The final day of the DPCA global meeting in Washington, D.C. began with an inspiring start with a speech from DNC Vice Chair and New York Assemblyman Michael Blake. Blake challenged DA leaders from around the world with the necessity and urgency of uniting under the party.
Reinforcing an imperative to “mobilize and organize” Blake narrowed in on the great obligation for Democrats to take part not just in Congressional or Presidential races but also in local, gubernatorial, municipal, and state races.
“When Democrats come home, resistance is successful,” said Blake. “As a Democrat abroad you are the face of hope and education for someone back home. You get information that someone might not get back home. You must provide that awareness opportunity.”
After outlining Blake called on Democrats to search for commonalities to align on values to better enfranchise citizens and voters in every state in the nation and Americans across the globe.
“We have to find the connective language that unites people beyond geography,’ said Blake. “We might have different zip codes but we all still care about education, healthcare, women’s rights, LGBT rights, diversity concerns, we just have to get to that connective value differently.”
The theme of thinking globally and acting locally was also carried through to this morning’s group discussion, featuring a panel of state Democratic party leaders, including David Pepper Chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, Kathleen Matthews Chairwoman of the Maryland Democratic Party, and Georgina Cannan the Voter Protection and Policy Director for the Virginia Democratic Party.
The panel addressed concerns on state level voting and participation, stressing a need for increased cooperation and work with and for Americans that live abroad, along with the importance of their ability to vote from overseas. Better data collection and voter identification of Americans abroad in their state parties and election commissions continues to be a critical need and bipartisan issue. Panelists pledged to look for ways to incorporate a portal in their party websites for more transparent voting information.
DA leaders also voted on the venue for the next global meeting to be held in Japan, before officially adjourning. Though the DPCA global meeting is over for another year, DA leaders will stay on in Washington for a Congressional Door Knock on Capitol Hill to advocate for Americans abroad on five key issues:
1. Strengthening overseas voting rights
2. Reforming the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA);
3. Pushing for Residence Based Taxation (RBT);
4. Maintaining and refunding the Election Assistance Commission and advocating for more publicly available recordkeeping on overseas voter participation;
5. Resisting the proposed State Department budget cuts which include funding for American Citizen Services, USAID, and educational exchanges among others.
Stay tuned for an update on our door knocking!
Courtney Hagen, DAUK/Global comms team