Austria

Who We Are 

Democrats Abroad is the official arm of the Democratic Party representing Americans who live outside the US. Our mission is to to provide Americans living in Austria a voice in our government and to elect Democrats by mobilizing the overseas vote.

 

Our Caucuses

We have several active caucuses that focus on specific progressive issues/groups:

  • Black Caucus
  • LGBTQ+
  • Progressive Caucus
  • Solidarity Sundays
  • Women’s Caucus
  • Youth Caucus

 

Our Activities

These range from monthly get-togethers, lectures, panel discussions, film screenings, and guest speakers to political rallies and marches!  And more…

 

Are you an American in Austria? Become a DA member!

We keep you informed.

 

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DA Austria Leadership:

Richard Miller
Faith Herbold
| Vice Chair, Global Black Caucus Coordinator
Marcy Fowler
| Secretary, IT Coordinator
Joshua Friedman
| Counsel
See all Leaders


  • News

    May's Newsletter

    In May's Issue:

    Events:

    • Citizen Stripping
    • Candidate Townhall for EMEA Regional Vice Chair
    • AAPI Caucus and Hispanic Caucus: Meet the Candidates
    • 2021 Global Meeting & Elections
    • 2021 EMEA Regional Meeting & Elections
    • Expat Taxes 101: A Guide for Americans Abroad
    • ProDA: Biden Harris Progress Report #4
    • Solidarity Sundays: Moon Shot

    Issues & Actions:

    • A Message from the Chair
    • Upcoming Global & Regional Meeting
    • Vaccinated in America

    Reviews:

    • Solidarity Sundays

     

    Our Executive Committee meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month. Our next meeting will be held online on: Wednesday, May 12, 2021, at 7 p.m. Members are welcome to join us at the meetings. Please contact Richard at [email protected] to join.

    DAA is making a strong effort to include in our monthly newsletter all the information you need to stay up to date. By sending you fewer emails, we hope you will read those you receive. Thanks for reading!

     

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    Events:

    Citizenship Stripping

    When: Tuesday, May 4

    Time: 7-8:00 p.m.

    RSVP for the zoom link. Hosted by DA Spain

     

     

    Candidate Townhall for EMEA Regional Vice Chair

    When: Wednesday, May 5

    Time: 9-10:00 p.m.

    RSVP for the zoom link. Hosted by EMEA

     

    AAPI Caucus & Hispanic Caucus Meet the Candidates

    When: Thursday, May 6

    Time: 12-1:00 p.m.

    RSVP for the zoom link. Hosted by DA Germany, Berlin

     

    Expat Taxes 101: A Guide for Americans Abroad

    When: Thursday, May 20

    Time: 7-8:30 p.m.

    RSVP for the zoom link. Hosted by DA Austria

     

    ProDA: Biden-Harris Progress Report after 100 Days

    When: Thursday, May 20

    Time: 7-8:00 p.m.

    RSVP for the zoom link

     

    Solidarity Sundays:

    When: Sunday, May 30

    Time: 4-5:30 p.m.

    RSVP for the zoom link

     


    Issues & Actions:

    Message from the Chair

    When you’re part of an organization (and especially when you are the chair), it’s essential to have a good elevator pitch: You know, that 30-second explanation of what your organization is all about, presumably the one you tell someone in the time it takes to travel in an elevator (and in Austria, there aren’t too many long elevator rides).

    On a recent call with our outgoing global chair Julia Bryan, she put it like this: Democrats Abroad is the largest organization of civilian Americans outside the United States. We make sure overseas Americans know they can vote, make sure they know how, and make sure they know that their vote counts!

    It’s that last bit—the extent that our votes count—that I find the most compelling.

    So, get this: In 2020 approximately 1.8 million eligible American voters living abroad requested their ballot compared to 930,156 ballots received in 2016. We likely doubled our vote!

    The overseas vote was the margin of victory for Biden-Harris in Arizona (~19,500 votes from abroad), Georgia (~20,000 votes from abroad) and most likely Wisconsin (numbers still out, but Biden won by less than 1%, which we typically deliver). Our votes also helped tip the scales in the Georgia Senate race, leading to a run-off and a Democrat-controlled Senate.

    As I’ve heard Julia say on a number of occasions, “Hey folks, WE SAVED DEMOCRACY.”

    So when you're recruiting a new member to Democrats Abroad Austria this year (hey, how are you coming along with that?), you can try out that elevator pitch and be sure they know that our votes really do count!

    — Richard Miller, DA Austria Chair

     

     

    Upcoming 2021 Global & Regional Meetings

    The 2021 Global Meeting and EMEA Regional Meeting will take place exclusively online on the weekend of May 15–16. All DA members are welcome to attend the meetings. Please note that there are a few “meet the candidate” events listed under events above.

    The EMEA Regional Meeting will take place from 9–10am (CET) on Sunday, May 16. The only order of business is for the election of the 2021–2023 EMEA Regional Vice Chair. Former DA Austria Chair, Jen Rakow-Stepper, is one of five candidates running for the position.

    In order to accommodate participation from timezones from Fiji to Vancouver, the 2021 Global Meeting will be called to order at 3:30 a.m., Saturday, May 15 (CET) and adjourn at 10:00 a.m., Sunday, May 16.

    During the global meeting, DPCA (Democratic Party Committee Abroad) voting representatives elected at the county committee level (3 from Austria) will elect the Global Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, and Legal Counsel. These individuals will lead Democrats Abroad for the next two years, guiding and supporting all of our leaders, volunteers, and members around the world. Here is the link to the Officer Candidate list: DA 2021 International Officer Candidate List.pdf

    A draft agenda is available here. The agenda is tentative and subject to change. Attendance online will be possible throughout the meeting. Chairs, Vice Chairs, and DPCA Voting representatives of compliant country committees of Democrats Abroad may vote. You may register for the meeting here.

    Resolutions and changes to the DPCA ByLaws (Charter) will also be voted on at the meeting. Here is the list of charter amendments and list of resolutions which the DPCA body will discuss.

    — Jen Rakow-Stepper, DPCA Voting Representative

     

    Vaccinated in America

    Late in the afternoon on a recent Friday, my wife and I walked into one of the cavernous south halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Inside a room large enough for an airliner to be displayed in, we went straight up to one the FEMA staff managing the check-in process, confirmed our registrations, and then walked straight to an empty seat at one of the many vaccination stations. Less than 10 minutes after pulling into the parking lot, we had received our first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. For a lot of us living in Europe, this ease of access to vaccines seems like some kind of dream. From 8 in the morning until 7:30 in the evening, there are appointments available every 15 minutes—either on foot or in the new convenient drive-thru—making getting vaccinated even easier than getting married!

    On the reverse, to fly back to Austria we needed a negative COVID test. Not having symptoms, we found we had to pay at least $125 for a test, and most options would not return a result—even for antigen tests— any faster than 2 to 3 days. We ended up going to a small clinic which provided rapid antigen testing for the casino workers on the Strip and paying cash to get tested, while here in Austria we can get a PCR test result the same day for free via Alles gurgelt! at any BIPA location.

    In so many ways, the entire COVID vaccination and testing experience was a great reminder of both the strengths and weaknesses of the two countries I live my life between. The USA has a mammoth capacity for making huge quantities of virtually anything and then distributing it rapidly. Something which requires social responsibility and continued, thorough effort with no obvious immediate result, like widespread testing, is much more effectively done here in Austria.

    Back in Austria now, we’re happy to have been vaccinated and happy we could easily test upon our return to continue to stay safe!

    — Nathan Fowler, DAA IT Committee

     



    Reviews:

    Solidarity Sundays: For the People

    April 25, 2021

    Wherever Republicans control a chamber of the state legislature, bills to restrict voting are advancing fast: 361 bills and counting. Americans face a potential contraction of voting rights unlike anything in recent memory.

    The vehicle for Democratic pushback is the For the People Act. The pro-democracy bill would register voters automatically, end partisan gerrymandering, and make Election Day a federal holiday. Julia Bryan, Global Chair of Democrats Abroad, broke down how the legislation, called S1 in the Senate, could stop voter suppression in its tracks. But without changing the filibuster, it can‘t pass the Senate.

    Democrats Abroad is experimenting with different approaches to build momentum for S1. They are talking with legislators to suggest changes to the bill that address particular challenges overseas voters face. What, for instance, is the biggest reason votes from abroad don‘t get counted? People not receiving ballots in time or not getting them back in time. Prompt transmission of ballots is vital to us.

    After seeing how hard it was to vote from abroad in 2020, members are stepping up to help protect the vote. For one initiative, DA contacted members from New Jersey, where the Assembly is considering absentee voting legislation. They asked them to text their legislators to support changes that help us vote. The high number of people who answered DA’s call is inspiring similar initiatives.

    You can take action from home. Solidarity Sundays learned the nuts and bolts of emailing our senators — a quick, effective way to tell your senators to support S1 and reform the filibuster. Email yours in five minutes (find them here.) Want a copy of the Solidarity Sundays Guide on emailing senators? Contact us: [email protected]

    — Tanya Lolonis, Solidarity Sunday Co-Coordinator

     

    Thank you for reading May’s newsletter!

    read more

    April's Newsletter

     

    In This Issue– 

    Events:

    • Women's Caucus: Gender Equality with Professor Linda Scott
    • ProDA: Biden-Harris Progress Report after 100 Days
    • Vorarlberg Picnic Social
    • Solidarity Sundays: For The People

    2021 Annual General Meeting & Elections:

    • Election Results

    Issues & Actions:

    • Letter from the Chair
    • Open Caucus and Committee Positions
    • Introducing Jason Means
    • News from Solidarity Sundays
    • Heads up! Earth Day is April 22, 2021

    Reviews:  

    • Annual General Meeting
    • Filibuster or Bust!

     

    Having trouble viewing this email? You can read the newsletter online

    Our Executive Committee meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month. Our next meeting will be held online on: Wednesday, April 14, 2021, at 7 p.m. Members are welcome to join us at the meetings. Please contact Richard at [email protected] to join.

    DAA is making a strong effort to include in our monthly newsletter all the information you need to stay up to date. By sending you fewer emails, we hope you will read those you receive. Thanks for reading!

     

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    Events:

    Women's Caucus: Gender Equality with Professor Linda Scott

    Tuesday, April 13,  6-7 p.m. (CET) – Online

    RSVP for the zoom link

     

    Biden-Harris Progress Report after 100 Days

    Thursday, April 22, 7-8 p.m. (CET) – Online

    RSVP for the zoom link 

    SolSun: For The People

    Sunday, April 25, 4-6 p.m. (CET) – Online

    RSVP for the zoom link, then pour a

    glass of wine and join us in Paris

    DA Vorarlberg Picnic Social

    April 23, 5:00-8:30PM

    Vorarlberg (in-person)

     


    2021 AGM & Elections:

     

    New Democrats Abroad Austria Executive Committee Elected

    Due to Covid restrictions, the election of the 2021-23 DAA ExComm was conducted for the second time in an online-only format. To maximize opportunities for engagement in the electoral process, the Nominations and Elections Committee (NEC) issued multiple announcements soliciting nominations in the weeks before the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and ensured that members would have ample time to cast votes, beginning on March 7. Voting concluded during the March 21, 2021 AGM.  Although several qualified candidates stepped forward to serve on the ExComm, there were no contested races. 

    Congratulations to our new ExComm members: 

    Chair:  Richard Miller (73 votes), Vice Chair:  Faith Hall Herbold (71 votes), Treasurer: Diego Heatherman (70 votes), Secretary: Marcy Fowler (71 votes), Counsel: Josh Friedman (71 votes), Members-at-Large: Ted France (69 votes), Jacki Hafellner (66 votes), Tanya Lolonis (68 votes), Jennifer Rakow-Stepper (69 votes), Raina Saul-Ganev (69 votes), Sophie Spiegelberger (68 votes), DPCA Voting Representative: Jennifer Rakow-Stepper (72 votes)

     


     

    Issues & Actions:

    From the Chair

    Many of us look for outlets where we can volunteer our time, to help others and make a difference. I know I have, pouring coffee at soup kitchens, joining community spring clean-ups, raising money for good causes.

    But nothing quite compared to my time as a DA Super Volunteer (not an official title, I’m sure) in the run-up to the 2020 election. The energy I felt rallying overseas voters made me feel like I was personally working to save democracy, if not the planet! And that energy was amplified many times over by so many of you. Look at what we in Austria achieved!

    • In 2020, our 34 phone bankers had 11,904 conversations with members around the world - the 6th highest of all country committees!
    • With 65 active volunteers, DAA had one of the highest volunteer rates of any country committee.
    • Volunteers working at 17 in-person voter help tables registered and helped hundreds of Americans living in Graz, Linz, Salzburg, Vorarlberg, and Vienna to vote.
    • And finally, 391 Americans in Austria joined DAA in 2020 - our largest gain ever!

    As your Chair for the next two years, working alongside an amazing Executive Committee, we look to harness that same energy to set the stage and then get out of the vote for the midterm elections in 2022.

    But we need your help. If you have the time and desire, please consider sharing your talents and skills, whether to organize an event or recruit new members. Find out more about open positions below, "Open Caucus and Committee Positions."

    Let me end with a challenge! I would ask each one of you to commit to signing up at least one new member of DA Austria this year. I am going to start with my youngest son, Marco, who turns 18 on April 8. That’s one! Who will you approach?

    What makes me proud is to lead an organization with so many committed members. I cannot think of a more important way to volunteer than by being part of this great team and serving as chair of Democrats Abroad Austria.

    Democratically yours,

    Richard 

    Democrats Abroad Austria, Chair



    Open Caucus and Committee Positions

    We are searching for people to lead some of our caucuses, namely the Youth Caucus, AAPI Caucus, Hispanic Caucus, and LGBTQ+ Caucus. If you have questions about leading a caucus, reach out to our new Vice Chair, Faith Hall Herbold, who, with Jason Means, is co-coordinator of DAA’s Black Caucus. You can also read about all our volunteer positions here.

    — Richard Miller, DA Austria Chair



    Introducing Jason Means

    Global Black Caucus Austria would like to introduce Jason Means, who will serve as co-coordinator with Faith Herbold. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Jason moved to Austria in 2018. When he’s not working in international research funding at the University of Vienna, you can find him...on the couch, surrounded by plants and attempting to knit (a newly acquired lockdown skill)! Welcome to the team, Jason! Stay tuned for more information and events from the GBC!  



    Democrats Abroad Taxation Task Force Congressional Action

    The Taxation Task Force has published a Democrats Abroad statement submitted to the Senate Committee on Finance in relation to their March 25 hearing on “How U.S. International Tax Policy Impacts American Workers, Jobs, and Investment”.  You can download it here.

    Importantly, in our statement we join the other organisations advocating on behalf of Americans living abroad in asking for hearings on Americans abroad and the tax, financial account reporting, and other issues we deal with, as well as the implications of Residency-Based Taxation.

    Many DA members have messaged the Tax Task Force about the hearing, interested to know if we would make a statement.  

    Tax is an issue of perennial concern to Democrats Abroad members.  We ask you to read this post and share with friends, colleagues, and on your social media channels.  

    We are still looking for volunteers to help with some research in support of our advocacy work. If you would like to help, please contact us at [email protected].

    Many thanks and please send questions or comments to [email protected].

    — Carmelan Polce, Taxation Task Force Chair



    News from Solidarity Sundays

    For four years, Solidarity Sundays conducted our own civics course, analysing our political system and acting to fix it—one Sunday a month. 

    The pandemic pushed our community into cyberspace, but the challenge helped us to move from humble beginnings in Vienna‘s 7th District to global 😉 reach. Online, Solidarity Sundays draws participants and speakers from all corners of Austria, from Israel to California and from the UK to South Africa.

    Our co-founder, Juan, has relocated to Paris, where he now chairs the Paris Chapter of DA France (congratulations, Buddy!). On April 25 he will host Solidarity Sundays‘ first Parisian Edition. 

    At our last meet up, Bruce Murray spoke to us on how H.R. 1 passed the House with unanimous Democratic support. The bill is designed to take the burden off voters, and it’s a broadly popular bill. But Republicans have decided that anything that makes it easier for all people to vote is a nonstarter for them. Solidarity Sundays is building on Bruce‘s lead. At our April meeting, Ada Shen, former Chair, Democrats Abroad France, will discuss voter protection and the For The People Act in detail, and how we can help get it over the finish line.

    — Tanya Lolonis & Juan Cerda, Solidarity Sundays Co-coordinators

    Contact us!  [email protected]

    Heads up! Earth Day is April 22, 2021

    While you’re calling and writing to your representatives about the Environmental Justice for All Act, learning about the impact of industrial agriculture on the climate and food production, and not falling for fossil fuel industry greenwashing, we hope you will join us in celebrating Earth Day safely from wherever you are! Because we are spread across the globe, and subject to different covid restrictions, The Climate Action Team is curating a list of virtual Earth Day events for you to participate in. We have things that work for multiple time zones, and for various age groups. This list will be continually updated until Earth Day, so if you have a suggestion, please email it to [email protected] and we will consider adding it! Find all the Earth Day events here.

     


     

    Reviews:  

    2021 Annual General Meeting

    Forty-two members attended this year’s Annual General Meeting from all around Austria. They participated in a discussion about our plans to hold the House and Senate in 2022 and map out our priorities for 2021 in order to achieve this goal. Members went into breakout rooms for small group discussions and then reported back to the main group. Some of the themes touched on were ways to reach more Americans, increase membership, and raise funds to support our Get Out The Vote efforts in 2022. We also discussed how to build on our momentum with members outside of Vienna and keep them engaged when we return to in-person events. 

    Prior to the introduction of the 2021-2023 Executive Committee, the outgoing ExCom and Caucuses gave reports on their work over the past year. In her Chair’s Report, Jen noted that DA Austria once again had fantastic voter engagement numbers this year ranking 6th globally and had the highest volunteer rate of the 51 DA country committees. Marcy, in her Treasurer’s Report, discussed DAA’s strong financial position thanks to an increase in sustaining donors and generous donations. She also reported on how the funds raised were put to good use to enhance our voter engagement efforts. 

    Special guest speaker, Julia Bryan, Democrats Abroad Global Chair, spoke to us about how DA was the margin of victory in key states, like Georgia, in 2020. Her presentation also focused on legislative outreach to counteract voter suppression efforts at the state level. Please get in touch with her if you’d like to help in this effort at [email protected]

    Thanks to everyone who attended! As promised, you will receive an invitation for a wine tasting event as soon as we’re able to hold in-person events again.

    — Jen Rakow-Stepper, 2017-2021 DAA Chair



    Solidarity Sundays: Filibuster or Bust

    March 28, 2021

    Americans want gun control, money out of politics, and action on climate. Why doesn't Congress act on the people's priorities? Are there any levers to break the gridlock? 

    There's one. Every bill passes through the Senate on its way to becoming law. And a single Senate rule lets a minority of senators block the will of the nation.

    The filibuster, a parliamentary procedure, was an innovation by southern senators to protect slavery. It has been used to prevent anything from legislation to nominations from being brought to a vote unless three-fifths of senators (60 of 100) vote to move forward. This means a minority of 41 senators can prevent bills they don’t like from ever getting a vote.

    Eliminating (or reforming) the filibuster only needs a simple majority of senators (51) to change the rules. However, a small group of Senate Democrats remains reluctant to eliminate this anti-democratic feature of our political system once and for all. Got 5 minutes to help democracy? (Heck, it's lockdown, of course you've got 5 minutes!) Help your senators do the right thing. Tell them to end the filibuster and fix the Senate. Find and email them here.

    Budget reconciliation is exempt from the supermajority requirement, which is why Biden's American Rescue Plan passed with only 51 Senate votes. It sends economic assistance directly to families, workers, and small businesses. Hunter Christopher says one feature is poised to make it the biggest anti-poverty act since The New Deal.

    Currently, the partially-refundable Child Tax Credit helps families by reducing their income tax liability. The Rescue Plan takes the transformative step of making the credit fully refundable. 

    Why does refundability matter? It can now be paid to working families who don‘t earn enough to pay federal income tax. And monthly installments begin this summer—no waiting until tax season. 

    Economists expect this to reduce child poverty in America by 45 percent. Elections have consequences. Solidarity Sundays thanks you for being a voter.

    — Tanya Lolonis, Solidarity Sundays Co-coordinator

    For slides from the meet-up:  [email protected]



    Thank you for reading April’s newsletter!

     

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    Upcoming Events

    Thursday, May 20, 2021 at 07:00 PM Vienna Time · 10 rsvps
    Online in Vienna, Austria

    Expat Taxes 101: A Guide for Americans Abroad

    June 15 is the tax filing deadline for US citizens living abroad. Join Democrats Abroad Austria as we host a tax webinar featuring two experts: 

    Nathalie Goldstein, Founder & CEO, MyExpatTaxes 

    Katelynn Minott, Managing CPA and Partner, Bright!Tax

    They will cover the basics of tax filing and take your questions!

     

    WHEN: Thursday, May 20 at 7pm CET

    DURATION: 90 minutes

    WHERE: Zoom call

    RSVP today! Once you RSVP, you’ll receive an email with the access details prior to the call.

     

    This webinar is for you if:

    • you just moved to another country from the US and you're unsure of your tax obligations
    • you have questions regarding the stimulus check
    • you haven't filed for years
    • you've filed for years but you're not sure if you're doing it right, or
    • you've filed every year but you've wanted a straightforward answer for a specific issue

     

    To attend, we kindly ask for your support by making a $10 donation to Democrats Abroad ($5 for retirees and students). The money we raise will support our global effort to get out of the vote for the 2022 midterm elections!  Please donate here!

     

    Thank you for your support - we look forward to you joining the webinar!

    IMPORTANT:  Democrats Abroad does not provide personal tax advice or recommendations.  We recommend that you engage a qualified, professional tax adviser to address questions related to your personal financial situation.

    RSVP today!

    Thursday, May 20, 2021 at 07:00 PM Vienna Time · 23 rsvps
    Online in Vienna, Austria

    Biden-Harris Progress Report #4: Four Crises, Four Plans, One Goal!

    Four crises, four plans, one goal! On the heels of its success with the American Rescue Plan, the Biden-Harris Administration has proposed the American Jobs Plan, Made in America Tax Plan, and American Families Plan. The goal is to ensure a sustainable thriving economy with benefits for all. Join us to learn more about each, consider their strengths and weaknesses, and contemplate their chances of passage. proDA and DA Germany Climate Caucus members will offer information provocatively to stimulate our open discussion. It promises to be a memorable experience!

    Please rsvp to receive the Zoom link.