of Secretary for Democrats Abroad Czech Republic for the upcoming term. I have been an active member of DACZ for several years, and my relevant experience includes serving as Secretary on two other boards:  Rutland Court Cooperative (in Washington, DC) and Class Acts, o.s. (in Prague).  I have read the officer guidelines and feel confident that I can fulfill them. My top priority as Secretary would be to provide up-to-date, comprehensive, and transparent meeting and chapter records.


NOMINEE FOR COUNSEL

MIKE GISONDI

STATEMENT OF QUALIFICATIONS & GOALS 

A lifelong Democrat, my earliest political influence was Jimmy Carter at the age of 7, who for me, personified integrity in politics and instilled in me the responsibility we all have to maintain our fragile democracy. I campaigned heavily for Senator Obama in 2008 when back in the States and, more recently, for Bernie Sanders all over the country - following the campaign and the primaries for more than five months, ending with a week at the Convention in Philadelphia. Prior to my trip, I promoted and documented (videos available) the DA Global Primary in Prague last March, which saw the doubling of DA-CZ membership. I am passionate about the Democratic Party and believe we have an excellent opportunity now to further grow engagement and membership. I want to be more involved, commit myself to this cause and would be very honored to serve as Legal Counsel for Democrats Abroad CZ.
 
Bio: I left the US after graduating NYU in 1991 with degrees in International Relations and Latin American Literature and have since lived in four other countries: Spain, France, Germany, and Russia, in addition to the Czech Republic. I’ve spent more than two decades in Prague, starting in 1992 when I was Director of Sales and Marketing for Apple Computer and since 2000 with my own consulting, translation, PR and marketing company. I also founded the Vodafone Czech Republic Foundation and served as its Executive Director. I’m outspoken (in English), but can also outspeak fluently in Czech, Russian, French and Spanish.

Mike is a NY voter.


NOMINEE FOR MEMBER AT LARGE

KIM STROZEWSKI

STATEMENT OF QUALIFICATIONS & GOALS

I've served as treasurer for DACZ for the last four years, and been very active with the study abroad community in getting students to register and vote while abroad. I am committed to helping DACZ this year with its activism efforts as a member at large during the crucial midterm elections in 2018.