Meet the Lyon 2021 Leadership Candidates

The nominations period for the Lyon Chapter Leadership Elections has now closed. The candidates for Lyon Chapter Leadership are listed below.

All members of Democrats Abroad France Lyon Chapter may vote in the Lyon Chapter Leadership elections. Due to restrictions imposed by the coronavirus, all voting will take place on line.  Members will be sent a link to their ballots by an email coming soon.

You can meet the candidates, hear them speak and ask them questions, at the DA Lyon Chapter Annual General Meeting on Thursday, March 4th at 7 p.m. to be held via Zoom. Voting will close on March 4, 2021.

See bottom of this page for chapter leadership position descriptions.

Candidates for Chapter Chair

 

Name: Dori Laboune

Position: Chapter Chair

My name is Dori LABOUNE. I'm a progressive democrat running for chair of the Lyon chapter. I joined the board as a member at large at the inception of our chapter in 2017. I volunteered for the Bernie Sanders primary campaign where our Lyon group made over 100,000 voter contacts. I'm particularly motivated by medicare for all, addressing climate change, and making sure workers can live a dignified life at a fair wage.

In the US, I worked for 20 years as a Certified Spanish Court Interpreter in the Oregon court system. I have lived in Lyon for over a decade with my French spouse, where I currently work as a home health nurse's aide. If elected, I can bring a working woman's point of view to the national executive committee, at a time when our party needs to fortify support among blue collar workers.

As chair I would like to work towards making our chapter:

-more bottom up in its organization

-streamline processes in order to make participation for working people and young people feasible

-improve communications with members

-facilitate meaningful political engagement, outside of voter mobilization efforts

Name: Diane Sklar

Position: Chapter Chair

I’m a technology worker from New York who came to Lyon in 2015 after a career as a software product manager.  Here in Lyon, I teach business subjects and English at various schools around town.  When the 2016 election happened. I was shaken to the core and needed to mobilize.  I’m so grateful to have found kindred souls in Democrats Abroad.  It is a community of forward-thinking Americans looking to make our country live up to its potential. 

Collaborating with others is the key to success in a volunteer organization like ours and our events have drawn on the strengths and interests of our diverse members.  Members can feel marginalized by age, gender, race or income level.  As Chapter Chair, I will continue to make sure that all members in the Lyon region feel welcome at the table and have a voice in the conversation about what we do as a chapter.   I also encourage our members to work at the global level of our organization, such as joining specialized caucuses and helping to write the planks that are incorporated into the official Democratic party platform.  

I am one of the founding members of Democrats Abroad Lyon.  I have been DA Lyon's Treasurer, Vice Chair and Chair.  I am also on DA’s global IT team.  I’ve helped plan and have attended almost all the cultural and activist events the Lyon chapter has held since its creation.  I've worked with local authorities to secure permits for demonstrations and leveraged all DA's IT tools for communications and membership tracking.  I've presented Linguists and Politics, Racial Bias, inspirational poetry and presidential trivia at our events.  During the last election cycle, I took DA France's spokesperson training and I represented our organization in the press and on tv.  

My 2018-2020 term as Chapter Chair was nail-biting and there was plenty of motivation to work hard.  Like many of us, I was sometimes disappointed that our party did not make bolder choices during the presidential campaign, but the 2020 election culminated in the inspiring inauguration of Joe Biden, a decent man.  Our challenge for the next four years is to stay engaged.  The 2022 midterm elections are around the corner and we must gain ground in the House and the Senate.  As Democrats living in Europe, we tend to be more progressive than party members at home.  We are not frightened by the word ‘socialism”.  Our work in the coming years is to keep the progressive agenda moving forward on the home front - turning red states to blue, expanding voter rights and being vigilant that the party always leans left.  We need to be vocal and stay in touch with our elected officials to make sure they know we are watching them and that we expect change.

 

Candidate for Chapter Vice Chair

Name: Catherine Coolidge

Position: Chapter Vice Chair

 

I have been living in France for 45 years although I was born and bred in Anchorage, Alaska, which is where my 3 adult children and I vote. I have been a member of the Lyon chapter of DA since its founding and am currently running for the position of Chapter Vice Chair.

When I was growing up, Alaskans were either adventurers or military. The late 1960’s oil boom with its $ 900m windfall forever changed this sleepy, forgotten state—suddenly big money was everywhere, job-seekers arrived in droves, conservationists were pitted against developers, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act was signed into law and the Alaska Permanent Fund ($64.7bn in 2020) was set up to manage investments and distribute dividends to qualified residents, in order to make sure future generations of Alaskans would continue to benefit even if oil resources ran out.

After college, I came to France and married a wine maker, then moved to Lyon to teach English in various business schools and art schools for 26 years. Today, I am a contented retiree.

The essential issues for me are women’s rights, first people’s rights, environmental policies and climate change as well as universal healthcare. I enjoy writing regularly to my Congressional representatives!

Candidate for Chapter Treasurer

Name: John Matthews

Position: Treasurer

Boulder, Colorado is my voting home. I was born in The Hague, Netherlands. My father was a diplomat and so we moved around quite a bit, living in Sicily, Switzerland, Spain, Mexico, Egypt, and Washington, DC. I studied Civil and Architectural engineering at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Moving around seems to be in my blood and as an adult I've additionally lived in Australia, Germany, and now France. I speak German and French. I am a self-employed software engineer specialized in computer aided design for engineering.

I’ve voted in every election since turning 18 in 1972, when McGovern lost miserably to Nixon.

I joined the Board shortly after the Lyon chapter was formed in the wake of Donald Trump's election, first as a member-at-large and now as treasurer. We worked hard to engage new members to join us in the fight to overturn the disastrous policies of the administration and the Republican-controlled congress. Our focus last year was on the 2020 elections and turning both the Presidency and the Senate blue, and we were successful in both areas.

Now is our chance to move forward with a progressive agenda and there is a lot of work to be done: health care as a right, racial equality, affordable higher education, fighting global warming, protecting the environment, and protecting the citizenry from dangerous chemicals, making voting easier, respecting indigenous peoples’ treaties and rights and treating them with the respect and dignity they deserve…these are some of the causes that I believe in.

We overseas citizens can offer ideas to our leaders back home with our experiences here, particularly in the fields of heath care and education. These should be regarded as citizen services and not profit centers for hedge funds. We are also concerned with unfair treatment in areas such as income taxes, foreign bank account reporting requirements, and not being counted in the census.

I am looking forward to continuing to help wherever I can.

Candidate for Chapter Secretary

Kelly A. Blunt

Position: Secretary

 

I consider my US home to be Portland, Oregon (which is where I am registered to vote) after an accumulated 24 years there, but I grew up in Southern California, and have lived in North Carolina, Chicago, Minneapolis and Boston. I was proud to be able to vote for Jimmy Carter in 1976 as a 19-year-old, after the law changed the voting age from 21.

I have lived in France for over four years, and have called Lyon home for the majority of that time. As I watched my friends commit to becoming more politically engaged after the 2016 election debacle, I was pleased to discover the Democrats Abroad Chapter in Lyon. I joined the Board as Secretary two years ago, and really feel lucky to have had the opportunity to be involved during these critical years. The GPP (Global Presidential Primary) that we held here was a highlight for me - so great to see how excited people were to be able to vote in person. 

Before DA, I have had Board experience in two non-profit organizations in Portland, including holding the offices of secretary (twice), treasurer, and president.

Candidate for Chapter Communications Coordinator

Julia Wittman

Chapter Communications Coordinator

 

My name is Julia Wittman, I am an American who has lived in France for almost 10 years now. I am deeply interested in racial and social equality, trans rights, climate change, medicare for all among many others! Although I do not consider myself to be a "democrat" per se, I am a leftist and would like to contribute a different point of view of the pressing social issues we face and fight.

Candidates for Members-at-Large

Camille Canter

Member-at-Large

 

Originally from Seattle, I grew up in a bilingual household with a French mother and American father. I came to France for the first time in 2017 and after getting my masters in Sociology settled in Lyon in the summer of 2019. I would like to be a DA Lyon member-at-large in order to deepen my involvement in US politics from France, and to further progressive causes; for example, my experience navigating both the french and US healthcare systems has made me realise the necessity of a Medicare for all. I am a member of a worker-owned cooperative, the Bieristan in Villeurbanne, and am passionate about democratic processes and labor.

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Jo Hayes

Member-at-Large

 

I am a university student and worker from Iowa and have lived in Lyon, France for the past three years. I volunteered with Our Revolution France and France for Bernie over the past year and this experience helped me see the importance of actively participating in US politics from abroad. The activities included taking part in events, text-banking, and getting the word out about caucusing and voting from abroad to US citizens living in Lyon. As a member of the chapter, I hope to continue encouraging other Americans to get involved and use my experience in France to show the value of applying progressive policies.

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Dirk Larsen

Member-at-Large

 

 I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and have lived in Lyon for nearly five years. My first experience with the Democratic Party was volunteering for the Dukakis campaign in 1988, when I was too young to vote, and I joined DA Lyon when it was founded shortly after the 2016 election. My politics run from center to far left, depending on the issue and perhaps time of day, and I am always willing to listen to a diverging viewpoint expressed reasonably. I am a California-licensed attorney and also have experience in teaching, translation and project management.

I am a candidate for Member-at-Large because, in the last four years, I have seen how the grassroots efforts of millions throughout the U.S. and around the world truly made a difference at the ballot box. And, while Trump is now out of office, he is not gone, nor is the danger he and his cult pose to stability, democracy and the environment. I therefore wish to do my part to maintain and even increase the enthusiasm and momentum that have resulted in a governing Democratic majority, and to promote progressive policies that reflect the will of the actual majority, as we all face unprecedented challenges on a global scale.

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Christopher Lyon

Position: Member-at-Large

My name is Christopher Lyon and I am a US Citizen living in Echalas, France. I am interested in submitting my candidacy for Member at Large for Democrats Abroad in France. Having been an expat for the last 20 years, I know and understand the frustrations of feeling left out, not being a part of something greater. I grew up in Miami and attended Morris Brown College, an HBCU in Atlanta, Georgia. I graduated with a B.A in political Science and over the last 20 years, I have lived in China, Niger, Guinea, Conakry, South Africa and now, I have settled in France. I am married to a French national and have 2 beautiful children.

My political life began in college where I became involved with student government and organizational leadership. I worked my first political campaign in 1996, with Clinton/ Gore, the in 2000, Miami, as a canvasser for Gore, Lieberman and finally in 2004, I was executive director of America Coming Together for South Florida and co-founder of the Caribbean Power Vote. That was my last foray in politics, after which I took an opportunity to work in Mineral exploration between China and West Africa.

Politics has been the cornerstone of my professional career. Working with communities and governments from around the world is something that I have done throughout. Now, I think it's time to step back in the political arena and use the knowledge and understanding the has been taught to me to support a cause that has been at the core of my belief, democracy.

The last 4 years have been a threat to democracy, not just at home, but on a global scale and the threat still exist. I believe my understanding of GOTV campaigns, diplomacy and the ability to feel empathy, will be an asset to the Democrats Abroad and can have an influence on both Democrats at home and Democracy as a whole. I would like to opportunity to use my knowledge to provide support to this organization and its cause.

Thank you for this opportunity. And I look forward to meeting you.

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Name: Eva Moynihan

Position: Member-at-large

 

My name is Eva Moynihan and I am running for the Member-at-large position.
 
I'm originally from the California Bay Area and enjoy telling French people that I'm from the place that makes the best wines in the world. I've been living in Lyon for almost 3 years, because it's my favorite city in France. I have a degree in International Relations and now I teach English to French people online.
 
I moved to France in 2013, after graduating from college. I had a series of jobs for banks in Luxembourg, which brought me to Eastern France (Metz). I felt pretty homesick, which was my original motivation for joining the Luxembourg branch of Democrats Abroad.
 
I was a Member-at-Large for 2 years and then Vice-Chair in Luxembourg. Among other things, I did phone-banking and debated against Republicans Overseas before the 2016 elections. I joined the Lyon Chapter after moving here, and served a term as Member-at-large, helping to organize and run our social events and get-out-the-vote activities.
 
I'm running again because I want to contribute in my own small way to our country. And also because I really enjoy meeting other Americans and the interesting political discussions we have. Thank you for your consideration !

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Name: Claudia Quiros

Position: Member-at-large

 

My name is Claudia Quiros and I would like to run to reprise my position as Member-At-Large for the board of Democrats Abroad Lyon. The way I see it, now that the Democrats control the House, Senate and White House is the moment to push harder than ever for progressive policies that will drastically change the lives of working people in our country. I have been active in Democrats Abroad as well as Our Revolution France since 2017, and the France for Bernie campaign in 2020.  Getting Trump out of office was only the first step towards transformative change, and this global health crisis has only illuminated where our current systems are failing us. There’s so much work to do, even from abroad, and I’m ready to do it!

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Lindsey Robrecht

Member-at-Large

As a resident of France for almost 9 collective years, I love the idea of staying connected to my home country while still acting locally in my adopted community. I would like to use my bilingual French skills as well as my contacts in the international education field to GOTV, further progressive ideas, and help everyone who lives in France have a better understanding of American politics. I previously served on the DA Lyon board from its beginning in 2016 until 2018, when I stepped down to have a baby. I would love to have the opportunity to serve again. Thanks for reading. 

 

LEADERSHIP POSITION DESCRIPTIONS

CHAPTER CHAIR

  • Calls meetings (unusually one per month);
  • Presides at all meetings using Roberts Rules of Order;
  • Establishes the agenda of such meetings; 
  • Is responsible for implementing the programs, policies, and activities duly approved by leadership;

The Chapter Chair is a voting member of the DA France Executive Committee and should attend the monthly WebEx meetings or designate someone else to carry the proxy.

The Chapter Chair can also attend EMEA WebEx meetings once a month and EMEA regional meetings, if possible.

The Chair needs good computer skills and ability to use various platforms. (Training is offered to newcomers.) The most frequently used platforms include NationBuilder, WebEx, Zoom, Google Docs, Facebook and Twitter.

CHAPTER VICE-CHAIR

The Chapter Vice-Chair assists and supports the Chapter Chair in the execution of the Chapter Chair’s duties. In the absence of the Chapter Chair, the Vice-Chair assumes the Chair’s duties. 

CHAPTER TREASURER  

The Chapter Treasurer manages the finances of the chapter and coordinates with the DA France Country Treasurer to ensure the chapter’s finances are in order.  Financial reports are sent to the DAF Treasurer as needed.  

CHAPTER SECRETARY

The Chapter Secretary takes minutes of Chapter Executive Committee meetings and all Annual General and Special Meetings of the chapter members. 

Candidates for this roles should have experience with (or be willing to learn) tools such as MS Office, Google Docs, WebEx, etc., and, optionally, technology such as the NationBuilder membership database.

CHAPTER COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR

The Chapter Communications Coordinator manages the chapter's presence on Facebook, Instagram and other social media.  This involves pushing out information about local and global events to our local membership.  Some of the content is made available by Democrats Abroad France and some is home-grown.  In addition, the Communications Coordinator may speak to local press, radio and television about global events.  

Member-at-large

This post is suitable for volunteers with various skills, interests and availability to help realize the goals of the chapter.

This could include skills such as translating documents into French, helping to develop and organize events (social, political, cultural) to build membership, phone-banking members during election campaigns and assisting with social media.