DAG 2017 Elections
Candidates by Positions
Names are sorted alphabetically per position.
An * denotes that a candidate statement was submitted.
Owen P. Jappen*
Owen P. Jappen*
DPCA Voting Representative
Rosalind Ann Gnatt
John Andrew Grosser*
Joseph Emmanuel Mathias
James Albert Moss
Coordinator for "GOTV" (Get Out The Vote)
Joseph Emmanuel Mathias
Coordinator for "Communications"
Coordinator for "Press" (Media Contact)
Joseph Emmanuel Mathias
Coordinator for "Database & IT" (Membership)
Coordinator for "Chapter Development"
Brian Patrick Kearney*
David L. Knutson*
At-large Coordinator for "Events & Fundraising"
Respectfully submitted by Alan Benson
Chair, Nominations and Elections Subcommittee 2017
Name: Steven Gelt
I am interested in being a part of this organization.
I am a semi-retired freelance writer living in Berlin motivated to get the ex-pat votes out especially after the result from last November. Was a teacher for 30 years prior.
Name: Owen P. Jappen
My fellow Democrats in Germany: I would be remiss not to thank all of you for the energy, dedication and enthusiasm displayed across the country last year. From local events, to showcasing our Country Committee in facilitating the 2016 Global Meeting, the excitement was truly contagious! While we as a party do not preside over the houses or legislatures we hoped and expected, it is from that inspirational spirit exemplified by you all, that I stand on this ballot and ask for your support as Chair of Democrats Abroad Germany.
While living in the US, my political volunteer experience was focused in local campaigns, proposition issues regarding higher education and environmental interest groups. In deciding to move abroad, I felt disappointment in not being able to continue as an active citizen in the American political system; lo and behold, there was Democrats Abroad to prove that sentiment wrong. Within a week of arriving in der Bundesrepublik, many of us met at the 2016 AGM in Schladern, and so I assumed the role of Fundraising and Events Coordinator for DAG. This role afforded the experience of observing and understanding ExCom structure, but also familiarization with many members across the country, learning what particularly motivates them to stay active with DAG and facilitating various ways they could support the Committee’s efforts. Such interest ranged from distribution of swag items to donors, coordinating the Annual Oktoberfest Event with the Munich Chapter Chair, or tracking and thanking donors whenever possible to promote DAG’s philanthropic culture.
While the coming years may be oft characterized by a struggle to defend past progress, I promise, regardless of our election in Berlin, to continue serving in the best interest of our joint causes. In the spirit of President Obama’s final request of the American people, we must continue to have faith in each of our ability’s to facilitate change – an echo of that mantra that galvanized so many – yes we can – yes we will continue to do!
Name: Hilary Bown
Greetings fellow DAG members! My name is Hilary Bown, and I'd like you to consider me for the position of DAG Vice Chair (or, should a female candidate be ineligible for that office, DPCA Voting Representative).
I've been involved with Democrats Abroad since the 2008 Global Primary, when I volunteered with the Berlin chapter to help our members cast their votes. That summer and fall, I worked for the DNC, promoting Barack Obama's candidacy in over 20 countries across Northern, Central, and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. In that capacity, I coordinated voter outreach efforts between DA leaders across the continent and worked to identify new populations in our region with whom to build a coalition. My position encompassed coordination of and reporting on field plan activities, voter registration and outreach, fundraising, and phonebanking across this territory. During those months, I had the opportunity to meet personally with seven of our (then) nine DAG chapters, as well as chapters and country committees in Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, and Poland.
I remained an active member of our Berlin chapter, working with Young Dems and our Supermembers in both the planning and execution of major events such as our 2008 Election Night Party, 2009 Inauguration Ball, the hosting of the EMEA Regional Meeting, and local coordination of the 2012 Summer Road Trip.
At our 2009 AGM, I was elected and served one two-year term as DAG Secretary. This position afforded me extensive knowledge of the workings of our database and further insights into our organization. During my term, I attended both the Berlin and Florence international meetings and our Oktoberfest fundraiser. Most significantly, I proposed multiple changes to modernize and democratize the DAG bylaws, a years-long struggle which resulted in the ability of all members since 2013 to remotely attend and cast votes at our AGMs!
During my first years of self employment, I decreased my involvement with DAG. Though I was not as visible on the national or international scene, I continued to answer the call when necessary for large events or campaigns, regularly contributed to our social media communications, and remained one of DAG's few sustaining members. Last year, however, I returned to the Executive Committee to fill the vacant Vice Chair position. In that role, I organized the Democrats Abroad Global Convention held in Berlin last spring, ran our successful voter registration and membership drive via Facebook advertising, personally contacted hundreds of members by telephone and email during and after election season, represented DAG in national and international media interviews, and led January's Women's March on Washington in Berlin. On the international level, I have recently assumed coordination of DA leaders on global actions and responses, as well as begun work with the DA social media team to improve and streamline communications to all our members through these channels.
I hope you will take into account the breadth of my experience with and dedication to our organization across all levels when marking your ballots. It has been an honor to serve you and thanks again for your consideration.
Name: Owen P. Jappen (see above)
Name: Steven Gelt (see above)
Name: Michael Lee
Michael has been a member of Democrats Abroad for over two years. He has served as DAG Treasurer for over a year, and I can say - as Chair - he has done a very good job. The next Chair of DAG will be lucky to have him.
Michael is qualified to be treasurer because:
- He is a Diplom Volkswirt from the Free University Berlin (roughly the equivalent of a master's in political economy).
- He was the Schatzmeister for the Berlin Division of the German Aeroclub for several years.
- He has a qualification in bookkeeping from the Berlin Trades Board.
He not only has the German “documentation”, he has the experience and has proven that he can actually do the job.
(Statement submitted by Quaide Williams)
Name: Steven Gelt (see above)
Name: Janet Day-Strehlow
My name is Janet Day-Strehlow, a registered Democrat from Arlington, Virginia. I have lived and worked in Germany for the past 30 years and have recently taken early retirement. I want to use my newly freed-up time to help out the U.S. in any way I can.
I was a Senior Manager in Workplace Resources at Cisco Systems for 20 years, responsible for
construction projects in Europe, mid-East, Africa and Russia. What made me successful was my ability to organize, set clear expectations and to get people engaged towards achieving a common goal and to enjoy the journey.
When Overseas Vote Foundation was starting out, I was responsible for working through and cleaning up the database of all county clerks and election officials (e-mail, phone, addresses) in all 50 states. It was quite a learning curve to see just how different each state approached voting and the voter experience. I have also been involved with the Episcopal Church in Europe, first as Vestry Chair of our local church, then as Secretary and eventually President of the Bishop's Board of Advisors (Council of Advice).
I offer my services as Secretary of Democrats Abroad – Germany in the hopes of helping to shape the voice of our organization and make it as loud as possible.
Thank you for your consideration.
DPCA Voting Representative
Name: Aloka Barthel
Introduction and what I can bring to the position of DPCA Voting Representative
Hello fellow Democrats. I have been a member of Democrats Abroad Germany since 2010, and it has been great getting to know so many of you throughout this time. For those of you that I have not met, I am currently the Media Contact for DAG. For the past six years, I have served as the liaison between DAG and DA International, working closely with DAG chapter Media Contacts on press matters as well as with various press outlets and journalists throughout Germany. Being part of DAG and taking on the role of Media Contact has enabled me to take on many responsibilities such as:
setting up interviews
preparing surrogate speakers for interviews
helping out at DAG and DA International events
organizing and hosting events for the Göttingen Chapter
helping with GOTV efforts
writing and distributing press material/ contributing to the DAG newsletter
Most importantly, serving as the Media Contact has helped me to connect better with our members who share the same values and contribute to helping our party flourish, and I hope to bring these experiences to the DPCA. This is even more important to me at this point because of the uncertainty of the political situation in the United States as democracy and civil rights seems to be dissipating under the current Administration. This is our time to stand up and fight for what we know to be the real values and strengths of America. Everyone that can do something - should! Therefore, I am pursuing this position because I want to stay involved with Democrats Abroad on a broader scale, and represent our members and the ideas and values we share within the DPCA.
I believe that being actively involved in US politics, even though I am currently living abroad, is vital to my future as an American citizen. It is also important to me to be mindful of the political issues and debates in the US as well as to make sure that Democrats Abroad Germany is represented fairly and their concerns echoed within the DPCA. I am ready and excited to take this next step, and I ask you for your support so that I can be your DPCA Voting Representative. I look forward to working with our members and our newly elected Excom as we plan to win back Congress in 2018! Thank you!
I am originally from Walnut Creek, California. I have been an active member of the Democratic Party since 2001. From 2001- 2006, I was involved in the political arena within the United States. During these years, I was able to work in the press offices of U.S. Senator Patty Murray and then Washington state Attorney General, Christine Gregoire. In the 2004 Congressional campaigns, I worked for Richard Meyer by helping with his public relations campaign for Palm Springs and his fundraising efforts for the 45th congressional district. At the end of 2006, I moved to London to work on my MSc in Global Politics. Upon the completion of my dissertation, I continued to work in politics but on an international scale. When I moved to Germany, it was imperative for me to continue to be involved and volunteer my services to the Democratic Party.
Name: Chris Behnke
I am hereby offering my services to Democrats Abroad. First, a little about myself. I am currently
39 years old, born in Canada to German parents. At about 5 years of age our family moved back to Germany and I attended Grundschule until the 4th Grade. During this time my parents divorced and my mother eventually dated and married an American that served in the Armed Forces. After a few years of going to the American school in Germany we moved to the United States where I lived until 2015, when I made the decision to move back to Germany to live with my girlfriend in a flat in Köln.
My Education and work history; I graduated in 2000 from the State University of Buffalo with a
B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and almost immediately began to serve as an officer in the United
States Army. My military service included time as an M1A2 tank platoon leader, tank Battalion
Maintenance Officer, and working at Brigade and Division Level logistics. This experience required the management of large groups of Personnel and Materiél and included about 13 months of service in Kuwait and Iraq from 2004-2005. At the rank of Captain I left the military to become a Certificated Flight Instructor and eventually begin a career as an airline pilot. I have worked for several airlines including several years as a Captain for a regularly scheduled airline flying in the United States. I am now flying as a First Officer for a Global Airline which allows me to live in Germany.
My involvement with the Democratic Party has thus far been limited to phone banking.
Frankly, I must admit that my familiarity with Democrats Abroad is fairly limited. I have been to a
few meetings and am still figuring out the exact disposition and intent of this organization. My own political views are very closely aligned with those of Bernie Sanders. Before this past election cycle I knew little about Bernie, but at the first debate I quickly realized that all of his answers were my answers (although his arguments are much more refined) and I was shocked that a politician could so closely match my own views of the world. With that said, and what I know of Democrats Abroad, my focus for Democrats Abroad would be threefold:
First, enable citizens abroad to participate in government to the fullest extent possible. This would involve education and reaching out to those Americans living abroad in order to ensure that they are aware of the requirements to and ability to make their voices heard. Frankly, this past election cycle it seemed to me that some of the GOTV efforts were a bit late in their timing. Even I had issues as my state seemed to not send me a ballot and I had to query them via email.
Second, protect the voice of citizens abroad. It would not surprise me if the GOP is already
scheming a way to eliminate the voices of Americans outside of the United States. Fortunately, we participate in the same program as the military and this could make the issue a hot potato.
However, we need to be proactive in order to protect this program.
Third, increase the influence within the Democratic Party of Democrats Abroad. Due to the nature of this organization the leverage that we have is inherently limited. However, this could be increased with the rising impact of the Global Economy and we here at Democrats Abroad have a unique influence on these changing tides.
Thank you for your time and for considering my Statement.
Name: John Grosser
After the 2016 presidential primary, when it became clear that my preferred candidate, Bernie Sanders, had lost, some of the people I had met during the campaign started to talk about leaving the Party. They said they needed an organization that welcomed them, that worked for them, that fought for them. They said that wasn’t the Democrats.
I respectfully disagreed.
After the election of Donald Trump, millions of people back home are threatened by the new administration: threatened by deportation, by loss of health care, by increased pollution, by loss of legal protections, by violations of their basic freedoms and by an onslaught of misinformation originating in the highest echelons of our government.
Not only can our party fight for these people, but our party has fought for them, our party is fighting for them every day and our party will fight for them until every American has access to affordable healthcare, has rights that they must not fear will be violated, air and water free of pollution and an administration that they can trust.
Since becoming a member of Democrats Abroad, I have joined this fight, first as precinct captain, where I registered voters in Dortmund, and now as candidate for Chapter Chair of NRW, where I hope to grow the chapter through a stronger event schedule and increased use of social media.
Now, I want to continue this fight as DPCA voting representative.
I want to fight for those who are most vulnerable back home.
I want to wage that fight with you.
That is why I want to be your DPCA voting representative.
I don't want to leave the party … I only just got here.
Name: Ron Schlundt
I’m running for re-election as one of the DPCA Voting Representatives and would be pleased to have your vote. In this position, I’ve represented DAG at the DPCA meetings and have taken part in many of the monthly European regional conference calls. The position also enabled me to serve as one of the electors at the World-wide and European Caucuses in Berlin last year where our DA delegates to the national convention were chosen. I also was one of the three members of the Rules and Credentials Committee there, helping to settle some of the disputes over delegate selection.
Before being chosen as DPCA Voting Representative, I served as DAG Treasurer and have also held the offices of Germany Chair and Kaiserslautern Chapter Chair. On the international level, I was elected European Regional Vice-Chair, was one of the Democrats Abroad members on the Democratic National Committee from 1996 to 2004 and was also a delegate for Democrats Abroad at four Democratic National Conventions.
Many thanks for considering my candidacy for re-election and for your support.
Member of Democrats Abroad since 1983
Name: Katie Solon
To be sustainable, organizations need both institutional memory and fresh wind. I’m running for DA Germany Voting Representative because I offer both.
Serving as International Chair and therefore a DNC Member since 2013, I’ve developed a global understanding of DA and have made our work, accomplishments and challenges known to the national party, other state parties and candidates. (I’m the first Int’l Chair from Germany and much appreciated DAG’s support in both my elections!) From 2011-2013, I was Int’l Treasurer and DA’s Fundraising Committee Chair.
I dove into overseas Democratic politics in 2003 in Vienna, as one of the founding mothers of DA Austria. As DAA’s 1st Voter Registration Coordinator, I discovered my passion for voter registration and GOTV. Over ten years, I served in several capacities on the DAA board, including twice as Chair.
As a good neighbor, I started attending DAG AGMs early on. I’ve collaborated with other regional and global DA activists on several initiatives: including developing and sharing voter registration materials and tools, work on the precursor to VoteFromAbroad.org, the DA Progressive Caucus, speaker tours, the Obama Bridges Project, the alternative “Unity Draft” of the DA Bylaws, the DA (voter registration) Road Trip, our DC Door Knocks, and have hosted DA members from around the world at our home.
When my Int’l Chair duties end in May, I look forward to being home (!) and joining more chapter and local initiatives and am especially excited about the Political Action Groups forming up, especially the one in my neighborhood. And I look forward to learning more about Germany beyond Bavaria and supporting the work of other chapters.
I’ve been married to a Bavarian and an old farmhouse near Prien am Chiemsee for nearly 30 years, and we’ve lived here full-time since 2013. (My first 15 years abroad I worked for NGOs in refugee camps or as an US Foreign Service Officer mostly in conflict zones, the next 15 were a quiet contrast in Vienna.)
I intend to heed and echo President Obama’s farewell call: to show up, dive in, stay at it! We must go on both defense and offense for Democratic values and policies to meet the challenges brought by the Trump Administration and Republicans in Congress and state legislatures across the U.S. I would be honored to have your vote as DAG Voting Rep.
Name: Shari Temple
I am seeking the position of Voting Representative for DA Germany. I have served in various roles within Democrats Abroad from the local level to the international level. This has provided me with the experience and knowledge of how to work effectively within the organization and how to use the leadership role to help achieve our Get Out the Vote goals. I want to stay actively involved in helping control damages from the Trump administration as well as get more Democrats in office.
Democrats Abroad Roles:
My Democrats Abroad experience includes roles at several levels.
DA Germany Munich level:
DA Germany Munich Chapter Chair (Aug 2005-Feb 2007)
DA Germany level:
DA Germany Voting Representative (Mar 2015-Present)
DA Germany Excom Advisor/Former Chair (Mar 2012–Mar 2015)
DA Germany Chair (Feb 2009–Mar 2012)
DA Germany Vice-Chair (Oct 2007–Feb 2009)
DA Germany Secretary (Jan 2006-Feb 2009)
DA Regional Level:
DA Regional Vice Chair – EMEA (Jan 2012–Apr 2013)
EMEA Delegate at DNC Convention (Aug 2008)
DA International Level:
DA Global IT Team Leader
International Excom (Jan 2012–Apr 2013)
DA Global DB Manager (Jun 2006–Apr 2013)
Name: Quaide Williams
Officially, I have been a member of DA since 2008, though I was also very active with AOK (Americans Overseas for Kerry) in Munich in 2004. After working on the Obama campaign in Germany in 2008, I was elected to be Munich Chapter Chair in 2009.
As Munich Chapter Chair, organized the first Oktoberfest Fundraiser for the DPCA in 2009. In the lead-up to the 2010 midterms, I coordinated the efforts to produce our first professional brochure for DA, as well as a mass mailing we did to all members of DA-Germany.
Over the past six years I have served DAG as either Vice Chair or Chair. In my first year as Vice Chair of DAG, I founded the EMEA COOP, a cooperative to provide country committees - including Germany's chapters - with high-quality postcards, brochures, bookmarks, buttons, t-shirts, printed table cloths, telescopic banners, lanyards, DA folders, etc. I was also instrumental in planning - and driving - the Democrats Abroad Road Trip (DART) around Europe in the summer of 2012, visiting 26 cities in 13 different countries, motivating local committees and chapters and registering as many American citizens as we could find: www.facebook.com/DemocratsAbroadRoadTrip
With the help of a few other volunteers, I worked very hard to update our membership files and tidy up our DAG membership database, and over the past few years we have moved up from very mediocre (45% bad data) to one of the best country committees globally (>99% good data).
I have attended Global Meetings in Florence, Seoul, Washington, Puerto Vallarta, London, Punta Cana and Berlin and EMEA Regional Meetings in Berlin, Strasbourg and Kiev. I know the DPCA, our DNC members and many of our leaders worldwide, and I will work hard to represent Germany to the international body.
Whether you'll be in Berlin in person, or participating at the AGM online, I ask for your support and your vote.
Name: Hilary Bown (see above)
Name: Janet Day-Strehlow (see above)
GOTV Coordinator (Get out the Vote)
Name: Beverly Seebach
An estimated 8.7 million Americans living overseas have had the right to vote in federal elections since 1975, thanks to grassroots campaigning by Democrats Abroad and other overseas American organizations.
Unfortunately, although in theory every American has that right to vote, because each state has different procedures and deadlines, it is a challenge for voting assistances and for Democrats Abroad to spread the word and distribute voting information in a timely matter.
That is why GOTV (Get out the Vote) is incredibly important and a crucial Democrats Abroad Germany responsibility. Contacting a voter and touching base with fellow Americans can come in many forms: through phone banking, distributing flyers and brochures, direct mailings (electronic or postal) and – proven especially effective – face-to-face contact with info-stands and voter registration tables. The goal of a DAG “Elections Team” will be to identify Americans in Germany and motivate as many of them as possible to actually vote!
I have belonged to Democrats Abroad leadership for over 10 years – as Frankfurt Chapter Chair, Wiesbaden/Mainz Chapter Chair, DAG Vice-Chair and DAG Communications Coordinator and have helped to lead a very large and diverse DAG to become a highly active and vibrant group.
I know how important the American democratic process is and how meaningful our voting rights are. If elected as DAG GOTV Coordinator I will work with DA International Leadership and Voter Support Teams to reach the thousands of Americans living here to increase the voter turnout in the crucial 2018 election and beyond.
Name: Chris Behnke (see above)
Name: Angela Fobbs
I want to be the At-Large Communications Coordinator because I, like so many Americans, am upset about Trump's election. I want to help channel our anger towards voting in 2018 and 2020 and I believe I can best do that using my professional skills to help to get the message out to our members and other interested parties. In order to be successful in our political endeavors, we must bring people together.
I've lived in Germany for 18 years. I am originally from Ohio and prior to moving to Germany I lived in Florida, where I vote. Currently, I teach English but I have over 20 years experience in Information Technology and Project Management field. I have worked for the Department of Defense (DoD) for 10 years my last position was Enterprise Networks Branch Chief, responsible for all the voice and data projects for the Army in Europe. During my tenure with the DoD, I also managed for six years a global project for Department of Defense Education Activity Europe (DoDEA) broadcasting the High School graduations of children of deployed Military personnel, in all branches of service, to multiple locations around the world
As a party, I believe we have not yet reached all the American women and men of good conscience. In fact, neither I nor my husband, who has lived in Germany since 1987 have heard of Democrats Abroad before the summer of 2016. We both are regular voters and politically minded. I am sure there are many more American like me and my husband who need to know about our organization and be encouraged to vote. We must bring people together to succeed and curtail the destruction of our democracy. We must use the all platforms available in a holistic way to gather momentum and make people act in the real world.
Living overseas allows us to see America from different perspective and speak with authority on what is happening in the world. We should not limit our reach to overseas voters. We all have relatives and friends in America. We have to support everyone who is resisting inside and outside America. We need concise messages and information to persuade all the people who are sitting on the fence to join us. We need to start getting people registered to vote now. We need to illustrate what the Trump Administration is doing and how it is bad for America. We need to give people hope, something to believe in, so they will go out and vote and against Trump and the rest of the republicans.
I am the right person to coordinate our message dissemination.
Thank you for taking the time to read this statement. Vote for me to have a fierce and technically savvy messenger for the Democratic Party for progress and against tyranny.
Name: Yasha Wallin
What have I learned working in publishing and communications for over 15 years? For the maximum amount of impact, it’s all about how you craft a message, how that message is delivered, and when. What have I learned from this past election cycle? That I not only have a responsibility, but an innate desire to use my voice and the skills I’ve honed in my career, towards something larger than myself. The way I see this manifesting is with public service, and through a commitment to advance (and innovate) the goals and values of the Democratic Party. That is why I nominate myself for the Media Contact or Communications Coordinator role at Democrats Abroad Germany, positions I would hold with great reverence, dedication, and enthusiasm.
A native of California, I gained my expertise in the publishing and advertising industries while working as an editor in New York City. In addition, I managed large-scale marketing projects before choosing to bring my skill set to Berlin. As a writer, I contribute to several media outlets including GOOD, Guardian UK, Monocle, and The Daily Beast. This combined experience means that I not only craft a well-written press release at a moment’s notice, but also manage various levels of communication—be it for print, digital, social media, or real-life interactions. For the latter, it helps that I’m a people person first and foremost, and thrive on connecting like-minded individuals as well as bridging the gap between those with opposing views—invaluable qualifications for the Media Contact or Communications Coordinator roles at DAG.
Further, having been VP Membership of Toastmasters International this year, I gained significant insight into what it means to be a voluntary board member, and how important everyone’s contribution is to making an efficient, active, and engaging organization. But don’t just take my word for it. My former boss at GOOD Magazine had these kind words to say: “She is driven, easy-going and razor sharp…Yasha is a big thinker who gets things done, and I recommend her with zero reservations.”
Press Coordinator (Media Contact)
Name: Yasha Wallin (see above)
Database & IT Coordinator
Name: Chris Behnke (see above)
Chapter Development Coordinator
Name: Teresa Gerry
I am interested in assisting local chapters. I have trained adults in the USNavy, in Girl Scouts and, unofficially, in my US government job in Human Resources. I would like to assist local chapters generate enthusiasm for voting in local level elections back home so that we can develop and groom party members at all levels. I have felt disappointed with my local districts but felt I wasn't there. As a result of last November's election I was struck by the fact that decisions at the local level impact me even if I live abroad. I am seeking a position as At Large for training and development. I believe my enthusiasm and experience recruiting in Girl Scouts and in Human Resources readies me to hit the ground running.
Name: Brian Patrick Kearney
I wish to run for CHAPTER DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR for three reasons: first, to help facilitate the communications between chapter chairs across Germany, and with party leadership; second, to help develop party structures that help us mobilize Democrats across Germany in ways that maximize their impact in the US; and third, to look for ways that promote and support political participation for existing and new members of DA Germany. I think there are opportunities to find supporters/members in "new" spaces (for example, in states formerly of East Germany). I think, too, there is a hunger for activism out there that can only help our cause and promote the welfare of democracy in America. I would like to help channel this righteous indignation.
Until Nov 2016 I had largely been a "virtual member" of DA Germany. The election of a reckless demagogue to the White House and the persistent GOP hold on power across the US have unsettled me and brought me back into the fold. As a college student I was very active in Democratic politics on multiple levels – as a member of the College Democrats at my university in Washington, DC; as an intern at my congressman’s field office in Detroit, and, later, as an intern for a year at the DNC in Washington; and, finally, as a full-time volunteer in Macomb County, MI and Metro Detroit for Bill Clinton in the closing months of the campaign in 1992. I also have experience as an activist and campus organizer in the Anti-Apartheid campaign and corporate divestiture movement of the 1980s.
I am a Michigan native and voter, but I have also lived for extended periods of time in Washington, DC; Kentucky, Indiana, and Spain. I have been a permanent resident in Germany since 2004. I am a college teacher by profession, and am married to a German national.
Name: David Knutson
Dear Fellow Members of Democrats Abroad Germany!
Being on the Excom for “Chapter Development” has been a great honor, and I would like the chance to complete the work we have already successfully started. My experience as a former Chapter Chair in Berlin and as member of the Executive Committee for the last two years has given me an insight to the need of other current Chapter Chairs, and I am always available to help them in any way I can or simply to listen to their concerns.
Democrats Abroad Germany has achieved a great deal over the last two years! Two years ago there were no „precincts“…now there are almost as many precincts as chapters. We still, however, have a long way to go in order to keep these active, and with your support I would like to remain working on this precinct project. I have traveled to Bremen, Hamburg, Hannover to help jump-start precincts…and will be going soon to Leipzig and Braunschweig in the future.
This is an exciting, challenging, sometimes disappointing, but also rewarding time in which we now live. We CAN unite to fight the onslaught of the white supremacy alt-right and to promote our progressive agenda while living in Germany, but we need to enlist as many people as possible to do so. If elected again to the position of Chapter Development I promise to help with this to the best of my ability.
Name: Chris Behnke (see above)
Events & Fundraising Coordinator
Name: Emily Lines
Hello! My name is Emily Lines and I am running for Events and Fundraising Coordinator for Democrats Abroad Germany. I have lived in Germany for six years and am currently working on my PhD. I first became involved in politics in 2008, when I worked on the Hillary Clinton campaign while in college at Indiana University. That first, up-close experience with politics really got me interested in being more directly involved with the political process.
I have a passion for politics, but also a passion for organizing events. I have experience in organizing events, for DA and for past employers. I am now very engaged with the Berlin chapter of DA and want to continue to actively participate in the efforts by DA to make sure Democrats are successful in the next elections, both locally and nationally, and that we make our voices heard back at home. A key element to this is having well-organized, interesting, and fun events for members, old and new, and to make sure all events are also successful fundraisers that will enable DA Germany to achieve its goals. I would be honored to be able to help all the chapters in Germany organize such events.
Below, you will find a brief overview of the ways I have been active in the Berlin chapter thus far:
Volunteered at the DA Global Convention in 2016 in Berlin: This was my first volunteer experience with DA and I was originally only supposed to volunteer for two of the coffee hour shifts. Instead, I ended up staying the entire four days and had so much fun meeting new people from around the world. I also enjoyed organizing the different coffee hours and interacting with members during the lunch breaks as I sold drinks. This positive experience made me want to continue to be more actively involved.
Co-organized the DA Berlin Chapter’s Election Night party: I was the main contact person between DA and the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy (ICD), where we held the event. I coordinated all the volunteers and scheduled the volunteer shifts for the evening. I also helped to plan the decorations and worked with the technical support team at the ICD to make sure the livestream and entertainment ran smoothly. That evening, I made sure that all the volunteers were aware of what they needed to do and were at their designated task. I also continually walked around to pass out Bingo cards that I designed as an entertainment option while watching the livestream and to make sure that things were running smoothly.
Co-organized the Women’s March in January for DA Berlin: Since there appeared to be no one organizing the event in Berlin, despite the misleading Facebook event, I worked with Hilary Bown to put together a demonstration in front of the Brandenburg Gate within less than a week. Despite the last-minuteness of the event, at least 500 people gathered at the Gate and we received international media coverage.
Organized the participation of DA Berlin in the International Women’s Day march and demonstration: There were numerous groups in Berlin working together and I worked hard to make sure DA was a part of this and aware of all the other groups to avoid having several demonstrations on one day. This involved attending numerous meetings with the different groups and working with the organization team our chapter had put together in order to have a successful demonstration.
Logistical coordination for the Evening Fundraiser with Robby Mook: I was responsible for contacting various locations in Berlin to find a space to host an event that would take place in just a few weeks with Robby Mook, Secretary Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager. I found a space in less than a week that was within our budget and fit the requirements that we were looking for. I was the main contact person between DA and the event space, and organized the logistics regarding the reception before and after the event.
Name: Chris Behnke (see above)
Setting the stage for protest at the start of our meeting, our very talented guitarist-folk singer Erica led us all in a sing-along of Guthrie's "This Land."
Properly primed for protest, we all settled down to the serious business of concentrating our many grievances into the compact space of a postcard, addressed to "Occupant," "BLOTUS," "Misogynist-in chief," and even "The Giant Orange Cheeto" in the White House.
So many issues! So many scandals! And so much righteous indignation!
Despite the somewhat light-hearted mood, we were able to work our way through a serious agenda, detailing our participation in the Annual General meeting in Berlin, discussing our plans for the April 22nd Science March in Stuttgart, and engaging in important discussions about structure and goals for our chapter as we move forward. Some of us will make our way to Berlin, and most of us will be working on the Science March. Virtually all of us identified ourselves as true progressives, and agreed on the need for voting-state-based, "Indivisible-Inspired" activism.
Our larger than usual crowd was a very encouraging sight, but due to this very good turn-out, members ended up sitting on the floor and even standing in the hallway outside the meeting space.
We are energized, and the mood is defiant. Our chapter is definitely on it's way to becoming a formidable activist group- but first, we're gonna need a bigger room!
We’re excited, and honored, to announce that Pete Buttigieg is coming to Berlin for our Annual General Meeting. He will be the guest speaker during the evening dinner on April 1st!
Pete is the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana. He is one of America’s youngest mayors, and the Washington Post has called him “the most interesting mayor you’ve never heard of.” An officer in U.S. Navy Reserve, Pete took a leave of absence to serve in Afghanistan in 2014, earning the Joint Service Commendation Medal for his counterterrorism work. Under his leadership, South Bend has addressed its toughest challenges and is growing at the fastest rate in years.
DAG Annual General Meeting & Executive Committee Elections
Weekend of April 1st in Berlin
Meet Fellow Dems in Deutschland!
The Annual General Meeting (AGM) is a chance for all members of Democrats Abroad Germany to discuss our work over the past year and to lay the groundwork for our Get Out The Vote (GOTV) efforts in the 2018 mid-term elections.
Link to Invitation - with detailed information about AGM
- Link to Menu Options for the weekend
This year is an important election year for DA Germany, as we will be electing a new Executive Committee (ExCom). Have you considered getting more active? Here’s your chance!
Link to “Application Form” for Excom Candidates
DAG Excom Job Descriptions (click here).
DA International recently sent a revised list of “job descriptions” that show country committee Excom positions from a local, national and international perspective. While these have not been approved by the current DAG Excom, anyone interested in running for higher office may be interested in reading it (click here)
- The list of the candidates and candidate statements as well By-Laws changes are now posted March 11, 2017 and updated March 13, 2017 (Status midnight March 12, 2017).
The 2017 DA Germany Annual General Meeting and DAG Executive Committee elections in Berlin are coming up on the weekend of April 1st and the Berlin Chapter is looking to welcoming as many DAG members as possible!
However, many members - for financial reasons or because of the time commitment involved in AGM attendance - will not be able to attend and cast their vote.
Therefore, we are offering a total of 6 (six) Remote Voting Centers within the NRW Chapter.
Voting is slated to take place between 3:30 pm and 6 pm on Saturday, April 1st and members will be able to cast their vote through WebEx at one of our Remote Voting Centers.
Please RSVP to Candice via the email below for exact location details.
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