News

No Signs of Slowing Down in Victorian Democrats’  ‘Resistance Summer’

August 19, 2017

MELBOURNE—In preparation for the 2018 congressional mid-term elections, members of the Victorian chapter of Democrats Abroad Australia (DAA) met Saturday afternoon at The Kingston Hotel with a full agenda up for discussion. Fresh off a chapter protest of the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United v. FEC campaign-finance reform case, those in attendance were clearly motivated to continue resisting Republican policies and taking political activism to the next level as evidenced by the numerous members in attendance.

After taking a moment of silence for the victims of recent violence by white supremacists, Klansmen, and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, members descended into spirited dialogue on what local Democrats could do to continue the Party’s “summer resistance” to the Trump administration.

Thomas Lopez, the state chair, laid out a strategic vision for what actions the members should engage in to improve their chances of Democratic victories in next November’s elections.

"I’m not at all surprised that our members like Marybeth and Liz immediately volunteered to participate in leading the newly-created local task forces in addition to others wanting to contribute to the Women’s Caucus 2018 calendar creation of noteworthy women in American history. I am proud to work alongside Democrats in Victoria who are always prepared to step up when called upon," stated Mr. Lopez.

Among the key points stressed by Mr. Lopez was a reminder to have every American living locally to vote in all eligible upcoming U.S. elections, and the importance of the chapter doing everything possible to regain a Democratic majority in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Longer-term goals discussed by Lopez included fighting President Trump’s anti-American policies and continuing to urge federal legislators to enact residency-based taxation, and initiative which was well-received. Democrats Abroad encourages all members to review its “RBT Campaign In A Box” (http://bit.ly/2rgYUSY) to become familiar with this popular issue among Americans abroad.

Also discussed were the various initiatives currently undertaken by Democrats across the globe including effective communications with legislators and issues important to the U.S expatriate community.

The next meeting of the Victorian chapter is tentatively scheduled for mid-November, with a possible in-between date in a regional Victoria location in committing to member outreach outside of the greater Melbourne area. The dates, times and locations will be posted on the DAA-Victoria web site once confirmed, Lopez said.

###

Democrats Abroad is the official arm of the U.S. Democratic Party for Americans residing outside of U.S. states and territories. The Victoria chapter of Democrats Abroad Australia is an active and dedicated group of members that primarily focus on exercising their right to vote from abroad and electing Democratic candidates, in addition to raising awareness of and advocating for issues that concern Americans living abroad.


+

Welcome to the Democrats Abroad Victoria chapter!


Welcome to the Democrats Abroad Victoria Chapter!

The Victoria chapter is a dedicated group of Democrats living in Victoria.  We work with Democrats of all stripes to further the principals of the Democratic Party.

Be sure to visit the Events section for upcoming events in Victoria. Upon joining Democrats Abroad, you'll receive information about our Facebook group. Please join our facebook group at our Democrats Abroad Australia Victoria Chapter Facebook page.

New voting legislation requires that you register to vote every election. To register and request an absentee ballot, use the handy portal at www.votefromabroad.org, which outlines deadlines and requirements for each state. For answers to specific questions, it is best you contact your local Board of Elections. The US Consulates in Australia also have voter assistance - see http://canberra.usembassy.gov/voting.html

To see how you can help out with events and Get Out the Vote calling campaigns, contact the Chair, Thomas Lopez


+

Democrats Abroad Takes Firm Stance Against Citizens United

Members of DAA Victoria Chapter take a stand against Citizens United.

MELBOURNE – Thursday evening at the University of Melbourne Law School, the Victoria chapter of Democrats Abroad Australia (DAA) braved wet weather and chilly temperatures with an organized demonstration against the highly-controversial Citizens United v. FEC U.S. Supreme Court decision stemming from 2010. Chief Justice of the Court, John Roberts, who was visiting Melbourne, voted with the majority of justices in the 5-4 decision.

Local DAA members distributed literature and raised protest signs to illustrate everyday Americans’ displeasure with Mr. Roberts’ Citizens United vote and his support for the contentious “corporations are people” claim.

The 2010 decision allowed U.S. corporations and unions to contribute essentially unlimited amounts of money into American politics. As a result, money has flooded into federal campaigns and has given the top-earning 1 percent a significant financial advantage of political persuasion in reducing the influence of every day voters. This has also led to the rise of ‘SuperPACs’ which indirectly support one candidate while attacking the opposition thereby leading to an increased amount of negative discourse in federal elections.

With such a high-profile U.S. government official visiting Melbourne, DAA members ensured that their peaceful demonstration was felt on the street and sidewalks outside of the venue where Mr. Roberts was guest lecturing. Members had robust conversations with the public and attendees of the Roberts lecture, including a prominent political officer from the U.S. embassy in Canberra who was attending the lecture.

DAA Victoria Chairman, Thomas Lopez, led the local demonstration. “The Citizens United decision has only increased the political rift in the United States and inherently corrupts the system. The ruling should be overturned,” said Mr. Lopez when asked why he came to protest.
“Everyday Americans, even those living abroad, like me, are disgusted by the unlimited dark money flowing into U.S. elections. I came here to remind the Chief Justice that his vote to allow this assault on our democracy isn’t forgotten,” stated Michael Ramos, another local DAA member in attendance.

Chief Justice Roberts will reconvene the new session of the U.S. Supreme Court beginning in October.

###

Democrats Abroad is the official arm of the U.S. Democratic Party for Americans residing outside of U.S. states and territories. The Victoria chapter of DAA is an active and dedicated group of members that primarily focus on exercising their right to vote from abroad and electing Democratic candidates, and raising awareness of and advocating for issues that concern Americans living abroad.
+

Thomas Lopez elected Victorian Chapter Chair

Thomas___Ersie.jpg

 

Thomas Lopez speaking to members as outgoing leader Ersie Burke listens

 

At its annual general meeting, held on 25 June, the Victorian Chapter of Democrats Abroad Australia elected a new chair to continue the fight for everyday working-class Americans in the Trump era. Election officer Phil Kowalski declared a unanimous vote in favor of Thomas Lopez among all ballots cast.

 

Originally from California, Thomas is a US Army veteran and has lived in Australia since 2015. Those not previously familiar with the new chair had ample opportunity to ask questions and discuss how to become more involved with DA as members remained at the venue for several hours post-election.

 

“I look forward to working with each and every one of you to turn the tide against Trump’s terrible policies and his disastrous vision for America,” Thomas said. “With some hard work and dedication, we can take back the House in 2018.”

 

With Trump’s continuing controversial statements, racist policies, and conflicts of interest, Thomas’ comments are in line with the DNC’s recently launched Resistance Summer organizing initiative. There was also meaningful discussion between chapter members on ideas for upcoming meetings, activities, and the need to continue reaching out to Americans living in Victoria and encouraging them to vote from abroad.

 

The chapter’s meeting also marked a meaningful farewell to Ersie Burke and Chris Stueckle, the outgoing leaders from Melbourne who previously served DA both locally and as national officers. Despite having contributed countless hours of work on behalf of DA Australia, Ersie and Chris vowed to remain politically active and to support Thomas when they can.  

 

Democrats in Victoria were re-energized with motivation. Ersie confirmed her eagerness in hoping to see a renewal of political activism within the membership. “I'm so happy and relieved that someone as wonderful and enthusiastic as Thomas is the new Chair. He’s smart and savvy, a breath of fresh air. I know he’ll be an outstanding Chair,” she stated.

 

Thomas and the elected chairs from other Australian chapters will next join the national leadership as members of the executive committee. As Victoria’s sole representative to the executive committee, Thomas has stated that his priorities will include focusing efforts on getting members to exercise their right to vote in upcoming special elections, making preparations for the 2018 congressional mid-term elections, and working to make the Victorian chapter a place for all Democrats to come together and engage in sharing ideas.

 


DA Australia VIC (Melbourne)

Welcome to the Democrats Abroad Victoria (Melbourne) chapter!

Be sure to visit the Events section for upcoming events in Melbourne. Upon joining Democrats Abroad, you'll receive information about our Facebook group. Everyone is welcome to like our Democrats Abroad Australia Facebook page

New voting legislation requires that you register to vote every election.  To register and request an absentee ballot, use the handy portal at www.votefromabroad.org, which outlines deadlines and requirements for each state. For answers to specific questions, it is best you contact your local Board of Elections. The US Consulates in Australia also have voter assistance - see http://canberra.usembassy.gov/voting.html


To see how you can help out with events and Get Out the Vote calling campaigns, contact Ersie Burke.