DAKE 2023 Candidate Statements



Ballot for DAKE 2023-2025 Executive Committee




ROBYN T EMERSON (Current Chair)

Robyn is the Founding President of Women In Real Estate (WIRE) Kenya 2016 - 2023, one of the early organisations in Kenya with a gender equity mission in the private sector. She is the founding Chair of Democrats Abroad.  As an urban planner and participatory engagement practitioner she has initiated several programmes and interventions that have transformed whole communities and segments within for over 75 years in Kenya and nearly 32 years in the US. 

She is the co-author of ‘Building in Kenya: A Real Estate Developers Toolkit’, a top selling book in Kenya and the only comprehensive book providing open-source information on the building process in its Second Edition, and Co-Executive Producer of the online course in the same name.  She is a Board Member of Buildher (organisation that empowers Kenyan Women through connecting advocacy, accredited construction skills and life skills training to employment) and KDI (work with under-resourced communities to design and build “productive public spaces”. She the co-founder of the Kilimani Project Foundation (an internationally recognised community foundation) and former Co-Convenor of its Planned Development Committee; she is a leader in Kenya Private Sector's (KEPSA) Nairobi Forum, a Trustee of Crafts with Meaning (a social enterprise that creates markets for rural artisans).



THOM WALLACE (Current Vice - Chair)

Thom Wallace, based in Nairobi Kenya is originally from the Baltimore, Maryland area and has been a lifelong progressive community organizer and social entrepreneur, voting rights advocate, and Democratic voter. He is a domiciled resident in Virginia and votes in the state’s 7th congressional district. 

Since October 2022, Thom has served as the interim Vice-Chair of the Democrats Abroad Kenya. He is a candidate for Vice-Chair of the 2023-25 Executive Committee of Democrats Abroad Kenya. As a member of the Executive Committee, he'll seek to build upon DAKE's communications and outreach capabilities to expand membership and increase access to voting for American voters living in Kenya.

Professionally, Thom is the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for the African Management Institute (AMI), a business and management learning company. He is a leadership-level communication and marketing professional with over 20 years of experience working in sustainability, community development, renewable energy, natural resources and conservation, civic engagement, and government affairs.

During his nine years in Nairobi, Thom has worked as a communications advisor to President Obama’s Power Africa initiative and led communications for Feed the Future’s Africa Lead programme focused on advancing food security continentally. Prior to moving to Kenya with his wife, he was the Senior Director of Communications for the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization serving the broad interests of tribal governments and communities. At NCAI among other things, he was a central part of the Native Vote campaign efforts focused on increasing voter registration across Indian Country, protecting the rights of Native voters, and increasing Native voter education and opportunities for Native candidates to seek office. Native Vote is regularly cited as instrumental in the surge of Native voter engagement and representation throughout state and national governments in the last decade. 

In his personal life, he has volunteered across the United States to support Democratic Party candidates through Get Out the Vote efforts since 2000 and worked closely with leading civil rights and voter rights organizations and leaders. Thom is an active community member in Kenya and is the president and co-founding board member of the non-profit organization called If We Build It, focused on building a baseball and softball field complex in Nairobi to increase access for young women and men to sports. He lives with his wife and two children in Nairobi. 


PAULA ESCOBAR (Current Secretary)

I have served as Interim Secretary for DA Kenya since July 2022 and would love the opportunity to continue serving our efforts here in Kenya. Before leaving the States, I organized around housing and homelessness in Los Angeles. I bring with me strong organizational skills and a love for all things community-building.



BEVERLE LAX (Current Counsel)

As a critical and analytical thinker, an interrogator of systems, a communicator, an innovator, an activist for women’s rights and justice, a writer, and a resident of Kenya for almost 4 decades, I am an excellent candidate for the position of Counsel with Democrats Abroad Kenya (DAKE).

I served as Counsel for the term 2021-2023. As such I have not only been the custodian of the DAKE Bylaws and advisor to the Executive Committee on all matters that pertain to the Bylaws but I also participated in the Executive Committee Get Out The Vote (GOTV) activities by postcarding, tabling, and phonebanking. I have also served as editor on previous newsletters and contributed ideas to get the general membership of DAKE involved and engaged like holding educational fora and trivia games on issues crucial to Democrats Abroad and on issues that are important to the communities in which they vote.

I have also served and contributed ideas to several global committees, for example, the Resolutions Committee, the Charter Committee, and currently, the Non-Country Committee Nominations and Elections Committee (NCC-NEC). Also, currently, I serve as the Library Resource Team  



Please note this role can have up to six members and you can vote for up to six candidates 


My name is Mohamed Ahmed and I am a college student living in Kenya. I have always loved politics and activism since I was in high school. I learned about Democrats Kenya and joined a few months ago. I am excited to participate in the upcoming elections and I nominated myself as a member at large. Can’t wait to meet you all.



Martha has lived in Kenya since April 2000 serving the orphans and destitute children she had met. She is now serving her 7th generation. She is aware of many changes that need to be addressed on the behalf of orphans and the very poor children of Kenya. We need to give them a stronger voice. She is one of those voices.  She is now a Kenyan Resident


JAMES IIAKO (Current Member At Large)

I am a Democrats Abroad member-at-large Executive Committee member completing a two-year term in that position. I would like to nominate myself for a second term in the same position.

I am a US citizen and registered voter in New York. My academic qualifications include a bachelor's degree in Chemistry and MBA (finance). The majority of my career has been spent in financial services. Promoting democracy and its attendant value system is one of my passions. As an executive committee member, I would like to galvanize many more Americans living in Kenya to participate in US elections and legislative matters, which affect us all.



My name is John Mugambo and I vote in Virginia. I believe voting is the most impactatiful way of getting your voice heard. It is also the most effective way of keeping our leaders honest at home or abroad. I'm forty one years old and i'm in real estate in my home town of Nakuru Kenya about 3 hours from Nairobi city. A husband and a proud dad to four amazing kids. We are a proud   American family residing in kenya. Having been in the military I was able to live and work with different people from all over the world and in  different parts of the State so I can say I know America well. Also I'm a truck driver while in the states and have seen amazing towns and cities all over the states. One tour of Iraq and Afghanistan as well as numerous other deployments all over has given me a great chance to serve my fellow Americans  well.  

Democratic voice is the only way to ensure freedoms and rights of people are heard and protected, especially now that democracy is under threat from corporations and unions. "Dark money” is transforming US politics. As a member at large I believe whichever role the Chair assigns to me, I will uphold the dignity and do the responsibility that comes with the role seriously. As a US air force honourably discharged veteran, I'm able to adapt to different roles, meet and interact with everyone and take management roles easily. Our democratic agendas require to be communicated  clearly and energetically. In the words of one great Jimmy Carter as we continue to celebrate his life. The best way to enhance freedom in other lands is to demonstrate here that our democratic system is worthy of emulation. 

The following positions do not have any proposed candidates and nominations for the these positions will be accepted from the floor during the March 26th Annual General Meeting:
- Treasurer
- Member At Large (2 Positions)