Canada - Candidate Statements 2015

Democrats Abroad Canada

Board Elections 2015

Term: April 1, 2015-March 31, 2017

Slate of Candidates endorsed by the Nomination and Election Committee

Respectfully Submitted: Bill Curry, Jim Davis, Starla Goggins, Joe Green, Ken Sherman


Chair: Giles Hogya, Victoria, BC

Executive Vice-chair: Adrienne Jones, Toronto, ON

Vice Chairs (2): Heidi Burch, Victoria, BC; Steven Nardi, Toronto, ON

Secretary: Krista Leben, Ottawa, ON

Treasurer: no candidate

Counsel: Marc Seltzer, Montreal, QUE

Membership Secretary: Peggy Hamilton, Victoria, BC

IT Manager: Julie Buchanan, Toronto, ON

Members-at-large (3): Ed Ungar, Toronto, ON; Allenna Leonard, Toronto, ON; Justin O’Donnell, Niagara Falls, ON

DPCA Voting Members (6): Julie Buchanan, Toronto, ON; Maureen Harwood, Vancouver, BC; Allenna Leonard, Toronto, ON; Steven Nardi, Toronto, ON; Marc Seltzer, Montreal, QUE; Ed Ungar, Toronto, ON.



Nomination/Candidate Statements (Alphabetical)


Julie Buchanan – Candidate’s Statement – IT Manager, DPCA Voting Representative

Julia (Julie) O'Neal Buchanan

Born in Mobile, Alabama

Vote in Memphis, Tennessee

I am nominating myself for the position of IT Manager for Democrats Abroad Canada. 

My volunteer activities for the organization began by helping with the Democrats Abroad Canada bus trip to President Obama's inauguration in 2009. 

Experience at different levels of Democrats Abroad:

International-Global Administrator Assistant, Global IT Team-Current

Canada-IT Manager 2014-Current

Canada-Membership Co-Secretary 2014-Current

Canada- Treasurer 2013-Current

Toronto- Vice-Chair 2013 –Current

Canada-DPCA Voting Member-2014

International- Best Practices Committee 2012-2013 

Toronto- Acting Chair 2012

Toronto-Vice-Chair 2011-2012  

Toronto- Secretary Pro Tem 2010-2011 

Canada-Member at Large 2009-2011

I am well versed in all the technical applications available and in use by our country committee and have formed (and will continue to grow) a team to address our many technical needs. 

Attending the Global Meeting in Washington DC in 2014, as the DPCA Voting Representative, was one of the highlights over the years. I would be pleased to offer my services again.



Heidi Burch Nomination for Vice Chair

It gives me great pleasure to nominate HEIDI BURCH as a Vice Chair in Democrats Abroad Canada (DACA). Heidi is qualified to do the job for several reasons.

Heidi has served as Director of Volunteer Services for Democrats Abroad Victoria Chapter (DAV) and as a Member at Large for DACA with distinction. With her engaging personality, she has made the most of her portfolio. She has the talent of knowing how to communicate and how to deal with volunteers. Keeping track of and communicating with now hundreds of volunteers stretching from Vancouver Island to Nova Scotia has put her on the national map. Much of the success of our phone banking campaigns is due to her efforts. But her contributions to DAV and DACA go beyond.

Heidi has contributed to all aspects of running DAV and was instrumental in shaping and implementing three national phone banking campaigns and numerous events.

She is a fervent Democrat. Besides having always voted Democratic in federal elections, she continually follows the politics in Washington, DC (her home town) and in California (her home for 20 years before moving to Victoria). The chapter turns to her when considering the political and legal implications of our activities. She is a self-proclaimed “political junkie”.

She is a fervent Democrat and self-proclaimed “political junkie’, who follows politics in both her states of residences. The chapter turns to her when considering the political and legal implications for our activities.

Fourthly, Heidi is a Member of the Bar certified to practice in California. As such, she is qualified professionally and has the intellectual maturity to assume a leadership role on the national stage. Also she advised DAV and DACA about a legal pitfall in the DA Confidentiality Agreement.

Furthermore, Heidi Burch is a team player and one of the first in DAV to volunteer. She attends almost all DAV and DACA meetings except when familial matters intervene. She is a stay-at-home mother of two young school-aged children. When the boys are at school and when in bed, she seems to have ample time to deal with DA business. DAV and DACA have relied on her boundless enthusiasm and her full commitment to the DA.

Additionally, I foresee in Heidi greater leadership potential in Democrats Abroad. She is young, enthusiastic, mature, affable and talented. Just the type of individual we need in DACA as Vice Chair.

Heidi has agreed to let her name stand as a Vice Chair on the Board of Democrats Abroad Canada.

Respectfully submitted,

Dr. Giles Hogya

DAV Chair & Chair DACA


Peggy Hamilton – Candidate’s Statement – DA Canada Membership Secretary

I am a dual citizen of the United States and Canada and feel privileged to be able to vote in both countries. I have lived in Canada for almost 50 years, was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, and I vote in Bozeman, Montana. I am grateful for the opportunity to work in support of the values and principles of the Democratic Party through Democrats Abroad (DA).

I am serving in my fourth year as Treasurer of DA Victoria (DAV) and also help to coordinate DAV Chapter events. I have just completed a two-year term as the DA Canada (DACA) Recording Secretary and am currently serving as the DACA Membership Co-Secretary. I have worked in the Membership Co-Secretary position for two years and look forward to continue working with the DACA IT team to maintain our membership database. A well-maintained membership database is vital to the success of DACA activities. It enables effective communication with our members nation-wide, ensures successful voter registration campaigns, and provides accurate statistical reporting.

For two years as DACA Membership Co-Secretary, I have worked hard to deal with issues and improve our membership records. I have also diligently performed the ongoing database maintenance tasks. I know the importance of accuracy, confidentiality, and attention to detail regarding records management. I have experience dealing directly with DACA members and have good working relationships with the DACA IT team, the DACA Executive Committee, and the DA Global Membership Database Manager.

My background includes 20 years in the Information Technology (IT) field, coordinating IT initiatives. I also worked for many years in records and database management and I enjoy fixing problems! I have a natural aptitude for attention to detail and work well with a team.

Thank you for your consideration.

Respectfully submitted,

Peggy Hamilton



Maureen Harwood – Candidate’s Statement – DPCA Voting Representative

I became a member of Democrats Abroad in early 2008 and have remained active ever since. I was part of the local organizing committee for the Global Meeting hosted in Vancouver in May 2008. Later that year, DA-Vancouver incorporated as a Chapter. I was Policy Secretary for the first Executive Board, and focused on passage of the Affordable Care Act.

I became Chair of DAV in 2012. In this capacity, I organize US holiday events, voter registration drives and tax seminars. We maintain a cordial working relationship with the US Consulate. Several Board members (dual citizens) have gone on to secure positions with the Canadian government. We have recently elected a new nine-member Executive Board, and I am looking forward to working with this enthusiastic team of both seasoned and new Board members.

My connection with the DPCA allows me to actively work on issues of importance to overseas Americans to which I am deeply committed. I have served on the FATCA Task Force since 2011. I am Co-Chair of the HR597 Task Force - Commission on Overseas Americans. I have attended the last two global meetings in London and Washington, and participated in the 2014 DC Doorknock, in which HR597 was the designated 'umbrella' from which the other issues flowed. I person­ally secured appointments with a number of key senators, both Democratic and Republican (very cordial!). The opportunity to collaborate on important community work with Americans residing throughout the globe is both inspiring and deeply satisfying. I look forward to continuing in this capacity.

Thank you for your consideration and support.


Giles Hogya-Candidate’s Statement-Chair

I am enthusiastic about letting my name stand as Chair of Democrats Abroad Canada (DACA) for a second term. I believe I am qualified because of my experience prior to and after joining Democrats Abroad. As to the former, I have more than a decade of senior administrative experience. At the University of Victoria, I was twice ratified as Chair of the Theatre Department and served two terms as Dean of Fine Arts.

As to the latter, I joined Democrats Abroad Victoria (DAV) six years ago becoming Chair soon afterwards. As Chair of DAV, I transformed the chapter. My first order of business was to recruit a pro-active executive. Our chapter’s achievements are due in large part to the efforts of that new executive committee. Five years ago, our membership stood at 650. Today it is over 900. Five years ago, few had heard of Democrats Abroad Victoria. Today our press coverage, including TV and radio interviews, has extended to Vancouver, across Canada and into the States. I also served as Vice-Chair of DACA before becoming Chair.

As Chair of DACA, I am privileged to be part of an outstanding executive team. Listed below are some of the many achievements accomplished by this energetic and visionary team:

  • Recruited effective new Board members

  • Undertook several phone banking campaigns using well over 150 volunteers reaching out to thousands of members

  • Held an AGM and planned a second with Board elections

  • Supported a mid-term postcard campaign reaching 8,000 members

  • Restructured DACA chapters

  • Formulated a formal committee system

  • Undertook two Robo-call initiatives

  • Implemented in-service training for Board members, especially chapter chairs

  • Sponsored guest presenters

  • Held a Webinar Tax Seminar for 200 members

  • Drafted two strategic (field) plans

  • Supported improvements to the membership database

  • Drafted a field plan template for use by chapter chairs

  • Responded to Date Last Verified directives

  • Undertook the rewriting of the DACA Bylaws

Leadership tenets:

  • Foster the power of positive thinking

  • Assume a non-critical attitude

  • Remember that we are all volunteers

  • Accept valid criticism

  • Listen more, talk less

  • Start and end meetings on time

  • Uphold and advance the principles of the Democratic Party

  • Continue the excellent work of past Chairs by establishing DACA as a cynosure of Democrats Abroad


Respectfully submitted.



Adrienne Jones-Candidate’s Statement-Executive Vice Chair

I am nominating myself as a candidate for the position of Executive Vice Chair of Democrats Abroad Canada (DACA).

I have been an active member on the DACA Board since 2002, when Canada’s country committee was headquartered in Toronto, and was also the local chapter.

Being a member of Democrats Abroad has been an illuminating experience: I’ve met more Americans here in Canada and abroad than I’d known since I moved to Toronto in the 1970s.

Since elected as DACA Secretary in 2003, and Vice Chair in 2005, I’ve learned what issues and US policies affect Americans living overseas, and that DA is a vibrant community of like minds, diverse opinions and a healthy interest in the actions, policies and mind-set of our native United States.

DACA Background:

As Vice Chair of DA Canada (one of two VCs) since 2013, I’ve worked on our country committee GOTV campaign, spearheaded the Chapter Reorganization Project, participated in phone banking, handled communications, and provided the Chair and Board with guidance and advice on policies and issues affecting our members.

2011-13: Board member as a DPCA voting representative. Implemented the Primary Voting Centers held in chapters across Canada. Our GOTV phone banking was split into: Swing States, and Tight Senate Races. I organized the Tight Senate Race portion: assigned and tracked 30+ volunteers, output member lists, tracked call sheets, and tallied results.

2012: DPCA global meeting In Mexico: Elected as a global DA Delegate to the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina,

2007-2009: Chair of DACA during the exhilarating 2008 presidential campaign:

Responsible for: governance of DACA; monthly Board and committee meetings; oversight of the whole GOTV campaign for 2007-08; overhaul of bylaws; developing chapter network.

DA Online Global Primary 2008: Organized DACA nationwide chapter network of 13 voting centers, more than any other country committee.

Membership: In 2007, when I took office, DACA membership list was third from the bottom in DA worldwide. With the help of a terrific secretary and phone banking team, we pulled Canada up to near the top of DA’s membership by the end of 2008.

Board restructuring: Initiated the long-term goal of including chapter chairs on the Board, and as its first chapter Chair, was instrumental in making Toronto separate from national Board.

Fundraising: Our national 2008 Election Night Party, held in Toronto, raised $21,000, ($14,000 net) to fund our treasury for two years and more. With our then-VC, Ken Sherman, who spear-headed our first GOTV Raffle, I helped raise $15,000+ for GOTV advertising; second GOTV raffle raised $14,000.

RVC Americas:

The other DA ‘hat’ I wear is Regional Vice Chair of the Americas. In this role, I am also a member of the international DPCA Executive Committee.

Personal and Professional Background

On a personal note, I’m a native of Philadelphia, PA, and vote in Washington, D.C. I went to middle and high school in Coral Gables, Florida, for two years to the University of Florida (Gainesville), and graduated from the University of Miami with a B.A, in English Literature.

For more than 25 years, I was a public relations professional, working in-house for non-profit organizations and corporate companies, and for 12 of those years, was an independent PR consultant / contractor, with both non-profit and corporate clients.

I’ve also lived in New York City, Berkeley, CA, and last resided in the U.S, in Washington, D.C. I have also lived Hong Kong and Manila, Philippines, which gives me an even wider perspective on the lives of Americas abroad.

Thank you for your consideration for the office of Executive Vice Chair.

Adrienne Jones



Allenna Leonard-Candidate’s Statement-Member at Large, DPCA Voting Representative

I, Allenna Leonard, would like to self-nominate for one of the Member at Large positions and to be a voting member for Democrats Abroad Canada.

For Member at Large

Before coming to Canada in the 1980's, I was active in local Democratic politics in Howard County Maryland including co-chairing a successful campaign for the Maryland House of Delegates. I was delighted to see an announcement of a rally at the intersection of Clinton and Gore in Toronto. Since that time I have attended and volunteered at events, served as a Member at Large, as Treasurer, as Vice-chair, as Chair (for the remainder of Ken Sherman's term when he became International Chair) and am presently serving as Executive Vice-chair. I have also been active as a co-chair of the long-range planning committee.

I would like to continue my involvement by serving as one of the Member at Large positions for 2015/2016. It will be an important year as we head into a presidential election in 2016 where there will not be an incumbent and where it will be more important than ever to mobilize Democrats. I also hope to be able to make better use of my systems background in the coming election cycle.

For Voting Member

I have been attending International Meetings in person since the 2009 meeting in Washington hope to contribute to future meetings. My background (above) gives me a broad perspective from which to represent Democrats Abroad Canada.





Krista Leben-Candidate’s Statement-Secretary

"I have been a member of Democrats Abroad since 2008. I was lucky enough to meet DA

representatives at the Democratic National Convention in 2008, and they encouraged me to become involved in DA when I moved abroad to the United Kingdom later that year. I've been a member of DA Canada since 2009 when I moved to Ottawa. I've been a lifelong Democrat, volunteering for the party before I was even able to vote. I proudly to worked on the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, have helped on Congressional campaigns, and canvassed for the party.

I hold a Bachelor's in Political Science and a Master's in International Relations. I have over eight years of experience in event management. For the past five years I have been running a small event management business. Prior to this, I worked on the Democratic National Convention for the Mayor of Denver and worked on conferences and trainings for Kansas State University, my alma mater. Managing events requires a wide variety of skills--everything to logistics management to marketing expertise to budget management.

I am currently a graduate student studying Political Management at Carleton University in Ottawa. I'm very passionate about American and Canadian politics, and am eager to help DA achieve its goals. Namely, I am excited about the idea of helping getting more Democrats elected in the U.S. through DA, and also very interested in the work that DA is doing on FACTA and FBAR. I would really like to lend my skills to helping the organization, and hope that I can be the next Secretary for DACA. Thank you for your consideration."

Krista Leben



Steve Nardi Nomination for Vice Chair of DACA and DPCA Voting Representative

It gives me a great deal of pleasure to nominate Steve Nardi as a Vice Chair of DACA and as a DPCA Voting Representative for two-year terms starting in 2015. Steve has the experience and proven leadership to become a Vice Chair. Presently he is Chair of the Toronto Chapter. Through his able leadership, the chapter has been energized. Toronto actively engages its American constituents by liaising with the U.S. Consulate and by holding GOTV events and several other political and social functions such as a State of the Union Party, Gay Rights Parade and a Thanksgiving Dinner to name a few.

Furthermore, Chair Nardi is making his mark on the national and international scenes. Steve initiated and helped guide DACA’s first and highly successful U.S. Tax Webinar attended by nearly 200 members in May of last year. He is now Chair of DACA’s ad hoc Webinar Committee. Steve is an adept digital marketer, which is an added plus for DACA. Steve also carried my proxy of 4 votes to the International DPCA Meeting in Washington, DC.

I am confident that Steve Nardi will make a significant contribution to DACA as Vice Chair and to the DPCA as a DPCA Voting Representative.

Respectfully submitted,

Dr. Giles Hogya

DAV Chair &

Chair DACA



J. Justin O’Donnell, BA, MSEd, MLS - Candidate’s Statement – Member at Large

Born in Sudbury, Ontario, to an American Citizen, Justin is a librarian, a professional speaker and a keen researcher. He is in the President of Blue Chip Consulting Services, a professional speaking and research business. He is willing to share with Democrats Abroad Canada his expertise in research, communication and adult education as well as the contacts he has gained with service organizations over the years.

Justin graduated from Brock University with an Honors BA in History and Political Science in 1995. He obtained a graduate degree in Education from Canisius College in 1997 and a graduate degree in Library Science from the State University of New York in 2003.

Justin is actively involved in charitable organizations such as Knights of Columbus and Rotary International. He also belongs to Toastmasters International, Fair Vote Canada, and is an active member of American Citizens Abroad, the American Chamber of Commerce in Canada and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. He is a supporter of democratic reform, human rights and the environment.

Justin has been active for several years with the Conservative Party of Canada and the Ontario PC Party. A former Vice Chairman of Republicans Abroad Canada, he became disillusioned with what he saw as extremism and inflexibility within the Republican Party. He began to re-evaluate his American political leanings, and today describes himself as a conservative Democrat! Justin believes that the Democratic Party is a natural home for political moderates from all walks of life.

Two Democratic Presidents Justin admires are Harry S. Truman and Bill Clinton. Justin is also looking forward to the 2016 Presidential Elections, and is hoping that Hillary Clinton will head the Democratic ticket.



Marc Seltzer-Candidate’s Statement- Counsel, DPCA Voting Representatve

I am very excited about helping Democrats Abroad during the final two years of President Obama’s term. I am also inspired about the prospect of Hillary Clinton’s campaign for President. The improving U.S. economy will give the Democrats a position of strength in Congressional elections as well as in seeking to retain the White House. I believe a Hillary Clinton campaign will invigorate the party and the country, and I want to work to help Democrats Abroad Canada to achieve its goals.

In the last few years, I have worked to get the word out about voting, Vote from and important policy positions by accepting invitations to speak and be interviewed on various TV, radio and Internet news and culture shows. I have helped the Montreal chapter in organizing activities, worked with McGill students to encourage student leadership in an on-campus Democrats Abroad group, and assisted the national Democrats Abroad Canada leadership team with legal questions and bylaw revision efforts.

I have been a member of the California Bar since 1992. My professional experience includes teaching law and ethics, covering the U.S. Supreme Court as a reporter for and practicing law at Baker & Hostetler in Los Angeles. I served as a volunteer legal representative for the Al Franken Senate Recount effort in 2008, overseeing the hand recount of hundreds of thousands of ballots in Anoka County, Minnesota. I have participated in the past two International Meetings through Web X. I have acted as a voting representative for Canada and have made substantial efforts to support the Canada leadership delegation at the International Meetings and to vote and participate in each part of the meeting.



Ed Ungar-Candidate’s Statement-Member at Large, DPCA Voting Representative

For some years my fellow Ex Com members and voting delegates have tolerated my presence among them. I hope I will have the opportunity to continue to try their collective patience.

In 1992 I joined Democrats Abroad after the Clinton Election and have served on the equivalent of the Ex Com with some interruptions, ever since.

In 2000 I initiated quixotic effort to obtain decent funding from Washington to expand our voter base. The reasoning-there was going to be a close election and only we could send votes to every close state. After everything the Florida GOP and the Supreme Court did, the Toronto area alone had potentially more Democratic votes from Florida than Bush’s margin of victory.

One contribution that had lasting effects was my suggestion to perform get out the voter triage. That is, we de-emphasize phone banking to members from states we were sure to win or lose and instead concentrate on our swing state members. I’m told my triage memo was the basis for the international Democrats Abroad effort.

I have also been a voting delegate to several of our DPCA international meeting. On three occasions my amendments to policy resolutions passed handily. I’d like to think I also contributed to heading off an internal DPCA procedure change that would have unintentionally hampered our get out the vote efforts in Canada.

I have been privileged to see Democrats Abroad Canada grow from where the entire Ex Com could comfortably fit into one Toronto living room to a strong multi-chaptered organization that spans the country. I hope I can continue to make any contribution I can to the crucial missions of our Ex Com voting delegation.


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