News

Office: Member-at-Large – Events and Volunteers

The Candidates

 

 

Robin Bognuda (Camorino, Ticino)

Born and raised in Boston MA, I moved to Ticino 27 years ago to marry my Swiss Italian husband and subsequently raise two children. Shortly thereafter I founded AWOT – American Women of Ticino – which still exists today. I also started All For Kids, which for over 2 decades provided English speaking families with educational products for children. I wanted to provide my own children with things that weren't available here.

Over the years the business evolved from mail-order catalog, to a network of sales reps throughout CH, and then to an online-shop. I enjoyed visiting schools and participating in expos nationwide to meet and connect with other expat families.

A few years later, I co-founded The Book Nook – the only English library in Ticino that served as a lending library, meeting place and venue for lectures and discussions for 17 years.

Before moving to CH, I ran a management agency for performing artists in Boston for 10 years – Performing Arts Consultants. I also taught Arts Management at the New England Conservatory of Music, Lesley College and Northeastern University. My BA is in Social Psychology and Dance from Tufts University.

I was raised in a Republican family and have always voted Democrat. My political experience is limited to organising meetings in Ticino with former American Ambassadors to CH, and voter registration drives. While I have never been active in the Democratic party, I believe my accomplishments have demonstrated a unique capacity for community organisation and initiative. Gathering like minded people to discuss, address and achieve common goals is my specialty. I enjoy networking and believe in collaboration. Since the election of our current President, I feel a moral obligation to get involved. I was at the Women's March on Washington on January 21st and contacted Anne-Shelton Aaron upon my return to ask about organising an event in Ticino.

I believe Member-at-Large, Events and Volunteers would be an appropriate role for me given my nationwide contacts and proven experience.

 

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Katelyn M. McClung (Vevey)

I am Katie McClung and I am running to be your Member-at-Large for events and volunteers. For an event and volunteer coordinator to be effective, they need a great deal of energy, passion, and knowledge on the effective use of communication technologies.

As a new member of the DA CH chapter and a relatively new resident of Switzerland, let me tell you a little bit about myself. I grew up in Philadelphia, Florida, and New Jersey, and did my university and masters studies – in chemical engineering, minoring in public policy- just outside New York City, in Hoboken. I am currently a PhD student at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), studying process integration techniques and applying them to refineries that focus on the production of liquid fuels from renewable sources. I am passionate about energy and the environment, and for obtaining, applying, and sharing knowledge.

While I have always been interested in energy policy, this election cycle thrust me into politics and public policy in a way I did not expect to happen so soon. I served as a volunteer for an independent organization, MoveOn, where I spent hours cold-calling voters in swing states. Now, I am more fervent than ever to put time and talent to political activism. I understand the gravity of the situation we are currently in, and the impact we as US citizens abroad can have. I want to help get more people involved, to run events, and to be an active member.

Furthermore, while I have little experience in the DA, I do have experience planning and running events. As a university student, I helped to found a chapter of Engineers for a Sustainable World, served on the executive board, and ran the fundraising events and the education outreach program. While I know this is a different scale of activities, I am sure these skills are transferable and will help with the learning curve this position has. I am well organized, timely, and, thanks to work, I am always accessible by email or slack.

I want to work with the rest of the executive committee positions and with my committee to spread our message. I am incredibly excited to work with and organize events that are as multi-purpose, fun, and educational as possible, involving components of outreach, activism, information, and fundraising. I also would like to see us make use of social media for getting the word out about events. I look forward to working with all of you.

 

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Office: Member-at-Large – Press and Media

The Candidates

 

 

Morgan Gray (Geneva)

As a corporate communications professional working for an American company in Switzerland, I have experience designing and executing communications activities to support the broader strategies of an organization. I am skilled at receiving global talking points and tailoring statements to a local audience while remaining on message. Having constantly worked with teammates across Europe, Middle East, and Africa, I am confident in my ability to collaborate across language regions and media markets to earn the most effective coverage.

Originally from Illinois, I have been active in civic life and engaged in the political process from a young age. Even as a child, I was secretary of our 4H club, representing our county often at state events. Before I could vote, I asked for help from the ACLU to lead a campaign against, and eventually stop, an unconstitutional random drug testing initiative at my high school that was proposed to the school board.

Later, I was a poll worker in my county and interned at the Illinois Attorney General's Office in Springfield. There, I was an active part of the staff, attending hearings and depositions, answering calls and requests for information from all over the state, and also writing various legal documents which were eventually filed in circuit courts.

My international affairs studies did take me out of the US frequently, as I've mostly lived abroad since high school. This meant I've felt a bit removed from taking part in more activism. However, I believe the political science aspect of those studies means that I have a solid background to explain not only local political processes in the US but also the effects of American policy on other countries. I think this knowledge will be valuable as I will be able to answer questions and give background to media in Switzerland.

I have studied and now worked in Switzerland for a total of nearly 8 years. In that time, I have made Switzerland my home and am interested in and committed to the relationship between the two countries. Because I intend to stay in Switzerland, I want to take this opportunity to run for a role in the DACH ExCom so that I can become active again in the political process of our country. Thanks to my work experience here and my personal experience back home, I think I have a lot to offer the ExCom and the Democrats Abroad organization as a whole. I believe that better media coverage of the DACH organization will help support the important work that the group is already doing, such as the voter outreach for the upcoming midterms, because raising awareness can help to get out the vote. But I also believe it will help support the new goals the group has set in terms of fundraising and increasing membership, and I hope that my fellow Democrats in Switzerland will vote for me to take the lead on this role.

 

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Leedonal Moore (Zurich)

I have had the pleasure to speak to current committee members, and I have been very impressed with the opportunities that would be afforded to me within DACH and for our fellow country men and women living abroad, who believe as I do, that our democratic values must be protected, nourished and fought for.

I firmly believe that I have the intellect, skills and talents necessary to succeed as a Press/Media Member at large. Besides working as a radio, tv, event presenter/host and very well versed in using social media devices as in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Hootsuite, I therefore also am well connected with various press and media agencies. I am fluent in English, German, moderate in Italian and French.

I value leadership, teamwork, honesty, and ethics. My strong desire to contribute upholding democratic values drive me to succeed and to accomplish my goals. I look forward to speaking with you and members of your Department regarding my application.

 

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Rosemary Pontarelli (Basel)

My personal motivation for this position is two-fold: that we utilize press and media to support member outreach and motivating existing members to contribute to the activism agenda of Democrats Abroad Switzerland and that Democrats Abroad Switzerland contributes to diplomatic relations abroad and represents a balanced image of America's role on the world stage to the Swiss public. Now more than ever Americans at home and abroad need role models and motivators. We could hang our heads, participate in only sarcastic humor towards Donald Trump, but this would not serve us to gaining positive traction on political issues that affect Americans and international relations. Now more than ever we need to promote activism on a progressive political agenda, which is what the Press & Media function should contribute to. Professional experience in organizational development, communications, human resources, my experience in voter outreach and press-media outreach in 2016 for Democrats Abroad Basel as well as bilingual competencies in English and German are some of my qualifications for this position. I however envision a function that promotes team collaboration and utilizing motivated members in Zurich, Geneva, Bern to fulfill regional positions and promote a sustainable press & media agenda. Regardless of the election outcome I am also further motivated to contribute the Democrats Abroad Basel Events and Press & Media Relations in Basel through a regional function.

 

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Georgia Special Election -- April 18, 2017

The State of Georgia will conduct a Special Election on Tuesday, April 18, 2017, for the 6th Congressional District to replace Tom Price who became U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary. This district consists of parts of northern Atlanta and parts of surrounding counties such as Cobb, Fulton, and Dekalb.

If you are a Georgia resident from the 6th Congressional District, register to vote and request an absentee ballot today at www.VoteFromAbroad.org or by clicking the VOTE link in the top menu above. Overseas citizens may use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), the registration and ballot request form accepted by all States and territories to request a ballot for this special election.

REMEMBER: You must 1. COMPLETE2. SIGN, and 3. SEND the FPCA to your local election office.

 

Eighteen candidates qualify to run

According to the State Secretary of State, 18 candidates have officially qualified to run in the Special Election. There are five Democrats:

  1. Ragin Edwards
  2. Richard Keatley
  3. Jon Ossoff
  4. Rebecca Quigg
  5. Ron Slotin

running along with two Independents, and 11 Republicans. There is no primary, so if no candidate receives a majority, a Special Run-Off Election will be held on June 20, 2017.

Georgia has also just announced another Special Election for State Senate District 32.

 

Be sure you will receive a ballot to vote

If you are not currently registered, your FPCA needs to be received by March 20 for you to receive the ballot to vote in the primary; if you are currently registered, your FPCA ballot request must be received by April 14.

Ballots will be sent beginning March 4 for those who have already requested them. If you do not receive your requested State ballot 30 days before the election, you can use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB), also available on Vote From Abroad

Please do not assume you will receive the ballot to vote in this special election, even if you just voted in the November 2016 General Election. Detailed instructions and county contact information is available at www.fvap.gov/georgia.


California Special Primary Election -- April 4, 2017

The State of California will conduct a Special Primary Election on Tuesday, April 4, 2017, for the 34th Congressional District to replace Xavier Becerra who became California Attorney General. This district consists of part of Los Angeles County.

The Special General Election will be held on June 6.

If you are a California resident from the 34th Congressional District, register to vote and request an absentee ballot today at www.VoteFromAbroad.org or by clicking the VOTE link in the top menu above. Overseas citizens may use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), the registration and ballot request form accepted by all States and territories to request a ballot for this special election.

REMEMBER: You must 1. COMPLETE2. SIGN, and 3. SEND the FPCA to your local election office.

 

Be sure you will receive a ballot to vote

If you are not currently registered, your FPCA needs to be received by March 20 for you to receive the ballot to vote in the primary; if you are currently registered, your FPCA ballot request must be received by March 28.

Ballots will be sent beginning February 18 for those who have already requested them. If you do not receive your requested State ballot 30 days before the election, you can use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB), also available on Vote From Abroad

Please do not assume you will receive the ballot to vote in this special election, even if you just voted in the November 2016 General Election. Detailed instructions and county contact information is available at www.fvap.gov/california.


Kansas Special Election -- April 11, 2017

The State of Kansas will hold a Special Election on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 for the 4th Congressional District to replace Mike Pompeo who resigned from the U.S. House of Representatives when he was confirmed and formally sworn in as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

This district consists of all or part of Barber, Butler, Chautauqua, Comanche, Cowley, Edwards, Elk, Greenwood, Harper, Harvey, Kingman, Kiowa, Pawnee, Pratt, Sedgwick, Stafford and Sumner Counties.

If you are a Kansas resident from the 4th Congressional District, register to vote and request an absentee ballot today at www.VoteFromAbroad.org or by clicking the VOTE link in the top menu above. Overseas citizens may use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), the registration and ballot request form accepted by all States and territories to request a ballot for this special election.

REMEMBER: You must 1. COMPLETE, 2. SIGN, and 3. SEND the FPCA to your local election office.

 

Be sure you will receive a ballot to vote

If you are not currently registered, your FPCA needs to be received by March 21 for you to receive the ballot to vote; if you are currently registered, your FPCA ballot request must be received by April 11.

Please do not assume you will receive the ballot to vote in this special election, even if you just voted in the November 2016 General Election. Detailed instructions and county contact information is available at www.fvap.gov/kansas.


Vote to End EAC Jeopardizes Vote from Abroad

February 8, 2017 — Yesterday the House Administration Committee voted to terminate the federal Election Assistance Commission (EAC). The EAC is the only federal agency devoted exclusively to improving election administration on a bi-partisan basis. The EAC is the agency responsible for overseeing the vote from abroad process for all overseas Americans, to make sure our access to ballots and the handling by elections officials is consistently fair and transparent.

Save the Election Assistance Commission

The House Committee on House Administration voted 6-3, along party lines, in favor of H.R. 634, the Election Assistance Commission Termination Act, sponsored by the committee chairman, Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.), which would shut down the federal agency that helps states regulate voting systems and administer election standards. Created after the chaotic presidential election of 2000, the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) secures our voting process and infrastructure, providing support that local election officials rely on. Now, the House Committee has decided that we no longer need it.

In 2014, President Obama’s Presidential Commission on Election Administration tasked the EAC with modernizing our severely outdated voting machines with more efficient, secure technology, and developing new standards, last updated in 2007. This legislation will leave local election officials without support just as machines around the country are reaching end of life. Terminating the EAC would abruptly end its important work, putting our democratic process at a higher risk for voting irregularities, machine failures, and hacks. This is a stunning move by Congress, especially after reported attempts to hack into state voter registration databases and destabilize our entire presidential election.

The bipartisan commission, co-chaired by the general counsels of the Obama and Romney 2012 campaigns, wrote in their report that: “Without a fully functioning EAC to adopt new standards, many new technologies that might better serve local election administrators are not being brought to the marketplace.”

The League of Women Voters Released a statement opposing this move: "League Opposes End to Voting Agency Passed by House Panel":

The EAC does invaluable work to improve our nation’s election system on a voluntary, non-regulatory basis. The bi-partisan organization seeks to ensure the efficacy, reliability, and trustworthiness of our nation’s election systems by conducting research, collecting data, and sharing information among elected officials, the public, and interested organizations. It was set up by the Help America Vote Act, which was adopted after the controversial presidential election in 2000.

Help America Vote Act 2002 (HAVA) mandated that overseas absentee ballots be tabulated separately from domestic absentee ballots, ensuring overseas Americans can see that their votes count and are counted. The EAC’s tabulation of overseas absentee ballots provides elected officials and candidates with a clearer picture of their overseas American constituents. Through reporting and data analysis, the EAC was established with the goal of improving the uneven state compliance with federal regulations of voting law. 

Support for the EAC and it's impact on the vote from abroad and overseas Americans is among Democrats Abroad's top priorities.

TechCrunch published an article "House moves to eliminate commission overseeing voting system security" questioning the intelligence of eliminating the commission at this particular time:

...it seems like extraordinarily bad timing to kill the EAC immediately after an election marred by allegations of fake voting, hacks and other improprieties. The Department of Homeland Security just last month even designated election systems as “critical infrastructure” and will be helping secure them...

In the article, EAC Chair Thomas Hicks is quoted saying, "the EAC is the only federal agency bridging the gap between federal guidance and the needs of state and local election officials.

 


Call for Candidates for DA Switzerland's 2017 – 2019 Excecutive Committee

Democrats Abroad Switzerland (DACH) will elect a new Executive Committee at our Annual General Meeting on March 25.

This is a call for candidates to stand for office and run the nominations/election process. We seek members motivated to help Democrats win races at all levels of our political process for the 2018 U.S. Midterm Congressional Elections. There will be political activities, fundraisers, Get-Out-The-Vote campaigns around Switzerland, discussions and watch parties, and more! Now is the time to heed the call for candidates and get involved.

“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something.”
– President Barack Obama

DACH ExCom 2017-2019

Please consider running for an office. Joining the leadership of DACH is a great opportunity to build up experience, broaden your network, have fun and meet great people. There will be plenty of opportunity and demand for Democratic activism to counter the policy being put in place by the new Republican administration and to promote the Democratic message.

 

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee (ExCom) is the leadership of DACH, elected for a two-year term and is made up of eleven officers, of which nine are elected and two sit ex-officio. Officers are members who volunteer their time and skills to represent and organize Democrats across Switzerland.

Officers will be elected at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Basel on Saturday, March 25, 2017.

 

Officers

  1.   Chair
  2.   Vice-Chair
  3.   Secretary
  4.   Treasurer
  5.   Counsel
  6.   Member-At-Large, Membership Development
  7.   Member-At-Large, Fundraising
  8.   Member-At-Large, Events and Volunteers
  9.   Member-At-Large, Press and Media

 

Elections

All registered members of Democrats Abroad living in Switzerland are eligible and encouraged to run for a position AND to vote at the Annual General Meeting. You can nominate any member of Democrats Abroad Switzerland, including yourself.

 

How It Works: Nominations Timeline

Feb 17 — Send Statement of Intent to Nominations Committee
Include nominee's name, address, telephone number, email address, and a brief statement of intent (under 500 words) to Committee Chair Anne-Shelton Aaron.

Feb 28 — Announce Candidates to Members
We will distribute information about the candidates, their statements, voting procedures, meeting agenda and venue to all members by email.

Mar 25 — Vote in the Election
Elections will be held during the 2017 Annual General Meeting. Save the date!

 

Job Description & Duties

☆ Chair ☆
Chief executive officer of DA Switzerland – as such, Chair must

  • Organize and conduct meetings of the Executive Committee and the membership, and set the agenda of such meetings
  • Establish all committees necessary for the proper functioning of the organization
  • Represent DACH in interviews with the press
  • Represent DACH at meetings of the DPCA (DA International) in person or online, in accordance with the DPCA Charter, and report to the DACH ExCom on DPCA activities, issues, votes, etc.
  • Choose a fair and impartial head of the “Nominations and Elections Committee” to run DACH elections in odd numbered years

☆ Vice-Chair ☆

  • Must be opposite gender to Chair (as per DACH and DPCA by-laws)
  • Assist Chair in all DACH ExCom activities
  • Substitute for Chair when needed
  • Attend all DACH ExCom, and regular international, meetings in person or online
  • Co-represent DACH at meetings of the DPCA (Dems Abroad International) in person or online, in accordance with the DPCA Charter
  • Take on other responsibilities as agreed upon with the ExCom

☆ Secretary ☆

  • Take minutes of all meetings and after approval of the Chair distribute to the ExCom in a timely fashion
  • Distribute meeting agendas to the ExCom
  • Maintain all files and administrative records of the organization (Google Docs)
  • Maintain a current list of members of the organization

☆ Treasurer ☆

  • Manage the finances of DA Switzerland and its Chapters
  • Maintain clear and accurate financial records and make financial reports as required on a timely basis
  • Ensure all financial matters conform to local rules and regulations as well as those of the Federal Election Commission and campaign finance laws of the United States

☆ Counsel ☆

  • Preferably a qualified lawyer
  • Consult with the Executive Committee and/or its officers on legal and procedural questions relating to Democrats Abroad Switzerland and its activities

☆ Chair of Zurich Chapter ☆ (ex officio, elected at Zurich Chapter meeting)

  • Lead and mobilize members to join his or her team
  • Appoint Chapter positions such as vice-chair, secretary, media contact, event organizer, GOTV coordinator, Young Dems chair, or any other position deemed necessary
  • Direct the activities of DACH in the German-speaking part of Switzerland
  • Be a dedicated team player who will work with the DACH Executive Committee

☆ Immediate-past Chair ☆ (ex officio)

  • Advise and assist DACH Executive Committee in its activities

 

DACH Members-At-Large

The ExCom has designated specific duties to these 4 seats. Candidates for these positions must be willing to fill the specific duties. The main function of each designated-duty Member-At-Large position is to coordinate efforts on the national level in this general area. For some specific projects, such as fundraising events, the Member-At-Large coordinator may create work groups under his/her leadership.

☆ Member-At-Large, Membership Development ☆

  • Develop and implement strategies to recruit new members, to reach goal of a 10% membership growth in 2017

☆ Member-At-Large, Fundraising ☆

  • Develop and implement campaigns and events to meet revenue goals as stated in the DACH field plans for 2017 and 2018.

☆ Member-At-Large, Events & Volunteers ☆

  • Develop and implement DACH program of events
  • Keep an up-to-date list of volunteers, recruit them for events as needed

☆ Member-At-Large, Press and Media ☆

  • Maintain up-to-date press list
  • Draft press releases
  • Maintain press and media relations

 

Beyond the nine Executive Committee positions above, the ExCom seeks people to take on the following non-elected positions:

☆ Young Democrats Coordinator (18-35) ☆
    Organize and implement events, maintain communication

☆ LGBT Caucus Coordinator ☆
    Create and maintain caucus, coordinate with same in other countries

☆ Women's Caucus Coordinator ☆
    Create and maintain caucus, coordinate with same in other countries

For more information on these offices and positions, contact Anne-Shelton Aaron.

 

Nominations Committee

You are invited to reach out to these committee members to enquire further about the roles described above or ask general questions.

 


Geneva’s Women’s March for Dignity, January 21, 2017

Geneva Women's March for Dignity, January 21, 2017

On January 21, 2017, march in Geneva in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington, to send a powerful message promoting a world that respects the human and civil rights of all citizens. Open to those who share the values of equality, diversity, and inclusion and who care about addressing climate change, the Geneva’s Women’s March for Dignity is one of 121 the Global Women’s March taking place in 50 countries that day as part of a viral movement supporting progressive values. more...

Women's March Global is a proactive international movement, not a U.S. election-specific protest per se, which has galvanized people to defend women's rights and those of others in response to the rising rhetoric of far-right populism around the world.

Members of Democrats Abroad Switzerland are invited to grab a bite at the end of the at The Hamburger Foundation in the Paquis, 37 rue Philippe-Plantamour. map...

If you are going to the Geneva’s Women’s March for Dignity, join Democrats Abroad at the Gazebo between 10:45-11 AM so that we can march together. Look out for our banner.

WHEN
Saturday, January 21, 2017 at 11:00 AM
WHERE   *UPDATED END LOCATION*
Starting at Jardin Anglais at 11AM. Following welcome rally, march will begin around 11:30AM, crossing the Pont de Mont Blanc, to the the Quai du Mont-Blanc, across the street from the Hotel Beau Rivage.
RSVP
on Eventbrite to help provide an accurate count
CONTACT
[email protected] for questions, media requests or to help organize
FOLLOW
SHARE

 


Call on Donald Trump to release his tax returns

Donald Trump announced today that he will not divest from his business interests or release his tax returns.

Tell Donald Trump: Release Your Tax Returns!

Even Rex Tillerson, the nominee for Secretary of State, completely divested from ExxonMobil when he received the nomination.

That means:

  • Donald Trump and his family will continue to profit from new business deals that will be conducted while he is president.
  • Foreign governments and entities will be able to directly curry favor with Trump by doing business with his company.
  • We don't know if Trump has financial ties to foreign countries that will cloud how he conducts foreign policy.
  • When asked, Trump claimed that nobody other than journalists wants to see his tax returns.

That's just not true -- releasing his returns is the only way the American people can know for certain if he will follow even the most basic ethical standards.

Donald Trump owes it to the country to prove -- before he takes office -- that he has no conflicts of interest that will affect the decisions he makes as president. Sign your name to demand that Donald Trump release his tax returns before January 20th:


Speak out against the appointment of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General

It only takes two minutes to have a big impact: Call Now

Demand Senate Republicans Reject Jeff Sessions' Nomination

Your voice is powerful. Use it to call Senate Republicans. Why?

  • Because Sessions was deemed too racist to be confirmed as a federal judge in 1986. He's called the Voting Rights Act an "intrusive piece of legislation" and said it was "good news" for the South when key provisions were gutted in 2013 -- and now Trump wants to put him in charge of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.
  • Because he has been the most vocally anti-immigrant member of the Senate, playing a key role in killing any attempt at comprehensive immigration reform during the Obama administration.
  • Because he has an abysmal record on LGBT rights, including voting against federal hate crime legislation and the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
  • And because he voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.

Ask House Republicans why they backed down on their attempt to gut Congressional ethics rules. They'll tell you it was because their offices were flooded by calls from constituents telling their representatives that this was unacceptable.

Take this opportunity to call Republican senators and let them know why you oppose the appointment of Jeff Sessions. We've created this call tool to make it as easy as possible -- just follow this link, make the call, and then tell everyone you know to make their voices heard too:

This is an important fight -- and we can't win it without supporters like you making their voices heard.

Thanks for getting involved.