News

Geneva Pride Celebration 2019

Join the Genevois for the 2019 Pride week celebration featuring numerous events including a parade on Saturday, July 6! For more information, go to genevapride.ch.

Note: This is not a DACH-sponsored event, but may be of interest to our members.


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Zurich Chapter Invites Committee Nominations

Zurich - Wasserkirche by night by Lukas Schlagenhauf, on Flickr
Zurich - Wasserkirche by night by Lukas Schlagenhauf, on Flickr

The Zurich Chapter of DA Switzerland will hold its Annual Chapter Meeting on Saturday June 22, when we’ll elect our new Chapter Committee. We seek candidates to stand for the four committee positions of Chair, Vice-chair, Secretary and Treasurer.

DA Switzerland and the Zurich Chapter have a long history of helping many Americans vote from abroad, working to build a broad member base, and hosting different events to increase community and socio-political knowledge among Americans in the Zurich region.

Let’s continue this journey together as an active chapter. There will be plenty of opportunities for any member to get involved over the course of this year and the 2020 Presidential Election year. If you are motivated to take a leadership role in getting out the American vote in Swiss Germany, please consider running for a Chapter office! Details about the Annual Chapter Meeting with elections will be announced ASAP.

The four committee positions are described below. Each officer is elected for a two-year term. To nominate yourself or someone else, please write the Zurich Chapter Nominations Committee at zurich-elections@democrats.ch. Include the name, address, telephone number and email address of the candidate, plus the position desired and a brief statement of intent. Nominations should arrive by end of Saturday, June 1st and will be publicized the first week of June; later nominations will be less publicized to voters.

If you are interested in volunteering now but not in seeking a position, please don’t hesitate, contact Liz Voss, DA Switzerland Secretary at secretary@democrats.ch.

 

ZURICH CHAPTER COMMITTEE ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES:

CHAIR

  • Lead, mobilize, and encourage current and new Zurich chapter members
  • Oversee and coordinate the business functions of the chapter
  • Report as necessary to the national committee
  • Ensure that the core work of the Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer is accomplished
  • Create & appoint other positions as necessary for effective functioning of the chapter
  • Represent DACH-Zurich as a member of the DACH Executive Committee (ExCom), and report to the ExCom on chapter activities
  • Hold regular meetings, direct the activities of DACH in this region of Switzerland and keep members informed about activities and events
  • Contribute to DACH fundraising and ensure all activities are conducted in compliance with FEC and campaign finance laws, as established by the ExCom
  • Coordinate with other leaders & volunteers to assist the event managing & fundraising activities of the chapter
  • Coordinate with DACH GOTV for membership and voter outreach in the Swiss regions where no chapter is yet established.

VICE-CHAIR

  • Assist the Chair in all Zurich chapter activities
  • Partner with the Chair to take on some of his/her responsibilities
  • Work with the Chair, leadership team, and volunteers to assist the event managing & fundraising activities of the Chapter
  • Substitute for the Chair when needed
  • Attend DACH ExCom meetings in the absence of the Chair
  • Participate in key discussions and decisions as part of the Leadership Team.

SECRETARY

  • Distribute meeting agendas, take minutes of all meetings and distribute to the Chapter Committee and DACH ExCom
  • Maintain files and administrative records of the chapter (Google Drive)
  • Manage and maintain the Zurich Chapter membership and volunteer lists in coordination with the DACH Secretary. This may require training on the DA database
  • In collaboration with event organizers and any respective committee members, ensure event publicity (social media, DACH website, print, etc)
  • Work to boost DACH Zurich’s social media presence in collaboration with appropriate committee members or event organizers
  • Participate in key discussions and decisions as part of the leadership team
  • Assist the leadership team and chapter volunteers in event managing & fundraising activities.

TREASURER

  • Manage the cash needs DA Zurich in agreement with the Zurich Chair and the DACH Ex-Com Treasurer
  • Maintain accurate financial records and make financial reports as required
  • Ensure all financial matters conform to local rules and regulations as well as to those of the FEC and campaign finance laws of the United States
  • Educate the Zurich chapter members on financial compliance guidance for Democrats Abroad
  • Participate in key discussions and decisions as part of the leadership team
  • Assist the leadership team and chapter volunteers in event managing & fundraising activities.

To nominate, or for further information, write zurich-elections@democrats.ch.

 


Nominees for Geneva Chapter Committee 2019-2021

On April 1 the Geneva Chapter's Nominations Committee issued a call for candidates to serve on the new Chapter Committee. We are now pleased to announce the nominees as listed below. At the Annual Chapter Meeting elections on May 7, further nominations will be accepted from the floor, and encouraged for the open secretary and treasurer positions. We invite all Geneva/Vaud members of DA to attend the annual meeting, meet the nominees and vote, and plan for the coming two years and presidential election with the new committee.

Candidates are listed here according to office, in the same order the offices will be elected at the ACM.

Nominated Candidates

Office: Chair (1)

  • LAURA MESSENGER

Two years ago, I was asked to take the leadership of the new Geneva chapter of Democrats Abroad Switzerland. I must admit, I did so with some reluctance – although I, like so many other Americans, felt compelled to get more involved in civic activities after the 2016 presidential elections, I wondered if I was the right person to be in charge of such an important undertaking. And then I realized that it was not an undertaking I would assume alone. I was right. Together, all of us, the many dedicated people who volunteered their time, talents and money, helped bring the Geneva chapter to fruition, with special events, speakers, book group discussions, voter registration drives, and meetups where we just sat and talked.

Now as we begin the next two years of existence as a formal chapter, we’re looking toward another presidential election, one in which we have the chance to correct the grave injustices that have been brought upon our country by a man that I believe to be the worst president in American history. We in Democrats Abroad have an important part to play in that decision, and we need to make our voices heard. I ask you to give me a chance to help in that mission by electing me for a second term as chair of the DACH Geneva chapter.

Over the last two years, we have been able as a chapter to build a sense of camaraderie and connection to the elections and other issues impacting us as Americans and have worked diligently as part of the country and global DA committees to educate voters abroad of their rights to vote while living outside the country. We will continue to do so in the lead up to November 2020 by continuing to reach out to potential members, to raise funds for use in global primaries and voter registration, and to encourage current members to stay connected to the process through attendance at local and national events and membership in one or more of the DA caucus groups. Our efforts paid off handsomely in 2018. Together, we can do the same in 2020.

 

Office: Vice-Chair (1)

  • NATHALIE GONS

The harsh wake-up call of 2016 has driven home that we cannot take anything for granted. I never thought I would see our democracy as fragile and battered as we see it now. Living in Geneva made me unsure about what I can do from afar, until I discovered Democrats Abroad. DA has helped me connect with other Americans, stay more deeply informed about the realities and issues that our country faces, and inspired me to act from abroad. Collectively, Americans who vote from abroad can make a real difference!

I personally really appreciate our book club, where we help each other critically examine and articulate ever more clearly what we stand for and why it matters now more than ever, so that we can reach out here and back home to our communities and make our case.

As Vice-Chair for the Geneva Chapter, I look forward to supporting our Chair in organizing events that keep us informed and connected with other concerned citizens, and that keep us actively engaged in our political processes.

 

Office: Secretary (No nominee)

Office: Treasurer (No nominee)

 

The Nominations Committee thanks those engaged members who have stepped up to serve, and hopes to see a large gathering at the election meeting on May 7. For any questions, comments or to nominate yourself or someone else, please write the Committee at geneva-elections@democrats.ch.

 


Elections for 2019 DA Switzerland Executive Committee

Published Nominations for the nine elected positions on the 2019-2021 Executive Committee (ExCom) of Democrats Abroad Switzerland, and for the three elected DPCA Voting Representative positions, closed on Sunday March 3. Listed below are the nominated candidates. All offices will be elected on Sunday April 7 at the DA Switzerland Annual General Meeting. At that meeting, additional nominations will be allowed from the floor. All candidates will be given time for a brief statement to the members.

Candidates below are listed according to office, in the same order the offices will be elected at the AGM. Within each office, candidates appear alphabetically by last name, showing their city of residence and their statements. In the interest of readability, we display here only the candidates' names. Click the office title to see their full statements on the pages that follow.

 

Nominated Candidates

Office: Chair (1)

  • Kelli Brouillet (Basel)

Office: Vice-Chair (2)

  • Farid ben Amor (Geneva)
  • Vance A. White (Buus, Basel region)

Office: Secretary (1)

  • Elizabeth Voss (Basel)

Office: Treasurer (1)

  • Meli Hughes (Basel)

Office: Counsel

  • (No Nominations)

Office: Member-at-Large – Communications and Media (1)

  • Lyndsay Obbarius Grieder (Basel)

Office: Member-at-Large – undesignated (3 positions)

  • (No Nominations)

Office: Voting Representative to the DPCA (3 positions)

  • (No Nominations)

 

Voting Method

Americans who are DA members as of Friday April 5th may vote. Please register at the online form here to indicate your attendance at the AGM. You may vote in one of the following ways:

  • In-person voting: Printed ballots will be distributed at the meeting.

    If you cannot participate in person, a second possibility is available:
  • Vote by proxy: Request a proxy form from elections@democrats.ch. Send a copy of your completed and signed proxy form to us by April 5th, and give it to your chosen attending proxy member before the AGM. Any voter at the meeting may hold at most two proxies.

 

Election Process

At the meeting, the twelve offices will be elected one by one, in the order shown above. Nominations for office may be made from the floor, as write-in candidates. This includes listed candidates who did not win their announced race. All candidates will be given two minutes to address the members. Voting by advance ballot will not be available.

This election process aligns with that used at DA international meetings. Voters will be able to meet and hear the candidates in person, before choosing.


Office: Chair

The Candidates

 

Kelli Brouillet (Basel)

BIO: I’m a Washington State voter that grew up in Maine and has lived in Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and Texas. My husband and I have spent 3 to 5 months in places like China, Thailand, Singapore, Abu Dhabi and India, where I voted from in the last primary. I have been in Basel for almost 3 years, most of that heavily involved with Democrats Abroad.

My original degree is in Public Administration and in my 40’s I went back to school to become an RN. I worked in hospitals in Emergency, Telemetry, Critical Care and Neuro units in WA and TX. This background has honed my communication and prioritization skills. I spent many years coaching creative problem solving teams with children grades 3 through high school, which taught me much about teamwork. This was invaluable in my nursing career as well.

STATEMENT: I have spent the last 2 years as Chair in Basel. We are very proud in Basel of our creative team that has built a broad member base, registered many voters for mid-term and special elections and hosted a large number of varied events to enhance socio-political knowledge and foster a sense of community in our group and with our fellow members of Democrats Abroad.

My passion and strength is teamwork. I’d like to bring those skills to help all members in Switzerland work together for the benefit of all. There are so many strengths within our local memberships. I’d like to see skills, ideas, events and expertise shared so all chapters and members can duplicate them and benefit accordingly. Attending the Regional DA Meeting in 2018 made me realize there are many resources to use as a jumping off point.

My priorities are often directed by the team. Whether the task is to register voters, hold our primaries, encourage new memberships and chapters or help Americans gather for support and friendship, if we work together to accomplish those goals, we can do much.

I feel I have the time, skills and drive to help create a strong national team within which all chapters can be as successful. I look forward to it.

 

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Office: Vice-Chair

The Candidates

 

Farid ben Amor (Geneva)

STATEMENT: Perhaps like some of you, I withdrew from activism after the last presidential election - for me the only thing it motivated was my flight to the stability of Switzerland. But after starting to volunteer with Democrats Abroad, I learned that even from over here, we can help make things safe at home again. We may have already been the margin of victory for some elections, and with millions of us abroad, we certainly have the potential to tip more elections.

As a former DNC delegate for Bernie, staffer for Barack, staffer for ACORN, and platform editor for the California Democratic Party, I'm proud to have been part of the broader effort to push our political system to vigorously defend our fundamental principles of protecting the dignity of all people, no matter their backgrounds. I would be honored to advocate for this unabashed progressive fundamentalism on behalf of Democrats living in Switzerland as we ramp up for impeachment and 2020 - especially by motivating those who didn't vote in the last presidential election to vote. Thanks for all your ongoing work to restore our American values from here!

 

Vance A. White (Buus - Basel region)

BIO: I grew up in a suburb of Denver. I recently celebrated my 62nd birthday (and the memory of my mother working on the JFK election in 1960!). I have had the honor of being married to my French husband since September, 2015.

I have a B.S.in Accounting, I worked from 2006-2017 as the Site Director/General Manager of a pharmaceutical firm near Basel. As a result of this experience, I have the ability to have a complete overview of all functions of a business (Production, Quality, Engineering, Health & Safety, HR, Finance, IT, Logistics & Distribution, Sales & Customer Service). This has allowed me to focus on the needs of both the clients and the employees. Previously, I worked in Auditing/Financial Management for oil companies (Colorado and California) and Financial/IT management in pharmaceutical companies (Puerto Rico for 15 years).

I am fluent in Spanish, decent in Deutsch, and I am a good listener for French speakers.

I love the exposure to new cultures which travel provides. My extensive international travel and 28 years of living outside of the continental USA has heightened my sensitivity to making sure that I properly represent the USA as a mix of many cultures and nationalities and I focus on making sure to not expect that other countries adapt to the “American way”.

My passion is food. I experience creative joy in the kitchen by cooking for others and I gain new gastronomic insights by sampling the cuisine offered by talented professionals.

STATEMENT: I am interested in the position of Vice-Chair for Democrats Abroad Switzerland. I have been in Switzerland since 2006 and I greatly admire the work that Democrats Abroad has been doing to help people to register for voting and to publish different deadlines for each state so that people can properly exercise the power of their voting rights.

I am committed to helping to make voting easier for Expats and to expand the overall voting percentage of Americans.

As an expat in Switzerland I am particularly interested in tax reform for Americans living abroad and I believe that helping fellow expats to know how to contact their Representatives and Senators is essential to having our voice and concerns heard at the federal level.

I believe that volunteer work is the bedrock of creating positive change in the world and that Democrats Abroad is a strong grass roots organization to help promote Democratic principles.

 (See Vance's full statement with photo)

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Office: Secretary

The Candidates

 

Liz Voss (Basel)

STATEMENT: Since joining the ExCom as replacement Secretary in May 2017, I have worked hard to assist the other members of the ExCom, as well as my local Basel chapter and members around the country. With my degree in Business Admin and minor in Management Information Systems, secretarial work plays to my skill set quite well. I manage the new members as well as oversee the annual membership verification process. I organize the Google Drive where we store our documents. I also take minutes at our ExCom, AGM, and supplementary meetings, distributing them afterwards.

In addition, I traveled to Spain for our EMEA regional meeting and Japan for the international AGM in 2018, both of which were educational, fun, and memorable trips.

I have started a local Swiss caucus focusing on voting rights, which will include working with the international Voting Rights Committee moving forward. I also served on the Compliance Committee and helped develop comprehensive compliance tools and materials to ensure that DACH is doing everything we can to follow rules and regulations regarding donations.

I believe that my (almost) two years on the current ExCom have been successful and I hope to build on that success in the next two years.

 

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Office: Treasurer

The Candidates

 

Meli Hughes (Basel)

STATEMENT: I have been an active member of the Basel chapter of Democrats Abroad since I moved to Switzerland three years ago. I am committed to doing whatever I can to make sure that Americans abroad have a voice in the US political process.

I have an MBA from the Stern School of Business (NYU). I worked for two years as an auditor for Arthur Andersen, then worked for Bayer Pharmaceuticals for 12 years where I developed and analyzed budgets for the Marketing and Sales organizations. After I stopped working to raise my family, I was the treasurer for the PTA at my children’s school. I would be happy to serve as treasurer for Democrats Abroad, Switzerland.

 

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Office: Member-at-Large for Communications and Media

The Candidates

 

Lyndsay Obbarius Grieder (Basel)

BIO: I am from Minneapolis, Minnesota (a proud blue state girl!) and I have lived in Basel for the past 11 and half years.

STATEMENT: I was obviously very disheartened by what happened in 2016, as were many people, and I would like to actively play a part in helping to ensure that we can change the direction US politics have been moving in the upcoming 2020 elections. I would like to run for this position given my background and education in Journalism & Mass Communication. I have a BA in the field and I feel that my skill set would be complementary to this role. In my current full-time job I work on a lot of communication for business development within my firm, but I do miss some the core journalistic competencies that I studied years back. 

(Lyndsay’s photo available here )

 

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Basel Chapter Candidate Statements

 

CANDIDATE(S) FOR CHAIR:

Victoria (Tory) Mallett
Originally from Texas, Tory Mallett is a lifelong Democrat. After University, she worked on campaigns and as a policy staffer for five years all over the United States. During that time she did everything from fieldwork to fundraising to Chief of Staff to coalition organizing to campaign management. In 2013, she left campaign life to pursue her Masters in Political Sociology in London. Now, she is in the final stages of her PhD in the same field.
Tory is a newcomer to Basel, but is excited to get involved and hopefully bring what she has learned in her years of experience to Democrats Abroad and use her skills to help contribute to the strength of the Basel chapter and continue the important work we do with voter registration, expanding membership outreach and growth and facilitating interesting and varied events for Americans in the Basel area. 
  1. I think that the strength of the Basel Chapter is something that could be put to great use in the expansion efforts we’d like. We could perhaps develop a brief training that could be taken on the road. It could include simple organising techniques and voter registration rules. That way local Dems in other cities won't need to organise anything initially and could just come to our event as trainees, hopefully make connections, and be inspired to take it forward. A training session could be run by as few as two members.
  2. The neighbor-2-neighbor program in the US was possibly the most successful grassroots outreach effort ever run by the Democratic Party. The problem was that it took too much time and investment by individuals. I think, however, that Democrats Abroad could be a better home for it. This would mean that each members is responsible for a list of Democrats on their own. They send personalised postcards or make phone calls to their list over the course of the election season. The idea is that voters start to see them as more than a faceless representative, but as a neighbor. It also gives active members a sense of responsibility and accomplishment.
  3. Lastly, I had a hard time finding DA when I arrived. When you Google Democrats Abroad Basel, the DA Basel page is the first thing to come up. It has the leadership on it, but the last news posting was from 2015, and when I clicked on events, it said "No Upcoming Events". My assumption was that the group was no longer active. I think that a couple of quick updates could make sure that doesn't happen again and could potentially grow membership among those not active on social media.
  4. Finally, I know that a lot of Americans, no matter how engaged they are, have a hard time keeping up with legislation currently churning in Congress. Having regular policy discussions might attract people who less interested in campaign efforts, but are still Democrats may need to get registered. Everyone who is politically active was activated at some point. If we can find the issues that matter to them, we can expand our outreach. If successful, these policy session could become a fundraising opportunity.

CANDIDATE(S) FOR VICE CHAIR:

Kristen Gray Jafflin (current Vice Chair)
It has been great working with the engaged, active team we have here in Basel, and I am hoping to continue that work with another term as Vice Chair! Over the last 2 years, I’ve assisted the chair by helping organize the Voter Assistance and Get out the Vote teams for the 2018 mid-term elections and spearheading internal communications, posting events on the Democrats Abroad website and Facebook pages and sending email blasts. I’ve also enjoyed helping organize and being involved in many of the exciting events we’ve held here in Basel, from community events like the Rhine Swim and 4th of July picnics to activism events, like attending marches, writing postcards, and contacting our representatives about various issues of interest to us as Democrats and Americans living abroad. I hope that you will give me a chance to continue that work for the next 2 years as we go into the 2020 general election. (cont.)
I need not tell any of you how important the 2020 election is. I know you all share my passion for taking back the White House and reversing many of the horrible policies and practices instituted by the Trump administration. Here in Basel, we must do our part, educating our fellow Americans on how to vote from Abroad and helping them register and request their ballots and making our voices heard on issues that are important to us. We also have a voice in the upcoming Democratic primary, so a key goal in the next two years will also be helping Democrats Abroad choose between the many candidates in the election by organizing debate watches, participating in call ins, and other events that help us better choose between them and better understand their positions on issues of particular concern to us as Democrats living abroad in the run up to DA’s global primary.
Towards that end, I have four top priorities for 2019-2020:
  1. Outreach to Americans living in the region, to make them aware of our activities and to recruit more people interested in helping with and shaping our efforts.
  2. Activism to make our voices heard on issues of concern to us.
  3. GOTV and Voter Assistance efforts.
  4. Voter information events (debate watches, call-ins with candidates, mock debates, etc.) in the run-up to the Global primary and the general election to help Americans living in the Basel-area make an informed choice and make their concerns heard.

CANDIDATE(S) FOR TREASURER:

Vivian Beetle (current Treasurer)
I have served in this position of Basel Treasurer since 2017 As part of the Basel leadership team, I am eager to help engage members in our area in the important work of registering and getting out the Democratic vote in 2020. A successful Democratic campaign in 2020 is requisite to restoring the heart of U.S. democracy and all that it means.
Over the past few years, I have valued being part of the corps of volunteers who propel our efforts in Basel. At all stages, it takes the sustained, dedicated and creative work of many players to achieve our goals. In the specific role of Treasurer, I remain committed to assuring we maintain the strong fiscal procedures, processes and practices in accordance with all relevant guidelines and policies. Recognizing the responsibility that comes with stewardship of collective funds, I respect the importance of diligent financial management of the organization. 
Thirteen years ago I relocated from New Jersey to Switzerland for my work with Hoffmann-La Roche from which I retired in 2013. During a thirty-plus year career at Roche, I developed a broad expertise in corporate engagement with particular skills in community collaboration, business strategic alignment, employee volunteerism, program development and budget oversight. Before joining Roche, I worked with the YWCA in Paterson, New Jersey, where I was involved in every aspect of their urban-based program and administration with a focus on women’s leadership development.
I have been involved in a wide range of civic and non-profit organizations in advisory, governance and operational roles. My non-profit board experience has been varied, including such groups as Funders Concerned About AIDS, The Partnership for New Jersey, Diamond Terrace Condominium Association, and the Roche Employee and Action Trust. More recently I also volunteer as an English Conversation Group Leader for adult non-mother language speakers (Centrepoint, Basel)
I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Douglass College of Rutgers University and a Masters in Business Administration from Rutgers Graduate School of Management

CANDIDATE(S) FOR SECRETARY: 

None presented. Position duties:
  • Distribute meeting agendas to the Chapter Committee
  • Take and distribute minutes of all meetings and distribute to the Chapter Committee and DACH ExCom
  • Participate in key discussions and decisions as part of the Leadership Team and with the volunteer corps
  • Maintain files and administrative records of the Chapter (Google Drive)
  • Manage and maintain the Basel Chapter membership and volunteer lists in coordination with the DACH Secretary. This may require training on the DA database
  • Ensure event advertising, internet and social media presence in collaboration with event organizers and committee members
Candidates may be nominated from the floor. Please let us know if you would like to run. basel-elections@democrats.ch
For further information about elections or the officer roles, contact any committee member (or email basel-elections@democrats.ch)