2020 Delegate Candidate Statements

Warm welcome to the 2020 Democrats Abroad delegate candidates! We are looking forward to hearing from you about your candidacy, why you are running and who you are! Please use this space to tell us about yourself 150 words maximum please). If you'd like, please add a picture here too, and you can also add a link to a video, and any relevant affirmative action information (optional). Note that your information will be publicly viewable from this page, so only send in content you are comfortable sharing widely.

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Oeishik Chowdhury - Candidate for pledged delegate for Bernie Sanders

The metric of good governance is service to its people. When I moved to the United States in 1997, it wasn’t to a big city. I moved to Danville, Illinois, a rural town in east-central Illinois. There I found compassion, curiosity, understanding, hard work and a diverse community struggling to stand up because corporations had left them in the dust. With good-hearted and wise leadership of Joe Biden, progressive wisdom of Bernie Sanders & a broad coalition of diverse leaders at all levels of government, we can revive the American Dream. We can rebuild the vision that Washington, Lincoln, Kennedy and Carter had. Of a progressive, open and free society, not oppressed by a despotic corporate dictator, but represented by a compassionate and humble leader who understands the great responsibilities of the Oval Office and all Americans.

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Benji Reade Malagueño, At-Large National Convention Delegate representing Senator Sanders

Hi! My name is Benji, and I'd be truly honored to represent Bernie's campaign at the DNC Convention. I'm from Santiago, Chile, and I'm a third-year Stanford University student studying environmental science. I've had the privilege to live in Argentina, Singapore, UAE, Oman, and Chile, an upbringing that has cultivated many of Democrats Abroad's global values, but one that has sometimes left me feeling alienated from American politics. That all changed with the 2020 primary. Bernie's ability to unite people through his grassroots movement—in addition to his constant fight for equality, the environment, and healthcare as a human right—captivated me, and I eagerly sought out a leadership position in my university's Students for Bernie group. Hundreds of hours of tabling, phonebanking, and canvassing in California and Chile gave me incredible opportunities to spread Bernie's message, and I'd be so grateful to continue doing so by representing Bernie at the convention.

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John Scardino, Biden Delegate EMEA & Global

I’ve been on the front lines of Democrats Abroad UK since 2004 as a communications volunteer and spokesperson focused on issues like voter registration, the GPP and residency based taxation. I’m eager to continue working to elect Joe Biden president and Democratic candidates all across the ballot. I would focus on registering and engaging voters abroad, especially in close contests and swing states. I support the work done by the DA Taxation Task Force, and I support the urgent changes that are needed to the CARES Act so that Americans abroad have access to the aid available to others during the pandemic. Before moving to London with my family and working as a teacher, I ran a communications firm. I was the media director of the Commission on Presidential Debates, a media adviser at AmeriCorps, and a legislative aide in Congress. I would appreciate your vote.

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Jennifer Shore - Delegate candidate for Biden (EMEA)

This is one of the most important presidential elections of my lifetime. Now is the time for Democrats to unite with the common goal of getting our current president out of the White House. I would like to do whatever I can to elect Joe Biden. I want to make sure that everyone knows that he is the leader Americans need right now. This was very much the case before the global pandemic of Covid19, but it is even more clearly the case now. We need a leader that can show compassion, gravitas and restore honor to the office of the presidency. We need a leader that commands repect on the global stage, that knows how to do his job from day one and will unite Americans. We need Joe Biden. I would be honored to assist in the effort to get the democratic nominee elected and to energize other voters abroad to participate and elect the right man for the moment. I moved from NYC to Geneva, Switzerland with my husband and 2 boys in 2009. I have worked in the public and private sector and am a lifelong democrat.

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Anita Lang - Delegate (Biden) - EMEA (UK)

Why is this so late? I am a teacher and union leader and my students, their families, and my educators have needed me! In my union capacity, I lobby Congress at least four times per year, In person. I have lobbied on education related issues like racial and social justice, gun reform, school funding, fair pay, child nutrition, and mounting college debts. have dedicated much of my time and money to support anti-voter suppression campaigns and getting out the vote from 1st time voters. I will represent you and staunchly support the DA platform. I am a staunch advocate for military families, veterans, and women but continue to learn and push an anti-racist agenda. My photo, a hedgehog, represents cute and cuddly until you get in my way, then the spikes come out! I don’t shy away from a fight! Anita Lang

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Joy Wiersum, Delegate Candidate for Joe Biden

I am a Wisconsinite, the daughter of lifelong union members. I am a global citizen, a ten-year resident of the UK with a passion for exploring the world. Although my adult life has been shaped by internationalism, my values are American and rooted in progressive, Democratic principles. As a leadership and strategy consultant, I offer strong communication, influencing and advocacy skills. I am proven in my ability to collaborate with diverse stakeholder groups. I convey complex, and at times contentious, information in a forthright, authentic manner. As an American abroad, I apply these skills daily in my personal life, often explaining American politics, policies and people to those I meet. As a delegate, I will leverage tirelessly my networks in Wisconsin and globally to get out the vote. It would be an honour to support the nomination of and to campaign on behalf of our next President, Joe Biden.

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David Wagner - Delegate Candidate for Bernie Sanders (Asia-Pacific)

We need more than just a new president... we need a revolution! I am proud to join the fight for a fair and free America. We always knew it was possible, but it was the senator from Vermont who showed us how to get there. Almost all the obstacles standing in the way of our freedom can be traced to one problem: corporate influence over our elections. Let's put the health of our planet above the profits of corporations. Let's put an end to private prisons. Let's tell the insurance companies that the health of our citizens is more important than their bottom line! Let start treating every American like a human being. Senator Sanders taught us how to achieve all this, and I am looking forward to representing him at the convention.

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Barbara Wells - EMEA Delegate Candidate for VP Joe Biden (France)

I have been an educator for much of my adult life as I believe the future of our world depends on the education of our most precious asset, our young people. Faced with the threat of Trump undermining our democracy and the world order that the US helped to build, political engagement has become equally imperative. Primarily for the future of our children, I became more actively involved with Democrats Abroad, Strasbourg, where I have had the honor to serve first as Vice-Chair and, since March 2017, as Chair, supported by a wonderful team that has helped throughout these challenging times to keep our chapter active and growing, We have to win this election. Joe Biden has the qualities needed to heal the country and restore our democracy. I hope that you will give me the opportunity to support his campaign and a Democratic victory with your vote on

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John-Thor Dahlburg, DNC candidate pledged to Joe Biden

I’m John-Thor Dahlburg, an active ExCom member of the Toulouse Chapter of DA France. I’m a writer, educator and journalist—and Ied the editorial team that won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. My only goal: Democratic victory in 2020. We need to end the inept, corrupt Trump presidency. Trump’s lethal mishandling of COVID-19 emergency dramatically illustrates what’s at stake for our nation. With a win for Joe Biden in November, we have the opportunity to hit the reset button on critical economic, environmental and health care issues. I pledge my all to elect Joe and down-ticket Democrats whose No.1 priority is the health, safety and prosperity of all Americans. For Democrats, it’s also time to unite and renew old bonds with America’s working class, African-Americans, Hispanics, the LGBT community and women. We also need to revive and strengthen ties with our friends and allies abroad.

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Matthew Fellmeth, EMEA Delegate Candidate for V.P. Joe Biden (from Luxembourg)

I would be honored to represent Democrats Abroad at the DNC. Originally from Philadelphia, I've spent the last eight years living outside the U.S. During my time abroad, I've been inspired by governments around the world that work to uplift all their citizens. We need a president, like Joe Biden, who will fight for every American, and for the democratic ideals we all believe in – inclusion, humanity, and environmental responsibility. As a delegate, I will champion the Democrats Abroad platform: specifically, expansion of social welfare, healthcare, and international cooperation. At the DNC, I will work to build and strengthen our relationship within the party. I've joined a policy working group for the Biden Campaign, where I can contribute 10+ years of infrastructure experience to rebuilding America. This may be my first venture into political activism, but my goal is to be an active, long-term member of Democrats Abroad.

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Zachary Marcone (Graduate Student), Americas and EMEA Joe Biden Delegate

As an up and coming member of DA-China, I believe I would represent Joe’s ideas well. At the convention I will fight to ensure women are able to safely speak up against sexual assault. We have failed in this regard. In the past I raised large sums for the Democratic Coalition as a finance intern, verbally challenged Paul Ryan on CNN, and even flew to Alabama in the middle of my exam week to elect Doug Jones. I also worked to get Rep. Max Rose, an early Biden supporter, reelected to Congress. In China I became an active DA member enrolling dozens of people into DA. I was named a DA Star Volunteer for November 2019 and am now a lead organizer of DA China’s student outreach. As the Global Primary approached I got the vote out for Joe through a strong social media campaign across Facebook/WeChat. CNN Town Hall:

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Amy Schumacher-Rutherford, EMEA Delegate Candidate for Biden

Originally from the Midwest, I have remained passionate about helping people through political action since childhood. I currently live in Stavanger, Norway, and am finishing a PhD in political communication and MA in political science from the University of Kansas. I have traveled extensively throughout Europe and the Middle East, living for brief stints in Luxembourg, Kosovo, and Jordan. As your delegate, I will ardently advocate for those of us abroad. Voting rights and mobilization are particularly important to me; I hope to use this platform to both increase awareness of democratic participation from abroad and raise issues particular to us as expats. Electing Joe Biden is crucial to repairing both our nation and its relations with the countries where we presently reside, and I would be honored to represent you at the convention that nominates him.

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Gregory Dolezal - Delegate Candidate for Senator Sanders (Asia-Pacific)

Joining the convention has been a dream of mine for many years. Politics is my sports and this is the world series. As an Eagle Scout I carried the Louisiana flag at that GOP convention in 1988, which was when I started taking an interest in politics. I am an FDR Democrat with strong progressive views; however, I am also a loyal party member. As a Southern liberal I've learned to be a diplomatic facilitator to engage allies and opponents. I trained as a campaign manager with Hildebrand/Tewes and Democracy Partners in 2006 doing field and press for progressive unionist congressman, Phil Hare (IL 17). I volunteered with the GA and TN parties. I participate in progressive groups and serve as Secretary in Vietnam and on the Hispanic Caucus Steering Committee. I was Al Gore's teaching assistant and founded a Korean labor organization. I want to earn your vote.

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Heather Stewart -- LGBTQ+ Youth Delegate Candidate for Joe Biden

I am an American Democrat currently living abroad in Ontario, Canada, as I complete my PhD in Philosophy. I have been engaged in politics and activism since I was in high school. I remember lining up for hours to see Obama on the campaign trail for the 2008 election and immediately feeling inspired and pulled to be part of the process. As engaged as I have been, I recognize the responsibility on democrats to unite in the 2020 election to defeat the most dangerous president in US history and to protect our democracy. I am committed to being in the fight and doing everything I can. I also want to fight for particular issues I care about: health care access for all, eradicating student loan debt, LGBTQ+ justice, racial justice, criminal justice reform, and reproductive justice.

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Michaele de Rivera - EMEA AND GLOBAL DELEGATE CANDIDATE FOR JOE BIDEN

I have been a voting democrat my entire life, and resident of Guadalajara, Mexico for over 30 years. When DA opened chapter in Guadalajara, I was elected as MAL and became chapter chair for fundraising. In 2019 I was elected Vice-Chair for DA Mexico. I have a BA in Int. Business and have extensive business experience in communications as well as owner of various international businesses in Guadalajara and currently CEO of an Online Jewelry Business. My purpose has been to support the Democratic Party and to motivate the over 1.5 million American citizens in Mexico to vote in every election. Equally important to note I have been a Joe Biden supporter for many years even before it was popular.I have been active in GPP elections,GOTV,Member of Hispanic, Women's and LBGT caucuses. I want to make DNC and DA´s voice louder and more respected. #ICANMAKEADIFFERENCE

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Rob Smith Delegate Candidate UK for Joe Biden

Very simply put, I'm tired of seeing the current populist government destroying the USA and the world. Many Democrats view Joe Biden and Trump as the same. They aren't. It's time to get the progressive base to realize that Joe is the only candidate who can help rebuild America after the COVID-19 crisis. We need to bring back science and listening to expert opinions. No more thoughts and prayers but facts and logic. As a delegate I will do my best to unite the base and get out the vote!

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Gilbert Vansoi, Biden Delegate

Hello fellow Democrats Abroad members and Democratic electors. My name is Gilbert Vansoi. VAN like the truck, and SOI like the sauce. As an Asian gay naturalized US citizen, I have had the opportunity to experience the best and not-so-best of both the American and the French cultures, while living in Nouméa(New Caledonia), Paris, Libreville (Gabon), Tampa, Washington, Corpus Christi, Dallas, and now Carcassonne (France). As a graduate of the University of Florida and a lifelong member of the Democratic Party, I bring a unique perspective on the needs and challenges of an interconnected global community, to help us reclaim America’s leadership spot among the family of nations. Our country cannot afford another 4 years of divisive and irresponsible demagoguery, and neither can our fragile planet. Please vote for me GILBERT VANSOI to represent our next President of the United States of America, Vice-President Joseph Biden, at the Democrats Abroad Regional

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Nancy Opdyke - Delegate Candidate for Bernie Sanders

I have helped Democrats Abroad with the last 2 elections and will work to make this the year when a Democrat is again in the White House. The US deserves better, and the world needs to be able to look up to the US again.

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Krista Versteeg - Delegate Candidate for Joe Biden

I am excited to be a Delegate Candidate for Joe Biden and to support the Democratic Party in the 2020 election and beyond. I am an American living in Paris, hold a PhD in infectious diseases/microbiology, and currently work on international cooperation for infectious disease research. In these uncertain times, I am very aware of the importance of a strong decisive leader who works with technical experts in various disciplines to guide their country to safety. I value the role science plays in policy making for the future and I know that Joe Biden shares this value. I am excited for a positive change in US Leadership. Therefore, I pledge to support Joe Biden at the Democratic National Convention and in this year’s General Election and continue to work to ensure Americans overseas are always able to vote.

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