Liz Jaff came to Paris precisely to answer the question “What is the Democratic Party doing to win back the seats in the House and Senate?”
In the two days she was here, she engaged in conversations and dialogues about party politics. Liz works at the intersection of technology, political fundraising and grassroots campaigns. She’s part of the “new blood” that we keep hearing we need in the Party. In February 2017, she ran for Vice Chair of the DNC (Democratic Nation Committee) and lost, but stayed on with the transition team, specifically in technology.
People like Liz - and others from Silicon Valley - can bring a lot to the sphere of Democratic progressive politics. Thanks to Liz, the DNC has already recruited some of the best in the field under the leadership of Raffi Krikorian: Megan Smith, Mikey Dickerson, Lori Thomas, Brian Lefler….and more for a first-class clean-up of the Democratic Party IT infrastructure.
You can watch Liz’s terrific interview on France 24 here: Rebuilding The Democratic Party: Seeking a new direction in the Trump Era.
And to see her speech ("Can Technology Bring Back Democratic Voters?") given at the American University of Paris on Thursday, September 28, click HERE
Special elections in the US still to take place in 2017 require our attention, notably in Virginia and New Jersey. Also at stake is a Senate seat in mega-red Alabama where Democrat Doug Jones will pit himself against the probable candidate, Luther Strange (miracles can happen), or Roy Moore, depending on the upcoming Republican Primary, for Jeff Session's old seat. In Gubernatorial races, Chris Christie is term limited out in 2017, and popular Democrat Phil Murphy looks poised to take his seat. Democrat Terry McAuliffe, also term-limited in Virginia, leaves Dem Ralph Northam in a neck and neck race against Ed Gillespie, former Chair of the RNC. Numerous mayoral races are taking place across the country, and you should check your state to see what's up and VOTEFROMABROAD.ORG
On September 6 in Paris , Democrats Abroad France was honored with a visit from John Perez, one of the longest serving Speakers in the era of term limits. Prior to his service in the Assembly, Speaker Emeritus Pérez was a lifetime member of the Labor Movement, eventually serving as the Political Director for the California Labor Federation.
Perez’s message left the audience hoping that the California experience can be translated nationally. Most impressive was his creative outside the box (California?) thinking, such as defining budgets in terms of job loss, a practical solution that makes sense to everyone whether liberal or conservative.
Perez is the embodiment of why Democrats believe in their Party. He has set a model of progressive and pragmatic politics that work for everyone, for the people. When jokingly asked if California would secede from the union, he answered, “Never. We just want to take it over!” The audience unanimously agreed that we need John Perez to move the Democratic Party forward with fresh ideas. Or aren’t they old ideas, after all?
As Speaker, Perez brought together his colleagues to end California’s era of chronic budget deficits. He worked with Governor Brown and members of the Senate to eliminate the structural deficit that left California’s budget imbalanced for more than a decade. He has been a champion of the Affordable Care Act, and affordability of and accessibility to higher education, reducing student fees by two-thirds for middle class families. He implemented labor union protection for workers in the phenomenally successful high tech industries in California, and in 2010 he successfully blocked former Governor Schwarzenegger’s final budget proposal, which would have wiped out 430,000 jobs for police officers, firefighters, teachers and nurses. He is a rabid believer in green energy, and his state’s success is the living proof of what that means.
Perez works closely with the DNC (he’s a Democratic National Committee member) and we need him there!
Democrats Abroad - France was pleased to welcome Will Hailer, senior advisor to DNC Chair Tom Perez, who generously gave of his time while visiting Paris in late July while on a family trip. On the eve of the Senate’s vote on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, DA-France came together to discuss the DNC’s platform and new slogan, diversity within the DNC and the Democratic base, voting rights for Americans abroad, FATCA/FBAR reform and strategies for communication both within the Democratic party and across party lines. Attendees shared their experiences with single payer healthcare in France, as well as their concerns for clear communication with all members of the Democratic party. Mr. Hailer spoke candidly on the challenges facing the DNC and Democrats Abroad, but encouraged Democrats Abroad -France with key insights into the lessons from the Georgia and Montana special elections and cheering news from New Hampshire. With gratitude to Mr. Hailer for his time and talent, Democrats Abroad - France looks forward to continued communication with the DNC as Resistance Summer transitions into a "rentrée à la resistance.” Vote from Abroad registration initiatives begin in September, but for now, bon été à tous!
JOHN GODFREY MORRIS (1916 - 2017)
Democrats Abroad France wishes to express our deepest condolences to the family and friends of John Godfrey Morris, who passed away peacefully this past Friday 27 July 2017.
John’s career in photojournalism was stellar and will be commented upon by many.
But we wish to emphasize his deep devotion to progressive causes as well as his unbounded faith in humanity and the certainty that peace, not violence, is the solution to almost every conflict, large or small.
John was an amazing fellow, a brilliant talent, and a fierce Democrat. He served several terms as a member of the Executive Committee of Democrats Abroad France and was a three-time Delegate at the National Convention -- as a Delegate for Bill Clinton in Chicago in 1996, as a Delegate for Al Gore in Los Angeles in 2000 and as a Delegate for Barack Obama in Charlotte in 2012. He worked tirelessly to bring out the truth for all to see, against injustice, and to bring out our better angels -- inspiring us all to work for a better world.
We will miss his bravura, his thoughtful activism, his sense of humor, and his kind and gentle way with everyone he met.
Democrats Abroad France owes John our profound gratitude for all that he did and all he helped us as a group and as individuals to accomplish.
John’s love of his fellow human beings, his wisdom and kindness, and his contagious laugh will be missed but not forgotten.
#DAinDC Democrats Abroad International is holding its Global meeting in Washington DC: France is here in person: Joe Smalloover, Salli Swartz, Jonathon Holler, Connie Borde, Bob Vallier.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) came to address the audience. She drew on her experiences living as an American abroad in speaking to the group of international Democrats Abroad leaders gathered for day one of the Democratic Party Committee Abroad (DPCA) Global meeting in Washington, D.C.
Gillibrand brought a powerful message of empowerment, calling on members to work towards democratizing the democracy in an important time of social activism.
“This is a moment in time when regular people can raise their voices to be heard,” said Gillibrand.
Former DA-France member Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland came to speak to our leaders: "Yes, I'm a progessive, because what is the point of politics if not to make progress for the people?"
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton from Washington, DC, reminds us that the 2018 midterm elections will be true test of our current wave of activism. Questions from leaders for Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton underline our common ground at #DAinDC: taxation without representation, FATCA reform, residency based taxation, and voting rights for all!
A high-point of the weekend was the presence of labor union leader Larry Cohen who heads up the new Unity Commission within the Democratic Party (DNC). Larry stressed the importance of working together to win local elections, state elections and forming alliances with State Parties.
A new International Executive Committee was elected on Sunday May 14, 2017 at the International Global Democrats Abroad Meeting, held in Washington D.C. Here are the five newly-elected members of the Executive Committee:
(from left to right): Tom Schmid, (Japan) Counsel; Alex Montgomery (Hong Kong), Vice Chair; Julia Bryan (Austria), Chair; Jeffrey Cheng (Sweden), Secretary; Lissette Wright (Canada), Treasurer.
A new generation of Democratic leaders is rising to the fore within Democrats Abroad France! Many thanks go to Jonathon Holler and Amy Levy-Dutailly who led Young Democrats Abroad France into the formation of a bonafide Youth Caucus over the past two years. On April 29th at Les Marquises Bar in Paris a new steering committee of young, committed activists was elected. Congratulations All for stepping up to the plate under the leadership of Co-Chairs, Caitlin Waters and Alex Rehbinder. And best wishes to Jonathon (recently elected to the Democrats Abroad France Executive Committee as Vice-Chair - our youngest ever) and Amy who has gone on to lead the International DA Youth Caucus. Here are the names of the new team:
Alex Rehbinder (Co-Chair)
Claudia Varney (Member at Large)
Pierre Fiatlov (Member at Large)
Mathieu Stiehl (Member at Large)
Jessica Evangelista (Member at Large)
Rachel Padilla (Member at Large)