We were very happy to welcome on November 6th Paula Jakub, the CEO of the AFSPA, which administers health insurance as part of the Federal Health Benefits program. Paula is also the Executive Director of the Senior Living Foundation and spoke to us of her learnings from running this non-profit organization that is devoted to helping elderly Foreign Service retirees and survivors. She also answered our questions on Medicare and Medicaid, Essential Health Benefits, long-term health insurance, pre-existing conditions, and the latest on the state of the Affordable Care Act. A special thanks to volunteer Sandra Keegan for having organized the comfortable venue, which helped soften the blow for some of us who realized we might never be able to move back to the US for a simple lack of affordable health care!
To all our members, please take part in the Tiny Action on Health Care - take a selfie in support of Universal Health Care - details on http://www.democratsabroad.org/healthcare_stories.
Thanks to the efforts of our determined GOTV Director, Tiffany Fliss, DAB was at KU Leuven's International Student Orientation Activity Fair on September 20th. Leuven DAB member Kevin Bardool and Chair Pauline Manos helped sign-up a dozen or so American citizens and encouraged all the other curious students (especially attracted by DA Germany's "Make America Gay Again" postcard!) to help us spread the word.
Pauline Manos published Scenes from a Civilized Debate between a Democrat and a Republican in News 2017-09-20 16:06:03 -0400
DA Belgium Chair, Pauline Manos, and Republicans Overseas Chair, Mike Kulbickas, spoke on a September 14th panel sponsored by the Université Libre de Bruxelles Extension Program at La Louvière: L' Amérique de Donald Trump....200 jours plus tard! It was a refreshingly civilized discussion (with even a few laughs) that covered a wide range of topics, from the values of each party to the history behind divergent views on issues from health care to foreign policy to immigration, with many thoughtful questions from the 70+ attendees. Our warm thanks to moderators Jean-Paul Renier and Salvatore Ribaudo for allowing us to move out of our "Brussels Bubble".
No pics, but we had a great Pub Social on August 16th - here's what our crowd looked like:
- age range: late 20s to 65+
- time in Belgium: two weeks to 40+ years
- political persuasion: self-proclaimed sort-of anarchist to fiscally conservative
- voting states: CA, FL, NM, NC, OR, and more
And our "Friends of DAB": Wallon, Flemish, Bruxelloise, British, and a couple of D.C. tourists and a vacationing American working in Senegal
THIS IS DAB, THIS IS AMERICA!!!!
Pauline Manos published A call for stories of Universal Health Care in News 2017-02-23 07:00:44 -0500Americans Abroad: Stories of Universal HealthcareAmerica stands on the brink of a new horizon in healthcare, taking a major step forward with the implementation of the landmark Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010. However, with President Trump and the Republicans prioritizing a ‘repeal and replace’ of the ACA, the future well-being of hard-working Americans is at stake - literally.And that simply cannot happen.In Europe and throughout the entire developed world, healthcare is considered to be a NON-partisan, universal human right.Why not in the United States?The clock must not be turned back on the progress Americans have made regarding their health. Now that millions have experienced the benefits of the ACA for themselves, they are speaking out like never before in favor of the fairness, affordability and inclusiveness that a healthcare system in every democratic, developed country should provide for its citizens.“The overwhelming majority of Americans, regardless of political persuasion, understand that we have to go forward on health care, not backwards.”– Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) –Following the January 15th and February 25th rallies organized around the country in support of the Affordable Care Act, more and more Americans are getting involved at the grassroots level and voicing their views on healthcare.As an American living outside of the U.S. (of temporary or indefinite status), you have likely found yourself in conversations with friends and family back home, discussing the benefits of ‘universal’ healthcare policies that you have experienced abroad. Chances are, you have had a quality, professional experience whether you were working, studying or simply vacationing at that given moment. And these are the defining moments that must be shared.We cannot afford to be silent – and there has never been a more important time than now. America has come too far to watch its long-awaited advances in healthcare be stolen away. We must not regress, but rather strive to improve, expand and make ever-more-inclusive this human right for all people, regardless of economic class, employment status, pre-existing condition, race, religion, gender, sexual preference, etc.Will you tell your ‘healthcare abroad’ story, in support of the ACA and the principle of universal healthcare as a human right for America?The U.S. State Department estimates that 7-8 million Americans live abroad. That means millions of healthcare stories.Please join your fellow Americans in this effort by sending your short story (written or video) to email@example.com, to be shared back home with our representatives at the local, state and federal levels.If you believe that healthcare is a human right and a moral imperative, let your voice be heard, loud and clear – share your story!+++++++++++++++++++++Americans Abroad: Stories of Universal HealthcareBecky (Oregon)+++++++++++++++++++++Andy (Michigan)We're eager to hear your story: firstname.lastname@example.org
In solidarity with those fighting for women’s rights and social justice around the world, join us to light a candle at Place de la Monnaie on January 20th at 5pm. EVERYONE is welcome to this gathering, invite your family, friends and colleagues and help spread the word! Kids and families are very welcome, too, as we will stand with the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, and with the Women’s March in Washington DC. Click on the link above to join the Facebook event for up-to-date information or keep an eye on the DAB site.
We had an energizing "Post-Election Reflection", with many suggestions on how to move into actionable opposition mode. Here are a few:
- January 21st - Solidarity with the Women's March on Washington - we are requesting a permit to gather in Brussels in solidarity with the Women's March on Washington (objective on the event's national website, http://www.womensmarch.com). Pencil in the date (it's open to all, not just women!) and we will keep you posted on the event, particularly as we connect with others working in the same direction. If you'd like to volunteer to help out, let us know.
- Take the Overseas Vote Foundation Survey - http://www.research.net/r/USVote_2016_PostElectionSurvey - literally less than five minutes on a phone, laptop, or desktop. It is important that we get the data to improve our overseas voting efforts and ensure our voices as Americans abroad are heard. And as we discovered in our many Get Out the Vote efforts this past year, the challenges are many.
- Participate in DA's Congressional Call Storm - http://www.democratsabroad.org/congressional_call_storm - this is a targeted effort towards the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to support investigations into Trump's conflicts of interest. It's a great way to act directly and also remind your state officials that they speak for Americans abroad, too.
- Take regular action through our Facebook page - our DAB Facebook Page is becoming our one-stop shop to collect the myriad of ideas that allow us to channel our anger and disappointment into concrete action. Like the page and scroll through for articles and suggestions.
- Volunteer to help out - DAB is in desperate need of an events coordinator, as we've had many suggestions for 2017 events but need the arms and legs to find venues and manage communication - estimated time commitment would be a couple of hours a week in the month leading up to the event. In a similar vein, the DPCA (Democratic Party Committee Abroad, aka DA Int’l) is looking for volunteers who’d be willing to spend at least 3hrs/week on the Communications team on an ongoing basis. Let me know if you’re interested in either.
And with that, I think we have enough to keep us busy through the upcoming holidays! May they be peaceful for you and your friends and family and may we start the new year with the same energy and momentum that we have today.
All the best,
Chair, Democrats Abroad Belgium
UPDATE: We will hold our final event of the year, a Post-Election Reflection, on Thursday, December 1st at 7:30 pm - email email@example.com for location details.
November 10th, 2016
Dear DAB Members,
On this day after the morning after, as all the dust has settled, I wanted to take a minute to thank you for all of your tremendous support this past year. You helped us register voters, phone-bank, email, educate, and spread the word throughout Belgium. Over 150,000 people used www.votefromabroad.org, volunteers made over 125,000 calls through our new on-line system, and we know that overseas voters made a difference in so many tight races.
I know your emails and social feeds are over-flowing with the many different reactions to the election. It's important that we take this time to reflect, but we also need to be ready to regroup and act if we are to take back Congress in 2018. If you do have thoughts and ideas for our work in the coming year, please do share them with me. I also hope to see you at our next get-together in December and at the Inauguration event in January. News of both will be on our website shortly.
My warmest regards and heartfelt thanks,
Chair, Democrats Abroad Belgium
We have a lot going on these coming weeks, as we head into the home stretch of the elections! Note that our Clinton/Kaine Stronger Together t-shirts have arrived, as well as Women's Cards and the latest batch of buttons, so come by one of the events and pick up this season's souvenirs to support our Get Out the Vote efforts!
- Sep 21st - DAB Media Training for those interested in volunteering to act as spokespeople over the coming months. We're in special need of Dutch speakers, so if you can help, RSVP via this link - DAB Media Training
- Sep 27th - First Presidential Debate Watch to celebrate National Voter Registration Day - RSVP here Sep 27th Debate Watch.
- Sep 28th - Voter Registration at the University of Kent Brussels campus during the day - volunteers still needed to help!
Oct 2nd - DA Germany's famous (or infamous!) Oktoberfest event in Munich - details here DA Oktoberfest.
- Oct 3rd - Special Fundraising Event - more info via Fundraiser for the Hillary Victory Fund
And for those who are very good at planning ahead, pencil in these, too!
- Oct 10th - Second Presidential Debate Viewing, with highlights from the Vice-Presidential Debate
- Oct 20th - Third Presidential Debate Viewing
- Nov 8th - Election Day - there will be a variety of events going on and we'll share details as they are finalized, but we do need volunteers to help organize DAB's own all-nighter.
- Nov 9th - The Morning After - we'll be repeating our Breakfast event for those who can't make it through the night.
Again, if any of you can help us set up a Voter Registration event at your school, work, place of worship, favorite expat pub, do let us know. We are especially in need of awareness outside of Brussels - and even if you're just willing to put up flyers locally with the votefromabroad.org info, give a shout and I'll make sure we get some to you, either hand-delivered or via post. We're running out of time and I don't need to remind you of just how critical it is that we find those Americans and convince them to vote.
Last but not least, please do consider donating to Democrats Abroad herewww.democratsabroad.org/donate
- our Get Out the Vote efforts, including the Vote from Abroad website and online phone-banking technology, do not come free and every little bit helps!
Dear DAB Members,
I recently learned that I must return to Washington DC soon, so I am resigning my position as Chair, effective immediately. Vice-Chair Pauline Manos will now become Chair for the remainder of my term, and former Chair Jeffrey Edison will become Vice-Chair. Pauline has done an amazing job as Vice-Chair, and I know that she will be a terrific Chair. Please join me in thanking Pauline and Jeffrey for leading us at this critical time!
I also want to thank all of you for your support and contributions during my tenure as Chair. In a short amount of time, we have built DAB membership to a record level, informed the community about our candidates, and prepared for the general election. The hard work and activism of the DAB community is exceptional – I know, because I have lead two other country committees and worked with many others. You are great Democrats, and we greatly appreciate all that you do to help our party and our candidates.
In my remaining weeks here in Brussels, Pauline has asked me to stay on the Executive Committee in an ex officio role to help coordinate fundraising. In that regard, I am pleased to announce that I will be co-hosting a fundraiser for the Clinton campaign here in Brussels on October 3, with special guest Ambassador Stephen Rapp, who led the Office of War Crimes for the Obama Administration. It is a special honor to welcome a fellow Iowan and leading voice for human rights as a representative of the Clinton campaign. Learn more about Ambassador Rapp here: http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/01/15/top-war-crimes-diplomat-stepping-down/
Contributions start at $150 (Friend), or you can co-host the reception for $500. There will also be a private dinner with Ambassador Rapp after the reception for those donating $1000 or more, and anyone donating $2700 will be invited to join the Finance Committee Abroad. Donate at https://www.hillaryclinton.com/finance/abroad/?raiser=65941, and we will be in touch with the venue location.
If you have any questions, please contact Nigel Habben at Nigel.Habben@gmail.com.
I hope you all have had a nice summer break and that you are ready to help pitch in and elect Democrats in 2016! If you haven’t requested your ballot yet, please go to http://www.votefromabroad.org/ and do so now!
Pauline Manos published From the Fourth of July to the Democratic National Convention! in News 2016-07-24 17:19:33 -0400
We had a great turnout, both at the annual Independence Day Picnic on July 2nd, and at our Fourth of July Pub Social - thanks to all who joined!
Friday July 29th will see us getting together for a Convention Highlights Potluck - RSVP via the Events page and we'll send you the location details.
And stay tuned for details of our August 25th movie night!
The primary season is just about to wrap up and summer is just around the corner so save these dates for some American Election socializing!
Saturday, July 2 - Brussels American Community Independence Day Picnic -THEY NEED VOLUNTEERS! If you can join Democrats Abroad in helping out either before, during, or after this classic annual event, please get in touch with Cliff firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, July 4 - Fourth of July Drinks at the Bozar Rooftop Terrace - cash bar in the evening to inaugurate this new summer locale, more details on their way.
Friday, July 29th - Convention Highlights Potluck - bring your snacks and drinks and hear the best of the Republican and Democratic Conventions; location details will be shared the week before.
Tuesday, September 13th - Panel Discussion at the Château Sainte-Anne - Ryan Winkler, member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, will represent us in this panel and there will be a subsequent walking dinner at this lovely setting; registration details will be shared beg-Sep.
And of course, as soon as the Presidential Debate schedule is released, we'll be organizing another round of debate nights, so stay tuned for more!
We've had a busy month of May, with Mexi-Cali food at Chez Wawa, voter registration at the American Women's Club of Brussels,
and the viewing of "Model Ts to War: American Ambulances on the Western Front 1914-1918" at Cook & Book.
Look out for news of our upcoming summer events...and Get Out the Vote! Absentee ballots can be requested via www.votefromabroad.org, so remind your friends and family (and yourselves!).
Pauline Manos published Mexican food, debates & internships, coming right up! in News 2016-05-06 05:58:22 -0400
As we shared in our April 30th email, we have a Mexican-themed social coming up this Tuesday, May 10th (a pure coincidence, not meant to beat Donald Trump's Cinco de Mayo stunt!!). Join us at Chez Wawa as of 6:30 for a drink or a snack or both...and bring your ideas on how to Dump Trump!
We also hope to see you at our May 26th Discussion with filmmakers Edward and Libby Klekowski. Everyone is welcome – American, Democrat or otherwise! As space is limited, however, we ask that you RSVP to email@example.com. Please specify whether you will come only for the talk (7pm) or if you plan to stay for dinner (20:30).And should Bernie & Hillary agree to debate ahead of California, we'll be watching! Stay in touch via our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/DABelgium, or our website, www.democratsabroad.org/be.
Last, but definitely not least, our summer intern fell through and we're looking for a motivated college student to help us organize our Get Out the Vote efforts over June/July. Interested people can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for the project description.
Enjoy this long Belgian spring weekend...and make sure you've requested that November absentee ballot at www.votefromabroad.org!
As we head into the home stretch of the primary season, we hope to see you at one of our May events!
May 10th Monthly Social - we'll be at a new restaurant, not a pub this time, so email for more details. We'll be there as of 6:30pm, catching up on the latest primary action, so come on by and say hi.
May 26th, an evening with filmmakers Edward and Libby Klekowski- many of you attended our event last year on their book, Americans in Occupied Belgium. Back in Brussels month, they've accepted our request to show their hour-long documentary, “Model T's to War: American Ambulances on the Western Front 1914-1918” (shown on PBS in the US). As some of our US presidential candidates talk more and more about America First, it's touching to recall the story of the American Field Service/volunteers in WWI. The Klekowskis have also written about this in their book, Eyewitnesses to the Great War -- if anyone has the book and would like them to sign it, they're happy to!
Date/Time: 26 May 2016 at 19:00 (dinner will begin for those interested around 20:30; separate checks will be provided)
Location: please email Amanda Rohde for more info (see below).
Everyone is welcome – American, Democrat or otherwise! As space is limited, however, we ask that you RSVP to email@example.com 16 May 2016. Please specify whether you will come only for the talk or if you plan to stay for dinner.Stay in touch via our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/DABelgium, or our website, www.democratsabroad.org/be. And make sure you've requested that November absentee ballot at www.votefromabroad.org!
On behalf of the Executive Committee, happy May Day!
Much has happened since our last email to our members - it was March 21st, and Democrats Abroad had just released the official results, confirming Bernie Sanders as the winner of the Global and Belgian Presidential Primary. The next day's events were a stark reminder of how critical it is that we not take our democratic rights for granted. On behalf of the entire Executive Committee of Democrats Abroad Belgium, we extend our heartfelt sympathy to all those whose lives were tragically affected by the attacks of March 22nd.
As Americans were both targets and victims of the attack, this is also an opportunity to remind all of our members to register with the U.S. Embassy via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, or STEP. STEP keeps you informed of travel alerts, helps the U.S. Embassy contact you in case of emergency, and makes it easier for family and friends to find you in an emergency. We encourage you to go to step.state.gov today and enroll.
We are continuing with our activities around the US elections, with the next event taking place on Tuesday, April 19th. Join us at our Pub Social on Place du Chatelain at the PamPam pub (Rue de l'Aqueduc 111, 1050 Ixelles). We'll be there, hashing over the NY primary and other political news, from 6pm onwards. Details and updates will be on our Friends of Democrats Abroad Belgium Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/DABelgium/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel) and on our DAB webpage (http://www.democratsabroad.org/be).
We're also happy to announce two other upcoming events:
- An April 21st "friend-raising" event, hosted by Microsoft, with David Simas, Asst. to the President and Dir. of Political Strategy - this discussion on US politics and the presidential election is free and open to all; registration and further details can be found here (https://dimas.onetec.be).
- An evening with Filmmakers Edward and Libby Klekowski on May 26th at 7pm in Brussels - Henry Ford became famous for "democratizing" ownership of an automobile by using an assembly line to drive costs down of the mass produced Model T, and also for paying a living wage to his workers so they could afford to buy a Model T of their own. Now after decades of stagnation, the minimum wage is back on the electoral agenda. Come hear DAB's own "Ken Burns family", the parents of Amanda Klekowski von Koppenfels, talk about their most recent documentary project, the Model T and its role in World War 1. Location and reservation details will be shared next week.
On behalf of the full Executive Committee, we hope to see you in the coming weeks.
Mike Michener, Chair
Pauline Manos, Vice-Chair
Senator Bernie Sanders is the winner of the Democrats Abroad Global Presidential Primary, winning 69% of the vote and 9 of 13 pledged delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won 31% of the vote and the remaining 4 delegates. A total of 34,570 Americans around the world voted in the GPP, breaking the previous record set in 2008 by more than 50%!
Here in Belgium, Sanders won a total 227 votes to Clinton's 150. We owe huge thanks to all of our volunteers who helped run our two polling centers over three days of voting - and a special thanks to Voting Manger Tiffany Fliss for all of her hard work in organizing everything so well.
Pencil in April 19th for our next Pub Social, location tbc - we'll have lots to talk about!
What a big week for Democrats Abroad Belgium! This is the week of our Global Presidential Primary, and we hosted three days of "in person" voting at two different polling stations in Brussels - thanks to the hard work of our Voting Manager, Tiffany Fliss, our new Vice-Chair, Pauline Manos, and our enthusiastic team of volunteers: Sharon Bronzwaer, Simone Burger, Paula Cagli, Elizabeth de Bony, Eric de Bony, Vincent DeSantis, Meena Fernandes, Erik François, Chris Horton, Liz Kinoshita, Gaby Leiden, Natalie McNelis, Shannon Pfohman, Meg Porter, Amanda Rohde, Gail Rubinstein, Vasanth Subramanian, Meredith Tandy, and Tony Zamparutti.Thanks to you all, we are playing an important role in the nomination process of our party - and we just learned yesterday that we broke our global voter turnout record from 2008, even before all the ballots have been cast! If you haven't voted yet, you have until midnight tonight (CET) to print out your ballot and return it via fax or e-mail - go to www.democratsabroad.org/global_presidential_primary for more info asap! If you have already voted, don't forget to ignore the Hillary vs. Bernie part of your primary absentee ballot, should you receive one.And speaking of Hillary vs. Bernie, some preliminary results - for just our "in-person" voting here in Brussels, as the remote ballots have not yet been tabulated - Bernie Sanders received 97 votes to Hillary Clinton's 66! We should have final results for Belgium by March 13th, so stand by for that total soon. Congratulations to both our candidates for running respectful and serious issue-oriented campaigns.
DA Belgium also had our Annual General Meeting last week, and we must say thank you to Amanda Klekowski von Koppenfels for her many years of service as Vice-Chair, and for her tireless effort in many other roles. Amanda will remain on the Executive Committee as our DPCA elector (she carries one of our votes in international meetings) and trusted advisor. Thank you, Amanda!
We also want to congratulate our new Vice-Chair, Pauline Manos, and our new Secretary, Simone Burger, and wish them well in this busy election year! And a big thank you to Tiffany Fliss for her ex-officio role as our Voting Manager - our successful week would not have happened without her thorough preparation and execution.Let's keep the momentum going! Please join us for our next DA Belgium "pub social" on Wednesday, March 16th - so we can assess the state of both nominating contests after the third Super Tuesday in a row, when the all important states of Florida, Ohio, and Illinois all cast ballots. RSVP on the Events page and we'll mail you the details - we'll be meeting from 6 to 8 pm and if folks want to continue talking over dinner, there are plenty of restaurant options nearby.
Now is the time to think about what you can do to help your party win in November. Let's not get complacent just because we assume our opponent is Donald Trump - he changes the electoral map in ways we can not yet imagine. Please come to the pub social and sign up to volunteer - for voter registration, campaign events, and Get Out The Vote activities. Your party needs your help - please give some of your time this crucial election year!
Thanks for all that you do.
Best,Mike MichenerChair, DA Belgium
Pauline Manos published More coverage of the GPP in La Libre Belgique! in News 2016-03-07 05:25:30 -0500
And photos of all the action on our Facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/DABelgium - you can still vote through tomorrow via remote ballot!
Pauline Manos published Coverage of our Global Presidential Primary...and there's still time to vote! in News 2016-03-04 09:41:20 -0500
Wednesday's first day of voting was a great success - nearly fifty of you braved the nasty weather to cast a physical ballot, including many new members and students. We had tvbrussel filming (http://www.brusselnieuws.be/en/video/tvbrussel/american-brusselaars-vote-super-tuesday-were-ashamed-trump) and an article today in La Libre Belgique (http://www.lalibre.be/actu/international/la-primaire-democrate-passe-aussi-par-la-belgique-56d8961f3570ebb7a8eeb937) ! There's still time to come by the Holiday Inn Schuman to vote on Saturday & Sunday (see the Events page for details). And, of course, you can always vote via email through March 8th on www.democratsabroad.org/gpp.