Madrid Chapter Leadership Candidates
The Nominations and Election Committee for Madrid solicited nominations at a meeting and with an email sent to all members in the Madrid region. These are the candidates who have been nominated.
Chair: Samuel Mattern
Vice Chair: Laura Hale, Khephra White
Secretary: Revé Fisher
Treasurer: Christina Samson
Please find the bios received from the candidates to date.
We all know what’s at stake in the 2020 election. Now more than ever, voter turnout is essential. And I want to help.
A Pacific Northwest native (Portland, OR), my feet are firmly planted on both sides of the pond after permanently settling in Spain in 2007. I joined Democrats Abroad in 2014 and became increasingly active in the run-up to the 2016 election, ultimately assuming my current position as spokesperson and press relations coordinator.
I enthusiastically believe in DA’s mission and work. Its members are uniquely poised with an outside perspective that translates to transformative, positive and long-lasting action when we cast our ballots. This is proof positive that DA plays a vital role in the political landscape back home, which redounds to our advantage in our adopted country of residence. In this vein, those who know me are aware of my passion for social justice and how much I care about the well-being of others. I would be thrilled to kick my current involvement up a notch and bring this passion to DA.
Running my own translation and communication business here in Madrid for the past decade has not only developed my strong command of the Spanish language; it has also honed my collaboration, organizational and coordination skills. My complete immersion in Spanish life and culture means that I can navigate the system and get things done on the ground, facilitating and streamlining the important tasks we have before us, especially as far as logistics and communication are concerned. Perseverant by nature, I’m committed to finishing the job.
The opportunity to dedicate my excitement and skills to the DA Chair position would be a privilege, and your consideration to allow me to serve an honor.
Vice Chair (1)
Laura Hale has lived in Madrid since 2013, previously having lived in Bratislava, Tinian and Canberra. Originally from the Chicago suburbs and a family of life long Democrats, she has an BGS and MSEd in Instructional Technology from Northern Illinois University, and a PhD in Communications from the University of Canberra. A data analyst and sports historian by training, in the past few years she has been active in disability activism through sports data related projects. She has been involved in further activist activities online and offline mostly centering around Wikipedia and related projects since 2011.
Vice Chair (2)
I’ve lived through 7 presidents and seen a lot of change over the years. However, the Presidential election in 2020 may be one of the most important elections we will see in this lifetime. I joined D.A. Madrid in 2015 because I believed in their mission and wanted to get involved any way I could. After five years of working with DA Madrid fundraisers, events, and voter registration, I still feel like I can do more.
A vote is a powerful thing. This is a belief my parents and grandparents, who grew up in the Jim Crow south, instilled in me from a child. I grew up learning about politics, and always found them fascinating, but what I cared about most was getting out the vote. On Election days, my grandmother always voted first thing in the morning. She would call me saying: “Don’t forget to vote today. They said you haven’t gone in yet.” When I made it to the polls, the workers would ask me: “Is your sister coming? She hasn’t been here yet.” Hey, my neighborhood in New Orleans was small. We were a community and everyone knew each other.
With DA Madrid, I have that same sense of community, and I believe that should be shared with every member: past, current, and future. I also believe that DA Madrid’s work with local social justice groups is especially important to fostering a welcoming environment for immigrants of color. I feel it’s important for us to have a support system, where we are free to discuss issues that we may face here in Spain.
Working with DA Madrid in any capacity is an honor. If elected I will dedicate every ounce of my passion to serve our community, increase voter registration, and show the world that the expat vote is a force to be reckoned with. Thank you for your consideration, and I’ll see you at the polls!"
As Americans overseas, we view the U.S. through an especially critical lens. When talking to citizens from other countries, we are often pushed into the role of impromptu ambassador and urged to give an opinion about the current administration. The actions taken by the U.S., which is unfortunately led by a reality TV show host with a Napoleon complex, affect the world...a cringe-worthy thought at times.
Although we live far from home, we can still make an impact. Our opinions can be heard, and our votes can make a difference. 2020 does not need to experience the same disastrous results as 2016. Democrats Abroad will ensure that we overseas Americans have a visible role in the U.S. political fabric.
As secretary of DA Madrid, I will help you to stay informed about DA events (and make sure that you feel welcome if you attend :)), write up the minutes (so you can be in-the-know if you don't attend), organize the Madrid chapter database, and provide voting information to everyone who wants to be heard in our nation's elections.
My career as a writer, editor, and content marketer has given me with the skills to support DA's communication and outreach efforts. My role as a volunteer at SOS Racismo Madrid and back home in Chicago motivates me to help alleviate the issues that affect my local community. I'd love to have the opportunity to serve the American community in Madrid. We WILL make a difference in the 2020 election.
She is currently the Treasurer of Democrats Abroad Madrid and on the road for the United Nations..
Chapter Elections Set for Sunday, March 26th, 2017
The bylaws of Democrats Abroad Spain, require that each chapter hold officer elections every two years. In compliance with this rule, DA-Madrid Chapter will hold our elections on Sunday, March 26th before our soon to be announced event Women's Healthcare and Reproductive Rights.
The positions of Chapter President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer will be elected for a two-year term, effective when the results are announced. At this time, some of the incumbents are seeking another term, but in any case, nominations for all positions are open until Thursday, March 9th. Nominations will not be taken at the time of the election, since a ballot will be sent out for voting for all positions by e-mail. The Madrid chapter adheres to the Equal Opportunity rule of the Democratic Party that the Chair and Vice Chair must be of the opposite gender.
You are welcome to nominate yourself. You can also nominate someone else; the nomination needs a second by another member, either in the same email or a follow-up email from the seconding member. The Nominations and Elections Committee will confirm that the member wishes to run. Nominations can be made by email to DAMadridVotes2017@gmail.com and must be submitted by Thursday, March 9th. The Nominations and Elections Committee may also seek out and nominate candidates.
The main duties of each officer are as follows:
President – The candidate should be a team player who works with the Executive Committee, preside over monthly meetings, and represent the Madrid Chapter on the DA Spain Ex Com. Events in the next term, include: monthly meetings, special events; and activities related to 2018 Midterm elections, including the coordination of the Get Out The Vote effort.
Vice President – An activist who can support the president and the Executive Committee in the organization of chapter meetings and events; preside over monthly meetings; and attend DA Spain Ex Com meetings in the president's absence.
Secretary – A highly organized individual with good writing and computer skills, who can maintain an up-to-date list of chapter members, take minutes at monthly meetings, post them on the website, and send out notices of meetings and special events.
Treasurer – Responsible management of the Chapter's finances, keeping accounts of chapter monies collected and spent; storing reserve funds; assisting in fundraising and presenting a monthly report at chapter meetings.
Contact the Nominations & Election Committee at: DAMadridVotes2017@gmail.com
Sarah Graves current president will not be running and has agreed to chair the nominating committee. Carolyn Baurle will help coordinate the election. More information to follow when the nominating process is complete.
Andrea and I are coming to the end of our time here in Madrid, and we want to express our appreciation for all of the enthusiasm and support you have all shown us over the past ten weeks.
I think I speak for both of us when I say that this internship took our Madrid experience from good to great. We were welcomed into a diverse community of friendly, funny, interesting Americans living in this beautiful city. We shared laughs, exchanged stories, and enjoyed food and drinks together — from Variopintos and the Kahlo Center to Retiro Park and Jim's apartment on the 4th of July. These were some of the highlights of our time here in Madrid, and they are memories that we'll never forget.
We'd like to give an extra-special thank you to Jim, who took us under his wing during the second half of our internship. Jim has been more than a supervisor to us — he's been a mentor and a friend. For that, we are truly grateful.
We'll never forget how warm and welcoming this wonderful group of people has been to us. Madrid Democrats, cheers to you!
Stephen & Andrea,
Madrid Chapter Interns
This past weekend we had the opportunity to celebrate two wonderful events: Madrid Orgullo and our annual Independence Day Picnic. The first was celebrated with 1.5 million people who rejoiced the streets of Madrid with joy and PRIDE. Democrats Abroad Madrid chapter rallied near the Reina Sofia with our colorful shirts and fun signs displaying a variety of messages such as “Grandmas for Equality” and “Straight but NOT Narrow”. This is the third year that Democrats Abroad Madrid chapter has been given the opportunity to march in the parade. An opportunity like that is just too good to pass up. With our posters in hand, we took to the streets and joined the crowd as we celebrated love and equality. Dancing our way down from Atocha to Plaza de Colon, we had a fantastic time getting to know others along the way. We shared laughs, smiles, and our free spirits!
Additionally, we were able to enjoy each other’s company once more as we met up on Sunday afternoon in Retiro Park. We met at our normal spot near the Paseo de Uruguay and laid out our blankets under some big, shady trees. Everyone brought their appetite; but even better, they shared their favorite American dish! Picture this: perfectly seasoned chicken legs, fresh bean salad on lettuce boats, a crockpot full of savory chili, refreshing fruit salad, and the list goes on! Your mouth is probably watering right about now, but for good reason! Ours was too. The food was amazing, but everyone’s company was even better. It was the perfect homestyle picnic we all love and miss. If you didn’t have the opportunity to make it out to this one, we hope to see you next year. But hopefully even sooner at our upcoming events!
As always, stay up to date with all the fun stuff going on with Madrid chapter through our Facebook , Twitter, and our emails. And I’m sure you’ve heard Stephen and say it a thousand times, but another time won’t hurt: If you’re not already registered to vote, you can do so by visiting votefromabroad.org to fill out a quick Federal Post-Card Application (FPCA). And of course, should you ever have any questions or need any help, feel free to contact Stephen or myself.
Until next time, Madrid Dems.
Madrid chapter Intern
Mouth-watering gumbo. Savory corn bread. Crisp wine from Valencia. Oh, and a bunch of fun Madrid Democrats! All that and more came together this past weekend, in celebration of the Madrid Chapter's 12th Anniversary, and to say hasta luego to Ryan Turner.
The past 12 years have been huge. Not only has our chapter helped register hundreds of Democrats living in Spain, we've also grown into an incredible, tight-knit, diverse community that knows how to have a good time. For the past several years, chapter president Ryan Turner has been the driving force behind that development. Not to mention, Ryan helped make Madrid the first Democrats Abroad chapter in the entire organization to work with passionate young interns -- he's the reason Andrea and I have the opportunity to write this post. Needless to say, he will be missed -- but his leadership is certainly worthy of Saturday night's celebration.
Our night started off with a variety of foods made by our members with some truly remarkable culinary abilities. Between the gumbo, the BBQ drumsticks, the black bean salad, the sesame pasta salad, the cheese and jalapeno corn bread, and so much more, there was plenty of good food to go around. This spread was complemented perfectly by a selection of tasty wines from Valencia, and some ice-cold brewskis perfect for Saturday's warm weather. All in all, it was quite a feast.
Following dinner, we held a great Open Mic event for everyone's entertainment. From the Vagina Monologue, to the wonderful poetry and singing, to Leandro's wild rendition of a Vargas scene, there was no shortage of applause-worthy performances. Again, we'd like to give a huge thank you to everyone who participated.
In addition to the anniversary celebration, we also gave Ryan a loving send-off, as he and his family will soon be moving to Milan. As we mentioned, Ryan has been the driving force behind the Madrid chapter for several years, and we are sad to see him go -- but excited about what the future holds for him and his family. Many members shared heartfelt words of thanks and good-wishes for Ryan, as he and his family step forward into this new phase of their life together. Nicole Pearson shared a beautiful song with us, and then led us all, loud and proud, in Bill Withers' "Lean on Me." We finished with an unveiling of a fantastic caricature of Ryan in full Real Madrid garb -- much to his delight.
The silent auction was also a huge success. Thanks to many generous members and the support of several local restaurants and bars, we had a ton of treasures to auction off. We hope everyone who placed a bid was able to get their hands on something great. A huge thank you to all of you who donated items -- this wouldn't have been possible without your generosity.
Thanks to our wonderful guests, top-quality entertainment, and delicious food, our party turned out to truly be one for the ages. We thank all members and friends who were able to attend, and we hope you enjoyed your Saturday evening as much as we did.
Muchos saludos y abrazos!
Stephen & Andrea
On Sunday, May 22nd, Ryan Turner, Democrats Abroad-Madrid Chapter’s President, publicly announced that he will be stepping down as the Madrid chapter President. While we are sad to see Ryan go, we are happy for his family as his wife received a great job opportunity in Italy.
Ryan has been Madrid’s chapter President for the past 3 years. In his time as President, he has about doubled membership through the Global Presidential Primary. This was supported through an ongoing voter engagement program with great monthly events and activities that have made the Madrid chapter one of the most dynamic in Europe.
Ryan, on behalf of Stephen and I, thank you for being such a great Supervisor. I know we have only been interns for a few short weeks, but you’ve already made such an impact on us. From teaching us the ins and outs of Democrats Abroad one week, then getting elected to be a superdelegate for Bernie Sanders in the Democratic National Convention the following week, you truly are an amazing role model.
While Democrats Abroad-Madrid chapter is incredibly sad to see you go, we are very excited to see the fruits of your efforts carry on into the future. And we will be even more excited to hear about your experience at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia next month.
Students. Community Organizers. Travelers. And as of May 17th, 2016, Federally certified Voting Assistance Officers. We are nearing the end of our third week more excited than ever. First off, hello everyone! My name is Andrea Parra. I am currently a fourth year Public Policy and Anthropology double major at the University of California, Riverside. My right-hand man is Stephen Read. He is currently a senior majoring in Political Science and Environmental Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Together, we are the newest Outreach Strategy interns for Democrats Abroad-Madrid chapter.
These past three weeks have been busy ones. Between learning the ins and outs of Democrats Abroad, meeting inspiring individuals in person and via email/skype, and mapping out our outreach goals for Democrats Abroad, we also took some time to become federally certified Voting Assistance Officers (VAOs). As VAOs, we have taken the responsibility to ensure that citizens covered by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) are aware of their voting rights and what steps need to be taken to register and vote as an absentee. Additionally, we work to provide nonpartisan voting information and assistance.
This training was especially important to us because we are currently studying abroad in Madrid, and as semester students, will not be returning home until early August. As registered voters in California, we would miss our Primary election on June 7th. Students in our program all had different theories as to how they could vote from abroad. Some said we could go to the embassy and vote on the spot. Others said we could fill a form out online. Others just decided it was too confusing and would opt out of voting. Upon completing the training, we learned that many of these theories had partial truths, however, none were entirely correct. Once we learned that the process is rather simple, we were excited to share the news with our classmates in hopes of motivating them to rock their vote for the California Primaries.
Being Federally certified to assist others is an exciting thing. Stephen and I went from knowing very little about our rights to vote from abroad, to now being able to help others with the process. We plan to use this certification to educate citizens about ALL their options, as well as encourage them all to exercise their right to vote. The time to get involved and vote is NOW. Don’t delay. Visit www.votefromabroad.org today. Should you ever have any questions about voting from abroad, don’t hesitate to ask! We’re here to help :)
P.S. In case you’re wondering what the step by step process to vote is, please see below:
Go to www.votefromabroad.org and register/request your ballot.
PRINT your ballot request.
SIGN your ballot request.
Mail your ballot request to the address provided.
- When you receive your ballot-- VOTE!
Congratulations to our very own Ryan Turner, Madrid Chapter President, on his recent delegate election at the Democrats Abroad Global Convention in Berlin!
Ryan’s dedication to Democrats Abroad Madrid is an inspiration to all of us — we know he’ll make us proud at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July. Ryan will be representing Senator Bernie Sanders, who won 9 pledged delegates with 68.8% of the vote in the Global Democratic Presidential Primary in March.
Ryan was elected in the third round, by a near unanimous vote. The first two delegates elected were Larry Sanders (you guessed it — Senator Sanders’ brother) and Penny Schantz of France. Ryan is honored to have been selected from a pool of over 200 highly qualified candidates.
We’re proud to say that Madrid and Barcelona were very well represented at the Global Convention in Berlin. Many thanks to all of the members of Democrats Abroad Spain who attended!
From all of us in the Democrats Abroad community — Congratulations, Ryan!
From right to left: Democratic National Convention delegates Ryan Turner (Madrid, ES), Penny Schantz (France), and Larry Sanders (Oxford, UK).
The Madrid Chapter of Democrats Abroad has made it a priority to show each and every Democratic Primary debate since they began 5 months ago. These debates help inform voters about where our candidates stand on the issues and were essential in helping voters around the globe decide which candidate to support in our Global Presidential Primary.
Last night, Madrid Secretary, Mike Presiado hosted the 8 edition of #MikeysElectionCorner and it was a huge success. We are looking forward to more robust debates and hosting similar viewing parties for the National Presidential debates against the republican party in the near future!
video courtesy of journalist A. León.
On Sunday, February 21, Members of the Madrid Chapter of Democrats Abroad Spain attend the Forum, "All Power to All the People: Black Organizing from the Civil Rights Movement to #BlackLivesMatter" to coincide with the Democrats Abroad Global Town Hall. Our speakers were Nicole Pearson, Activist/Organizer for over 20 years, and Stevie Evans, educator and Activist.
During the Town Hall, both campaigns addressed a question from the Madrid Chapter on the Voting Rights Act resulting from the evening's Forum. Representing the Clinton campaign was former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and representing his own campaign was Senator Bernie Sanders.
To view a photo album of this Forum and the Global Town Hall courtesy of member Robert Royal, visit us on Facebook.
For further resources and readings from the speakers of this event, click here: Black Political Activism Resource Guide