News

CONTACT YOUR CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVE ABOUT THE REPEALING OF WEP

Email OR Call Script to your legislative representative concerning repealing WEP.

To contact your Members of Congress, follow these steps:

  1. Click here and enter the address where you last lived in the U.S.
  2. It will then display your two Senators and your House Representative.
  3. Check here for the House and here for the Senate if any of your Members of Congress have already co-sponsored the bill.
  4. If your Members of Congress have not yet co-sponsored the bill, write or call (better yet, do both!) and ask them to co-sponsor the bill and to vote to pass the bill when it comes up for a vote. Be sure to ask your House Representative to co-sponsor bill number H.R. 82 and your Senators to co-sponsor S. 1302.
  5. Email [email protected] and say "DONE" in the subject line to let us know that you contacted your Members of Congress.
  6. Optional: If they have already co-sponsored, write or call to thank them for their support!
Read more

GSC 2022 August Newsletter

EDITION 6 August 2022

 

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It’s Vacation Time!

We are taking a break this summer so we can return in September at FULL STEAM. But before we go, we have some good news to share ….

Connect with us

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MEDICARE

Our WEP committee teamed up with a group in the U.S. which has been working to get HR.82 - Social Security Fairness Act of 2021 passed. The team called members of Congress, urging them to sign on as co-sponsors on HR.82 — and it worked! HR.82 now has 292 co-sponsors, and on July 15th, a motion to place the bill on the Consensus Calendar was filed. We will continue to update you on next steps.

Announcing our new Medicare FAQs page!

Special thanks go out to Diane Daniel and Toni Kamins for researching and writing our new FAQs page for our Seniors Caucus website, and to the WEP committee for their hard work on this issue. Take a look and let us know if you have any questions.


COFFEE TIME!

Our monthly coffee chats will continue through the summer via Zoom on the following dates: 29 July and 26 August

from 9am - 12pm Eastern Time (US & Canada). RSVP to get your local time and add to your calendar.

 

 

 

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VACATION MUSIC!

Here are a few tunes to get you in the summertime vacation mood. Stay cool, and have a great summer!


Joni Mitchell sings Summertime at Woodstock 1998 - with Brian Blade on drums, Greg Liesz on guitar, Larry Klein on bass, and Mark Isham on trumpet.
 
 
Hear Maayan Smith, son of Seniors Caucus member
Dan Smith playing sax on his own composition
Flight Dream

 

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GSC 2022 July Newsletter

EDITION 5 JULY 2022

 

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4th of JULY

As we prepare our BBQs and salads for our 4th of July picnics, our thoughts are with New Yorkers as they head to the subway not knowing if other passengers intend to harm them now that state open carry laws intended to protect our citizens were wiped away.

Our hearts are with the millions of women who will be adversely affected by the “Supreme” Court’s latest partisan fiasco, the demolition of Roe v. Wade. We will take to heart the statement by Democrat’s Abroad to “show up to the polls this November”!

Our thoughts also turn to Founding Father and author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson.

As much as he did to create a better union, controversy follows his legacy. Eric Jackson shares his thoughts about the man and statesman.

Connect with us
          

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GUNS, GUNS, GUNS, GUNS, GUNS

This Time It Is Different from David Hogg, Founder and Board Member of March For Our Lives; and Quick Actions we can all do.

The 2nd Amendment continues to be convoluted by the NRA and their Republicans enablers seeking more and more power.


Sometimes we need state laws;

other times we need FEDERAL laws.


Here’s why. Texas has entered uncharted territory on several issues vital to citizen safety, and now Indiana is poised to make it easier to carry a firearm in public. That worries law enforcement there and in Chicago. "Growing incidents of gun violence in Indiana, especially in Indianapolis, which experienced record-setting homicides for the second consecutive year in 2021, is why some feel the need to protect themselves with their own weapons.”

Meanwhile, having more assault rifles (ARs) on our streets puts children, teachers, citizens, and law enforcement officers at risk. Will 50 Senators stand up?? Read more

We are heartened to finally see 14 Republicans join Democrats in the House to approve the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, by 234 to 193 votes, but we wonder how New Yorkers feel riding the subway in light of the open carry law struck down by this Supreme Court this week. Is it enough? The answer is simply NO. No, we do not need assault rifles or other military grade hardware on OUR streets!

Can Dems win in November?

Pod Save America cohost Pfeiffer (Un-Trumping America) takes a punchy look at “how disinformation and propaganda became the dominant Republican political strategy, how it works, what it means, and how Democrats can fight back.” 

This podcast is the roadmap to keep the House and Senate. Read more

Local Governments Can Lead in Public Safety Movement

We are literally Marching for our Lives. Will it be enough?

“Negotiations on a federal police reform bill have collapsed because Congressional Republicans are willing to stand in the way of lifesaving changes to policing. It is time for state and local governments to take the lead in reimagining public safety. And it is time for all of us to support local leaders who are willing to show leadership and take risks to make it happen.

Change is not going to come from Congress, at least for now. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act earlier this year. It would have been a good first step. Like other good legislation, though, the bill was stopped by Republican obstruction in the Senate. Read more

Meanwhile, Dr Oz wants to secure Pennsylvania’s borders against…. New Jersey!

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OIL, OIL, OIL, OIL…

Where does it come from, where does it flow? Which countries have it, which countries need it?

I’d often wondered but never looked into it until last month, when visiting an art installation in Helsinki Finland, I saw a film made in 2005 by a Swiss documentarian about the BTS oil pipeline which runs from Baku, Azerbaijan through Turkey’s Bosphorus Sea, and is then shipped to Europe - avoiding Russia.

That got me thinking - what was the war in Chechnya about? Or the one in Georgia? And now, in Ukraine? Puzzled about the connection, but seeing in my mind that they all surrounded the Black Sea inspired me to ask — what is at stake for Russia?

The answer is easy enough — just follow the money. It is real estate, to acquire total access and control of countries surrounding the Black Sea. And that means oil. Read more

Running some google searches and looking at maps of oil pipelines, the picture soon came into focus. First, the largest pipeline in the world - the Brotherhood pipeline runs straight through Ukraine. Cancelling access to this line would badly hurt the Russian economy, as 1/3 of its revenue comes from oil. In 2021, gas delivered to Europe fell by 25%. Who is the largest consumer of Russian oil in Europe? Germany.

After Chernobyl the German voters demanded that Germany end its dependence on nuclear power. This led to an increased dependence on oil and gas from Russia. After rocking back and forth for decades, the German voters said no more oil - we want renewable energy. Germany is expanding solar power at a great rate, but is also buying oil from Russia, in roubles.

This map and article from Le Monde diplomatique gives more detail of this new oil war.

In 2021 the Biden administration lifted sanctions set in place by the previous administration for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The Nord Stream 2 would run from Vyborg, Russia through the Baltic Sea to Germany. The German government is now in talks about new Russian sanctions in Brussels, and is weighing its options.

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VOTING NEWS

Democrats Abroad Global reminds us that “By gaining only two more Democratic Senators, the Biden administration will be poised to pass legislation to secure our voting rights, our reproductive rights, and our safety.” 

But we also have a fight on our hands to keep control of the House. While we are encouraged by Beto’s landslide win in Texas; one of the most shocking wins was in Pennsylvania where celebrity heart surgeon and TV entertainer Dr Oz won his primary and will face off against Democrat John Fetterman this November. Or was it "Hillbilly Elegy" author J.D. Vance? Or was it Marjorie Taylor Green who won her primary?

We cannot stress this enough — talk to your friends and family. Paint a picture of what is at stake: Democracy. 2022 primary results, so far.

Upcoming Democratic Primary Elections

Results are rolling in on many Democratic primary elections, and more are quickly approaching. This is your chance to decide which Democrat will go up against the Republican in the November general election.

June 28: Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah
26 July: Alabama (runoff)
2 August: Arizona, Kansa, Michigan, Missouri, Washington
4 August: Tennessee
9 August: Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont, Wisconsin
13 August: Hawaii
16 August: Alaska, South Dakota (runoff), Wyoming
23 August: Florida, New York, Oklahoma (runoff)

Request your ballot early AND return it early!

Advice from FVAP:

  1. Submitting your FPCA early is the best way to help ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.
  2. Using the FPCA provides voters with an option to receive blank balloting materials electronically – and states send the ballots out 45 days before the election.
  3. Using the FPCA allows voters to use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) as a backup ballot, if needed.
  4. Voters can follow-up with their election offices to be sure their request was processed.

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TAXES

Questions? This page is a quick guide that will help you find many answers. Also, the IRS has a dedicated page for International Taxpayers.

Tax Return Assistance

If you need assistance preparing your return, the DA Taxation Task Force team referred me to this list of tax preparers on the IRS site. Some things to keep in mind for your search:

  • Check the boxes for Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and/or Enrolled Agent Credential (EA) for your search.
  • Please note we strongly recommend that you speak to at least 3 companies before deciding on which one to go with and make sure that they are a CPA or an EA if you seek the services of an accountant (more on that here).
  • Do not be afraid to ask for references and to speak to at least 2 satisfied clients of theirs before deciding to engage their services.
  • Do not be afraid to research until you find one in your budget. Prices range wildly in this space, and chances are there is someone that is able to assist you within your budget, it just takes patience and research to find the right match for your circumstances.

If you would like to be notified the next time we host another tax webinar, you can join the Democrats Abroad Taxation Task Force mailing list by going here: https://www.democratsabroad.org/taxation

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HEALTH

Learn Tai Chi

Senior Caucus member Dan Smith brought this to our attention this month - learning Tai Chi at home. Not only do you build core strength, it helps with balance and calm — much needed these days! Learn more

Low Impact Yoga

I love these low impact workout videos on YouTube.

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MEDICARE, SOCIAL SECURITY & AGING

Sign this Petition (please)

In 2022, Medicare increased its premiums by the largest amount ever―largely in anticipation of an expensive Alzheimer’s drug called Aduhelm. But because of scrutiny from advocates like Social Security Works, the manufacturer cut the price of the drug by nearly $30,000, and then Medicare severely restricted its use because it was ineffective. Now, Medicare is charging seniors inflated premiums every single month.

When every other price is rising, this is one that should be going down. But the Biden administration just announced that they won’t reduce the premiums for the rest of the year, as they had previously suggested that they might. They need to reverse this decision, now.

Here’s what’s clear: Seniors should never have had their premiums increased to pay for an ineffective, dangerous, and massively overpriced drug. Not only is lowering Medicare premiums the right thing to do, but it's also a political necessity. Older voters are a key force in midterm elections. Keeping Medicare premiums needlessly high until after the election is a gift to Mitch McConnell and his fellow Republicans. Every congressional Democrat who wants to keep their seat in November should join us in calling on the Biden administration to reverse this decision and lower Medicare premiums now! Click here to….

Tell the Biden Administration: Make this right―stop overcharging seniors for their Medicare premiums and issue rebate checks to make up for the period when they were paying inflated premiums!

Thanks,

Michael Phelan, Social Security Works

NO! to Medicare Advantage

Following on the heels of our article in last months newsletter “Joe Biden is Quietly Pursuing the Creeping Privatization of Medicare”, here are some of the horrors of Medicare Advantage. Read more

Time to save Social Security, Medicare is NOW

WHAT is the problem with saving Social Security? Dems propose to do so by raising the maximum salary cap. It’s currently at $147,000.

“According to the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, half of all working-age families have $5,000 or less in retirement savings. That picture will only worsen during this time of high inflation.”

HOW is it being blocked? “The gag rule, commonly called the filibuster, makes it worse. Originally, it required opponents of a bill to hold the floor and keep talking. Now, it prevents debate from even beginning without the support of 60 senators.” Read more — if you dare…

See our Chair Betsy Ettore ask questions about WEP on this web event with Wisconsinites Abroad.

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NEWS AND STORIES FROM HOME AND ABROAD

Why Making Friends in Midlife Is So Hard

I thought I was done dating. But after moving across the country, I had to start again —this time, in search of platonic love. Read more

Your Work Peak is Earlier Than You Think

“It’s not true that no one needs you anymore.”

These words came from an elderly woman sitting behind me on a late-night flight from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. The plane was dark and quiet. A man I assumed to be her husband murmured almost inaudibly in response, something to the effect of “I wish I was dead.” Again, the woman: “Oh, stop saying that.”

Read more

What Baby Boomers can learn from Millennials at work — and vice versa

For the first time ever, we have five generations in the workplace at the same time, says entrepreneur Chip Conley. What would happen if we got intentional about how we all work together? In this accessible talk, Conley shows how age diversity makes companies stronger and calls for different generations to mentor each other at work, with wisdom flowing from old to young and young to old alike. Listen to this TedTalk.

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EVENTS

Look for 4th of July picnics and parties this month.

There is something for everyone at Democrats Abroad.

25 June: Juneteenth with hosts Global Black Caucus & Veterans Military Caucus

28 June: Heavyweight speakers will be answering our questions about Washington DC online. RVSP for Demystifying the DNC.

4 July: Join your local chapter and receive invites for parties.

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CHAIRS’ CORNER

I write to you from the middle of nowhere in the forest in Finland. I am mourning the loss of Roe v. Wade as I just heard that this momentous decision was overturned an hour ago. It was our generation who benefitted from Roe v. Wade and I know of countless women, feminists or not, who were able to have abortions safely and openly. What a truly sad day. I also have been listening to the January 6th Committee hearings and am riveted to what I am hearing. I am also impressed by the chair, Hon. Bennie Thompson and the vice chair, Hon. Liz Cheney -  what upstanding patriots and Americans they indeed are. Let us all hope that the work the committee is doing will have a lasting effect on the hearts and minds of all Americans. We need to protect our votes and we need to have honest people to hold the office of President of the United States.

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FRAUD CORNER

15 Ways we give social media companies personal data

Crypto Cash - RobertReich highlights how this fraud scheme targets seniors

Thanks to Eric Jackson for these contributions.

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STATE TEAMS — JOIN NOW

State Teams were launched in September 2021. This initiative is designed to enhance DA’s voter assistance, voter mobilization and advocacy by

  • Building partnerships with State and County Democratic Parties as well as grassroots advocacy groups
  • Providing connection and a sense of purpose in staying engaged with domestic politics (“skin in the game”)
  • Engaging and educating new members
  • Enhancing internal communication with newsletters and voter/election alerts

➔ Join the State Team Slack group to get the meeting links, or email us

➔ Join your Voting State group on Facebook

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IN SEARCH OF VOLUNTEERS…

We are still looking for volunteers for the Global Senior Caucus Steering Committee.

What does a member of the Steering Committee involve?

  • Good communication skills in meetings and enjoying the company of others.
  • Steering Committee Meetings are via WebEx once a month (the 1st Wednesday of the month) for 60-90 minutes at 8 am Eastern Time.
  • Taking on a specific role on the Steering Committee and helping the Caucus to organize around your role.
  • Please click here to find out more and to contact us.

The Global Communications Team is also looking for volunteers as they ramp up for the midterms! Do you have a communications background and are interested in helping? If so, please fill out the Global Communications Team Interest Form. Thanks!

The Global Black Caucus is searching to fill more positions. Get in touch here.

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THIS MONTH IN U.S. HISTORY

2 July 1964: President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act into law.

4 July 1803: President Thomas Jefferson announces the Louisiana Purchase. The price tag: $15million, about 4 cents per acre.

8 July 1796: The first U.S. passport is issued.

20 July 1958: President Dwight d. Eisenhower signs a bill creating the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. (NASA)

26 July 1775: Benjamin Franklin became the first Postmaster General.

Many more historical events are listed here for July.

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Final Thoughts


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2022 May/June Newsletter

EDITION 4 MAY/JUNE 2022

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MOTHERS DAY

is celebrated around the world, but on different days. The volume of flowers sent on Mother’s Day is only eclipsed by Christmas/Hanukkah. This year we can also remember our mothers by donating our time and money to food banks. In June we are also celebrating LGBTQ+ Pride Month and Father’s Day. Find the date your country of residence celebrates, and did you know — Father’s Day began in West Virginia. .

          

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NEWS & INFO

The shockwaves of the possibility of losing Roe v Wade outweighed the news of Ukraine this week. In case you missed reading Alito’s draft, you can find it here. We’ve included stories from women, men, nurses, and more in our Health section.

Women Consistently Earn Less Than Men

Women are over-represented in lower paying jobs and, as they age, the pay gap widens even more. The U.S. Census Bureau’s Quarterly Workforce Indicators (QWI) shows the pay and age dynamic of women and men. Here, we looked at workers ages 35-44.

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TAX NEWS

Americans living overseas have an automatic 60 day filing deadline for taxes, until 15 June. However, if you file a tax extension (use form 4868), that date moves to 15 October – a full 6 month extension. Questions? This page is a quick guide that will help you find many answers. Also, the IRS has a dedicated page for International Taxpayers.

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VOTING NEWS

Upcoming Democratic Primary Elections

Results are rolling in on many Democratic primary elections, and more are quickly approaching. This is your chance to decide which Democrat will go up against the Republican in the November general election.

May 24: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Texas (runoff)

June 7: California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota

June 14: Maine, Nevada,North Dakota, South Carolina

June 21: Virginia, Washingtonians (DC)

June 28: Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah

Request your ballot early AND return it early!

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HEALTH

How aging affects focus

Just as you may not run as fast or jump as high as you did as a teenager, your brain’s cognitive power—that is, your ability to learn, remember, and solve problems—slows down with age. You may find it harder to summon once familiar facts or divide your attention among two or more activities or sources of information. These changes affect your ability to focus, so you may find yourself getting more easily distracted than you were when you were younger. Hearing loss that often accompanies aging… Read more

This month women and men are facing an unprecedented attack on our civil rights. We’ve gathered a few stories about women, men, children and families facing the end of Roe v Wade protections.

I’m an abortion Nurse. These Stories Might Shock You, But They’re All Too Real

I am witness to my patients’ stories. “She was a princess,” she whispers as she wakens from her medicated sleep. A foreign prince is the father and he refuses to marry her. So she chooses her life over the princess’s because, in her culture, having a baby out of wedlock is punishable by death. She is an engineer and was given 24 hours off work. With the new abortion law in her state, nearby clinics rejected her. So, she drives…. Read more

My 11-Year-Old Patient Was Pregnant. Here's What I Want You To Know About Being ‘Pro-Life'

Our medical assistant came to me, panicked, and handed me a positive test. ... 'Run it again,' I sputtered — to buy some time and gather my wits and hope by some miracle it would produce a different result. Read more

My Great-Grandpa Killed My Great-Grandma Giving Her An Abortion On Their Kitchen Table

"Come say goodbye to your mother," he told my grandmother as he brought her and her siblings into the kitchen, where their mother lay dying. Read more

Ruth Barnett, Portland’s foremost abortionist before Roe v. Wade, endured arrests, lived high life

Ruth Barnett was in her mid-70s and dying from cancer when she landed in prison. And none of her powerful friends were willing to speak up on her behalf. “Where are those thousands of people you helped over the years?” her lawyer asked her, in frustration, as her sentencing loomed. “Where are all the people with influence and money and position?” Barnett’s response: “I haven’t been able to find them.” Read more

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MEDICARE & AGING

New senior-focused ads from Democrats hit Scott’s plans for Medicare, Social Security

Democrats are launching an ad campaign targeting seniors to highlight Republican Sen. Rick Scott's push to have Congress to reauthorize legislation every five years. The proposal in the 11-point plan from Scott, a Florida Republican and chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, is the focus of… Read more

Joe Biden is Quietly Pursuing the Creeping Privatization of Medicare

Last November 30, a collection of physicians and activists were in Washington, DC, its federal buildings still largely closed for business thanks to the pandemic and fear of another Trumpist uprising. They were there to protest what they warned was an attempt to end Medicare as we know it. Read more

Discussion Paper on Aging & Disability

This Discussion Paper has been prepared as a contribution to a joint initiative on aging and disability undertaken by the National Council on Ageing and Older People and the National Disability Authority.  Read more

Attitudes about Aging: A Global Perspective

In a Rapidly Graying World, Japanese Are Worried, Americans Aren’t. At a time when the global population of people ages 65 and older is expected to triple to 1.5 billion by mid-century, public opinion on whether the growing number of older people is a problem varies dramatically around the world, according to a Pew Research Center survey. Read more

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NEWS AND STORIES FROM HOME AND ABROAD

Elderly Widower Finds A Fishing Partner After Posting A Tearjerking Classified Ad

Life is not easy when you get old. In fact, many older adults face so much pain and loss as they outlive their loved ones, one by one. Then there are the many health ailments that accompany old age. One widower already faced his share of troubles after losing his wife and fishing partner, but he refused to give in to the gloom and loneliness. Instead, he turned to the internet to find a new fishing partner. Read more

Woman Follows Little Boy Who Takes Leftovers from Her Restaurant Every Day

One night while at her restaurant until near closing time, a little boy came in to speak with the chef. From the start of the conversation, it was obvious that the boy and chef already knew each other. As soon as the chef saw the boy, he immediately knew what he was in the restaurant for. Read more

Scientists Discover Children’s Cells Living in Mothers’ Brains

The link between a mother and child is profound, and new research suggests a physical connection even deeper than anyone thought. The profound psychological and physical bonds shared by the mother and her child begin during gestation when the mother is everything for the developing fetus, supplying warmth and sustenance, while her heartbeat provides a soothing constant rhythm. Read more

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THIS MONTH IN U.S. HISTORY

23 May 1810: Journalist Margaret Fuller was born in Cambridgeport, Massachusetts. She became the first American woman to serve as a foreign correspondent, reporting for the New York Tribune.

23 May 1846: The first American female attorney Arabella Mansfield was born near Burlington, Iowa. She was instrumental in the founding of the Iowa Suffrage Society in 1870.

28 May 1961: Amnesty International was formed.

3 June 1972: Sally Jan Priesand was ordained a rabbi thus becoming the first woman rabbi in the U.S.

5 June: An economic anomaly - both Adam Smith (1723) and Maynard Keynes (1883) were born on this day.

6 June 1872: Susan B. Anthony was fined for voting in a Presidential election

Many more historical events are listed here for May and here for June. 

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UPCOMING EVENTS

From book clubs and cocktail hour trivia nights, to what’s coming up in the primaries in 2022, there is something for everyone at Democrats Abroad.

27 May: Coffee Time!: The Seniors Global Caucus (that’s us!) is inviting you to coffee! We plan to meet each month to discuss whatever is on our minds. Please join us - RSVP here.

29 May: GOTV Voter Assistance training. See local times online and RSVP here.

28 June Heavyweight speakers will be answering our questions about Washington DC online. RVSP for Demystifying the DNC.

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CHAIR’S CORNER

In May and June, we celebrate two holidays – Mother’s Day in May and Father Day in June. Sadly, the war in Ukraine is continuing and we cannot celebrate world peace. This is an appropriate segue into the origins of Mother’s Day from Heather Cox Richardson, the well-known American historian. She tells us “As the reality of women’s lives is being erased” (i.e., by the potential elimination of Roe vs Wade) “in favour of an image of women as mothers”, she wanted to point out why Mother’s Day began in 1908.

At that time, Anna Jarvis decided to honor her mother. Richardson tells us “Mothers’ Day” actually “started in the 1870s, when the sheer enormity of the death caused by the Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War convinced American women that women must take control of politics from the men who had permitted such carnage. Mothers’ Day was not designed to encourage people to be nice to their mothers. It was part of women’s effort to gain power to change modern society.” She noted, “Men were trampled into blood-soaked mud, piled like cordwood in ditches, or transformed into emaciated corpses after dysentery drained their lives away…. The women who had watched their men march off to war were haunted by its results. They lost fathers, husbands, sons. The men who did come home were scarred in body and mind.”

When First Lady Jill Biden celebrated Mother’s Day with an unannounced visit to western Ukraine, she was continuing this noble pursuit of gaining power though peace. She visited Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska at a school currently being used to house internally displaced Ukrainians. On her Facebook page, Biden posted: “On this Mother’s Day, my heart is with you, First Lady Olena Zelenska, and all of the brave and resilient mothers of Ukraine.”

Father's Day was inaugurated in the early 20th century to complement Mother's Day. Again, war was a feature of this day. Father’s Day was founded in Spokane, Washington at the YMCA in 1910 by Sonora Smart Dodd. Her father, the Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, was a single parent who raised his six children there. After hearing a sermon about Jarvis's Mother's Day she told her pastor that fathers should have a similar holiday honoring them.

So, when we think of these days, let’s remember also that in today’s world we have all sorts of mothers and fathers. These mothers and fathers are not only in heterosexual relationships but also represent lesbian, gay and transgender families. They may also be part of immigrant, minority and oppressed groups. Let’s celebrate this diversity as we also remember our own parents.

Finally, I would like to celebrate with you the confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson as an Associate Justice for the Supreme Court. It was a difficult confirmation. I felt horrified and sometimes physically sick by how this dear judge was treated by some Senators in the Judiciary Committee. It felt to me as if their words were shaped by racism and misogyny. Nevertheless, this well-qualified and intelligent woman was confirmed. I am currently reading the biography of Constance Baker Motley, another judge who was an inspiration for Justice Jackson. Both are inspirational women and patriotic Americans.

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FRAUD CORNER

Former FBI & CIA Director William Webster warns about Elder Fraud

WHAT? She promised him a good time with a Nigerian princess, and nobody would ever know? Or something? USUALLY scam artists are craftier than that. The smarter ones do some homework and have an idea of the emotional or identity buttons they might push. See more

Charities and non-profit organizations

As we look forward to outcomes from the myriad of lawsuits against the former President, in this article we look back over the past 4 years to remind us of some of the lawsuits concerning Donald Trump, now settled, against charities and non-profit organizations.

At IOP Disinformation Conference, Obama Warns of “Anger, Resentment, Conflict, Division” Monetized Online

Some countries put up with being used as platforms for international online swindles, so long as they are not aimed at their own citizens. The journalist who covers such stuff in those countries, when looking up the fraud artists online, finds a plethora of bogus promotional stuff, made to look like it's from other sources. Search engines are gamed so that disinformation about the scam is the first several pages of anything that comes up. This criminal modus operandi was common enough before being introduced into politics. Now it has a life in the political discourse of the United States and a number of other countries.

Former President Barack Obama joined Nobel and Pulitzer laureates and other top journalists at a University of Chicago conference last month on Disinformation and the Erosion of Democracy. The discussion needs to continue far and wide, and get deeper. Those of us who were taught how the Nazis adapted the late 19th century Wall Street "big lie" ad campaigns — typically about patent medicines at the time — and applied them to German racist politics in 1930s media should update our knowledge about how this sort of thing is done today. With the former president, Filipina Nobel laureate journalist Maria Ressa and Pulitzer prize winner Anne Applebaum we get the lay of the cyber-landscape on which we must fight this year's campaign.

Thanks to Eric Jackson for these contributions.

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TECH CORNER

Have a library card? You can read, listen and stream movies online at Hoopla.

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STATE TEAMS NEWS

State Teams were launched in September 2021. This initiative is designed to enhance DA’s voter assistance, voter mobilization and advocacy by

➔ Building partnerships with State and County Democratic Parties as well as grassroots advocacy groups

➔ Providing connection and a sense of purpose in staying engaged with domestic politics (“skin in the game”)

➔ Engaging and educating new members

➔ Enhancing internal communication with newsletters and voter/election alerts

Join the State Team Slack group to get the meeting links, or email us

Join your Voting State group on Facebook

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DA IS GETTING A NEW WEBSITE!

Further to our appeal in our April newsletter, we have now raised 2/3’s of the funds needed. The work is nearly done, but we still need more funding to complete and implement the new site. If you can, Please chip in today!

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IN SEARCH OF VOLUNTEERS...

We are still looking for volunteers for the Global Senior Caucus Steering Committee. What does a member of the Steering Committee involve?

  • Good communication skills in meetings and enjoying the company of others.
  • Steering Committee Meetings are via WebEx once a month (the 1st Wednesday of the month) for 60-90 minutes at 8 am Eastern Time.
  • Taking on a specific role on the Steering Committee and helping the Caucus to organize around your role.

Please click here to find out more and to contact us.

The Global Communications Team is also looking for volunteers as they ramp up for the midterms! Do you have a communications background and are interested in helping? If so, please fill out the Global Communications Team Interest Form. Thanks!

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QUOTES

If it was about babies, we’d have free lactation consultants, free diapers, free formula.

If it was about babies, we’d have free and excellent childcare from newborns on, paid maternity AND paternity leave.

If it was about babies, we’d have universal preschool and pre-k and guaranteed after school placements.

If it was about babies, IVF and adoption wouldn’t just be for folks with thousands and thousands of dollars to spend on expanding their families.

Leila Cohan on Twitter


If the environment were a bank, it would have been saved by now. — Bernie Sanders


Catherine O’Hara on Aging in Hollywood: “We Should Embrace and Respect Age”

"I don’t want to get surgery and I don’t want to get needles, other than acupuncture needles," the 'Schitt's Creek' star said about whether she'd have any work done.


Merritt Heaton, Illinois Oldest Farmer Steals the Show on Johnny Carson

**click on the picture to open the video

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May Newsletter

EARTH DAY was Friday, 22 APRIL

Across the planet people are joining communities, contacting officials, signing petitions, planting trees, picking up plastic and more.

Earth Hour invites us all to join together, all over the world to take action!    What did you do? 

          

 


WE HAVE A NEW JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT!

The Democrats you helped elect in 2020 are making many “firsts” in history to the benefit of Americans both at home and abroad. On Thursday, 7 April, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed as the first Black woman to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court! We’re celebrating this moment and excited by the lived experiences Justice Jackson will bring to the Court. She is a brilliant legal mind who will undoubtedly shape our nation’s future for the better for generations to come. Read DA’s full statement here.


VOTING NEWS

Upcoming Democratic Primary Elections

Democratic primary elections are quickly approaching in many states. This is your chance to decide which Democrat will go up against the Republican in the November general election.

May 3:    Indiana, Ohio

May 10: Nebraska, West Virginia

May 17: Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania

May 19: Idaho

May 24: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Texas (runoff)

Request your ballot early AND return it early!

VOTING ALERT!


Here is what happened in Texas in January, and it could happen in other states too. 


Voting by Mail in Texas - 
by Alice Embree Jan. 13, 2022

“Texas Alliance for Retired Americans (TARA) has challenged the legality of new Texas voter suppression laws. We also discuss the issue of nonpartisan redistricting. Listen to this blog by a longtime Austin writer and activist, Alice Embree, guests Jan Lance, retired Austin ISD teacher and president of the Texas Alliance for Retired Americans (TARA), and Julie Fleming, a TARA activist.  TARA “seeks to enroll, educate and mobilize retired union, senior and community activists into a statewide grassroots movement advocating on behalf of Texas retirees and seniors.” Read more

Even Willie Nelson and wife Annie D’Angela-Nelson had trouble voting in the Texas primary - Friday, March 25, 2022 by April Slese

“It seems that no Texan is immune from the difficulties of trying to cast a ballot and adhere to the state’s stringent new voting laws. According to the Austin American-Statesman, it took Willie Nelson and his wife, Annie D’Angelo-Nelson, two attempts before they were able to vote absentee in the recent primary. D’Angelo-Nelson told the newspaper that it was ‘ridiculously difficult’ to try and cast a ballot. The two had trouble with SB 1’s identification requirement that states a voter must use the same ID to cast a ballot as the one they used when they first registered to vote.” Read more


STATE TEAM NEWS

State Teams were launched in September 2021. This initiative is designed to enhance DA’s voter assistance, voter mobilization and advocacy by 

Building partnerships with State and County Democratic Parties as well as grassroots advocacy groups

Providing connection and a sense of purpose in staying engaged with domestic politics (“skin in the game”)

Engaging and educating new members

Enhancing internal communication with newsletters and voter/election alerts

Join the State Team Slack to get the meeting links or email us

Join your Voting State group on Facebook


HEALTH & MEDICARE

With the passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act last month, President Biden also authorized the very first Medicare Portability pilot program so that Americans like you and I may one day soon be able to draw our hard-earned benefits from abroad.
Our voices from abroad matter, and they are being heard by this administration!

Medicare must negotiate drug prices to stop more massive premium increases

Alex Lawson, 10 January 2022

(Washington, DC) — The following is a statement from Alex Lawson, Executive Director of Social Security Works, on the announcement that Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra will order Medicare to reconsider plans to increase premiums:

“Today’s announcement from Secretary Becerra is good news for seniors. Older Americans should not have to pay $22 more for Medicare every month to cover the outrageous prices of prescription drugs. 

Medicare will likely avoid such a large increase for one reason: Public pressure recently forced the pharmaceutical company Biogen to cut the price of Aduhelm, a controversial new Alzheimer’s drug, in half. But we can never rely on pharmaceutical corporations to do the right thing….” Read more

Tell Congress to Require Medicare to Negotiate Drug Prices

Americans already pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs and pharmaceutical corporations continue to raise prices. Meanwhile, retirees and their families can’t afford the medicines their doctors prescribe.

The Alliance for Retired Americans has posted this petition to tell Congress to take action on this vital issue. Take action — Sign today!

The Political Folly of Siding with Pharma

With the narrowest of majorities, a complex set of policy issues, and huge differences between moderates and progressives, the path to the biggest, boldest piece of progressive legislation in recent memory was always going to be bumpy. Disagreements and disappointment were inevitable. But I have rarely seen a more selfish and self-defeating act than what three House Democrats did yesterday. As the Wall Street Journal reported:

“Democratic Reps. Scott Peters of California, Kurt Schrader of Oregon, and Kathleen Rice of New York voted against a measure enabling Medicare to negotiate for lower prescription drug costs in a House Energy and Commerce Committee vote Wednesday, preventing it from advancing when the panel deadlocked in a 29-29 tie.” Read more…

12 Mindless Habits that are Exhausting You

Feeling tired no matter how much rest you get? These behaviors you probably do every day could be to blame.

#1 Watching emotionally charged television shows!

One of the ways binge-watching emotionally charged TV shows can lead to mental exhaustion is through trait identification, which refers to the process of temporarily imagining yourself experiencing the same feelings and events of a specific character. Read more


Correction to March Newsletter by Toni Kamins, Co-Chair, Medicare Part B committee, Medicare Portability committee

Ms. Foss is right when she says that Medicare is unclear and difficult to navigate. As such, it’s understandable that we all have difficulty assessing our benefits, understanding our rights, and understanding Medicare.

To clear up a few things, Medicare Part B is part of the federal-government-run health-insurance program for those over 65, and it's not-for-profit. Medicare Advantage, which is offered as a comprehensive substitute for Medicare Parts A, B, D, and Medigap, is private, for-profit insurance. And yes, she is correct, that their agenda is about profits. Big profits. 

The insurance offered under the ACA (Obama care) is also private insurance provided by for-profit insurance companies that agreed to deliver specific sets of benefits via the federal and state ACA web portals. The doctors in those insurance-company networks are private clinicians and not employees of the federal government, unlike the US Public Health Service.

Finally, Physicians for Single Payer Healthcare is a national organization, and not limited to Kentucky.


image7.pngTAX NEWS

 If you owe tax to the IRS, it must be paid by 15 April. However, as Americans abroad we do not have to file our tax returns until 15 June, and if you file a tax extension (use form 4868), that date moves to 15 October – a full 6 month extension. 

The Democrats Abroad 2022 tax survey of Americans abroad ends today! 
Click here to take the survey. (Thank you for participating!)

 


NEWS AND STORIES FROM HOME AND ABROAD


The Loneliness, Loss and Regret: what getting old really feels like – new study (UK, September 2021)

Paula, 72, told me how four years ago she’d lost her husband. She had been his carer for over ten years, as he slowly declined from a degenerative condition. Read more

This health care practice robs many seniors of vitality and life in their twilight years

A year ago, a prolonged surgery and trips back to theatre to battle the complications affected his memory …  Read more 

Why so many elderly in China are unvaccinated

For weeks the authorities in Shanghai tried to stem an outbreak of covid-19 with a whack-a-mole approach. Individual buildings were locked down...Read more 


THIS MONTH IN U.S. HISTORY

April 4, 1949 - Twelve nations signed the treaty creating NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The nations united for common military defense against the threat of expansion by Soviet Russia into Western Europe.

April 8, 1913 - The 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified requiring direct popular election of U.S. senators. Previously, they had been chosen by state legislatures.

Many more historical events are listed here. 


UPCOMING EVENTS

April showers bring May flowers, and our Events are blooming too! 

Sunday, 10 April: The Seniors Caucus had its 2nd WEP meeting. We will update you in our next newsletter, so stay tuned for that.

Tuesday, 3 May: The DA Taxation Task Force is holding a session to recruit volunteers. 

Wednesday, 4 May the Women’s Caucus is launching a project to promote voter registration under the theme Reproductive Rights for ALL.

17 May: World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 

The ITU has chosen this year’s theme as: “Digital technologies for older person and healthy aging” to raise awareness about the important role of telecommunications/ICTs in supporting people to stay healthy, connected and independent, physically, emotionally and financially – to a life of healthy ageing - and as critical for the sustainability of economic and health systems.

From book clubs and cocktail hour trivia nights to heavyweight speakers answering our questions about Washington DC, Demystifying the DNC, and what’s coming up in the primaries in 2022, there is something for everyone at Democrats Abroad.


CHAIR’S CORNER

In April, we saw the escalation of the war in Ukraine, and I understood from some DA colleagues that many American Seniors abroad are quite worried about this state of affairs. Yes, we need to be hopeful and indeed supportive of our government’s policies with regards to this war. As I said in March’s Chair’s Corner many, if not all of us, “remember the trauma of World War II and many of us, had fathers and relatives who participated in that war. War always brings suffering and trauma.” Let us hope that this war does not drag on and that we can celebrate a peaceful solution to this conflict.

I am happy to report that our WEP Committee had its first meeting on April 6th and a smaller group met on April 9th. We are working hard to come together to eliminate WEP. I would like to thank Rebecca Lammers, Chair of the Taxation Task Force for her help and leadership in our formation of this WEP committee. Also, the Medicare Part B/ Medicare Portability Committee had our first meeting on April 14th. We are liaising with the Medicare Portability Task Force (MPTF), chaired by Heather Stone and thank her for her help. In our new Seniors Medicare Part B Committee, chaired by Toni Kamins (who is also a member of the MPTF) we are hoping to have a clear understanding of Medicare Part B for those of us living abroad as well as to make Medicare Portable. Thank you to all those members of the Seniors Caucus who volunteered for these committees. We need many hands on deck.

Finally, I would like to celebrate with you the confirmation of Ketanji Brown Jackson as an Associate Justice for the Supreme Court. It was a difficult confirmation. I felt horrified and sometimes physically sick by how this dear judge was treated by some Senators in the Judiciary Committee. It felt to me as if their words were shaped by racism and misogyny. Nevertheless, this well-qualified and intelligent woman was confirmed. I am currently reading the biography of Constance Baker Motley, another judge who was an inspiration for Justice Jackson. Both are inspirational women and patriotic Americans. 


FRAUD CORNER

Thanks to Steering Committee member Tilly Gaillard for bringing this to our attention — fraud police in France that help elderly people with issues relating to fraud, online security and more. 

We also found that the UK has a similar program. If you know of one in your country, please write us an email to let us know so we can share that information with our members. Thanks!

Top 10 Scams Targeting Seniors

By Robert Scott

Seniors are being targeted with financial scams more and more each year. According to a consumer report from Georgia, financial scams are now considered “the crime of the 21st century.” In this first report we will identify the Top 10 Scams Targeting Seniors and we will examine other aspects of these scams in subsequent articles. Read more…

Why Fraud is so Wide Spread? A bit of history…

We missed this anniversary in last month’s newsletter, but the next time you get angry at some breach of your privacy via social media, thank Jeff Flake, the Republican Party, and their corporate “constituents”. THIS is Republican governance. Read more


TECH CORNER

Memorizing multiple passwords can be a pain, but it's downright dangerous to use the same one for everything, and online privacy is not the place you want to be cutting corners. With many employees still working remotely, it's never been more essential to make sure that your online presence is secure and safe from prying eyes.  Please click here to find out more on how to keep your passwords safe! As promised, here is the latest on the best apps to keep your passwords safe. 


IN SEARCH OF VOLUNTEERS...

We are still looking for volunteers for the Global Senior Caucus Steering Committee. What does a member of the Steering Committee involve?

  • Good communication skills in meetings and enjoying the company of others.
  • Steering Committee Meetings are via WebEx once a month (the 1st Wednesday of the month) for 60-90 minutes at 8 am Eastern Time.
  • Taking on a specific role on the Steering Committee and helping the Caucus to organize around your role. 

Please click here to find out more and to contact us.

The Global Communications Team is also looking for volunteers as they ramp up for the midterms! Do you have a communications background and are interested in helping? If so, please fill out the Global Communications Team Interest Form. Thanks!


DA IS GETTING A NEW WEBSITE!

From time to time, websites need to be updated, with new technology and a fresh look. It’s more important than ever in this election year to have a strong digital presence. 

We’ve been working on the new design, and are working to put it into place, but we need your help – more funding. If you can, please help with this vital upgrade that will help us reach more Americans like you, living abroad, to VOTE this year.   Please chip in today!


image9.jpgGRATITUDE: THE SHORT FILM BY LOUIE SCHWARTZBERG

 “The one day that’s given to you – right now. The only appropriate response is ... gratefulness.” 

The invitation: Open up your heart and feel grateful for this day, the beauty of this planet, the people we meet.

Watch now as we celebrate the 52nd EARTH DAY on 22 April.


 MEMBERS OF THE STEERING COMMITTEE

Chair Betsy Ettorre (Finland)
Vice Chair Jim Dobson (Finland)
Secretary Lois Floyd (Panama)
IT Will Prescott (Mexico)
GOTV (Get Out The Vote) Jim Mercereau (Spain)
Legislation and WEP Antonio Nichols (Austria)
Medicare Portability Marnie Delaney (France)
Communications, Social Media, Newsletter Lauren Hakulinen (France)
Eric Jackson (Panama)
Member/Volunteers Recruitment Tilly Gaillard (France)
Dan Smith (Israel)
Member-at-Large
Karen Lee (Greece)
Melanie Gardner (Canada)
Robert Scott (Germany)
Member (ex-officio)
Candice Kerestan Chair, Democrats Abroad 
Katie Solon, DNC, DA Member (Germany)

 


Screen_Shot_2022-04-29_at_5.24.19_PM.pngSC3.png


April Newsletter

  Click here to download the pdf!

Welcome to all of our new members! We hope you enjoy being here.

We had an overwhelming response to our email last month about WEP, and now have a very healthy sized WEP committee. Look for the announcement below on how to attend the upcoming meeting on 6 April.

          

VOTING in the 2022 mid-term election is VITAL TO OUR DEMOCRACY

GSC1.pngContinuing from last months’ newsletter, we remind you that on November 8, 2022, 34 U.S. Senators, 435 U.S. Representatives, 46 State legislatures, and 36 governors will be elected. State primaries begin in May. Voting has never been more important.

To see which Senate seats are up for grabs this year, click on this 2022 election map -- hover over states for information on incumbents, open seats, recent Senate and presidential election margins of victory, and race ratings.

To our new members, we URGE you to check your Voter Registration, and then Request your Ballot. Even if you’ve received ballots before, this year may be different. Depending which state you vote in, you may not automatically receive your ballot each election cycle as you had in the past, so to be sure you’re ready to vote and to avoid confusion or even disappointment when it comes time to vote. Check your voter registration status, and request your ballot at VotefromAbroad.


If
you’ve never used the VFA website before, just click here, then click on the RED START button, and you will be led through the registration and ballot request process. When complete, you will have requested your ballot(s) for all elections in 2022.

Here you’ll find voting deadline and ballot return information for your state's upcoming elections. Choose your state from the drop-down menu.


TAX NEWS

With tax season looming, more DA leaders are organizing Tax Webinar for us overseas voters. You won’t want to miss this one, hosted by DAUK, this webinar is available to view online through 8 April 2022. They ask for a small donation to view it.

Tax Filing — Have question or problems with filing? Is this your first year abroad?

Not to worry - below we’ve shared a few links to help you get organized. 

If you have questions, need help on anything tax advocacy related, or if you are interested in joining the TTF please don't hesitate to reach out to Rebecca Lammers.

  • The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide assists with online queries.  providing virtual tax assistance to anyone, free of charge, with a focus on taxpayers who are over 50. That’s us! 
  • The IRShas a helpline and these pages are designed specifically for international taxpayers. 
  • Form 1040SR can be used for those 65 an over (born before 1 January 1957). 
  • Form 2555 is used to reporting Foreign Earned Income. 
  • Best of all - you can file online, for FREE with e-file: https://www.e-file.com/ HOWEVER, you will need a US mobile phone number. You can get a US mobile phone number on SKYPE.

HEALTH & MEDICARE

How are you Feeling Today?  Last month our Vice Chair Jim Dobson shared his thoughts on Exercise and Aging - Part 1. Even as the pandemic restrictions ease in some places, we should keep asking ourselves - am I moving enough? Am I making excuses to stay in, not walk, not stay mobile? Here is Part Two on Exercise and Aging.

Exercise and Aging- Part Two - by Jim Dobson

Last month I suggested that regular exercise is a key aspect of managing one’s aging — that it reduces the health risks that accompany aging and that it allows for a more engaged and rewarding life. I also promised to provide you with a recipe for developing a productive and sustainable pattern of exercise.

“Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” When Theodore Roosevelt said those words. Read more here.

This story about Medicare B comes from Seniors Caucus member Connie Foss…

I worked for physicians in the University of Louisville, KY school of medicine (clinical and academic fellows). While there, I learned a lot from these MDs about the Humana health insurance industry. They called the health insurance industry "the devil," because it interfered with true medical care between doctors and their patients. Through this experience, I became more aware of the way Big Pharma and insurance giants like Humana, Anthem, Cigna, etc, profit from this relationship. Read more here

Medicare Part B Committee (in formation)

We are currently gathering members to explore Medicare Part B. If you are interested in joining our Medicare Part B Committee please email us and we’ll get back to you.


Activist's Corner

“We are living at the last possible moment in human history when we can do something about climate change, or fail to do so, thereby denying hundreds of millions of people a liveable future. This is not hyperbole. This is our call to action.

On this World Social Justice Day let's continue working at the intersection of democracy and the environment for racial, social, and gender justice.”  — Jane Fonda


Chair’s Corner

In March, we celebrate International Women’s Day when we praise the contributions of all women, old and young, Black, and white, straight, and gay and living and dead.  The theme for this year's International Women's Day is: “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.” About this day, the United Nations has said:

“With the latest data, we now understand the vital link between gender, social equity and climate change, and recognize that without gender equality today, a sustainable future, an equal future, remains out of reach. 

Women and girls experience the greatest impacts of the climate crisis as it amplifies existing gender inequalities and puts women’s lives and livelihoods at risk. Across the world, women depend more on, yet have less access to, natural resources, and often bear a disproportionate responsibility for securing food, water, and fuel.

As women and girls bear the burden of climate impacts, they are also essential to leading and driving change in climate adaption, mitigation and solutions.  Without the inclusion of half of the world's population, it is unlikely that solutions for a sustainable planet and a gender equal world tomorrow will be realized.” (1)

This text has been hard to write as I am so saddened about how peace in the world, particularly in Europe, is being disrupted. Many, if not all of us, remember the trauma of World War II and many, if not all of us, had fathers and relatives who participated in that war. War always brings suffering and trauma. As seniors, we have an acute sense of the need for peace as we are in the evening of our lives. Let us all please be hopeful.

“In life, there are many challenges. It’s a season of life. There is a time for mourning or celebrating, a time to fight or rejoice, a time to question or trust, but there is one thing we always hold onto, Hope.” (2)

Warm wishes,

Betsy Ettorre
Chair, Global Senior Caucus

(1) In Focus: International Women's Day | UN Women – Headquarters
(2) 30+ Inspirational Messages of Hope and Encouragement 2022 (wedskenya.com) 


FRAUD CORNER 

Facebook Messenger: Most of us have gotten strange private messages (PMs or DMs - Direct messages)  from fake accounts pretending to be one of our friends. What to do??? Tell your friend by email, if possible to CHANGE THEIR PASSWORD immediately. If you don’t have their email, go to their real Facebook page and send them a message from there.

Passwords – how to keep them safe.
Next month we’ll report on apps that keep your passwords safe.


News and Stories from Home and Abroad

We've collected some funny, some serious and some informative articles for you in this corner. Click here to be taken to our curated monthly collection.


This month in US history

March 2, 1836 - Texas declared its independence from Mexico.

March 3, 1931 - Congressional resolution makes the "Star Spangled Banner" the official U.S. anthem.

March 3, 1791 - Congress establishes the U.S. Mint.

March 4, 1789 - The Constitution of the United States of America goes into effect.

That just gets the month started.  Many more historical events are listed here. 


In Search of Volunteers...

We are still looking for Volunteers for the Global Senior Caucus Steering Committee. What does a member of the Steering Committee involve?

Please click here to find out more and to contact us.


UPCOMING EVENTS

March started with a bang with our 3 March State of the Union 2022 event. There are so many to choose from, from book clubs and cocktail hour trivia nights to heavyweight speakers answering our questions about Washington DC, women’s issues, the DNC, and what’s coming up in the primaries in 2022.

  • Friday, March 25 @ 3 PM CET: DA Global Disability Caucus: Building Allyship Online — RSVP here
  • Monday, March 28 @ 12:00 PM EST: Progressive Prescription: Healthcare for Americans at Home+Abroad RSVP here
  • Wednesday, March 30 @ 8-10 PM CET: The Struggle for Justice in the Halls of Congress: event on Justice Reform. Online — RSVP here
  • 6 April: First Seniors Caucus WEP Committee meeting

Thank you to all who responded to our request for this committee. The Committee will break into 3 sub-groups related to the 3 questions below:

  1. How do other countries deal with this issue (i.e., Do they have any process like WEP for their retirees?) We aim to have a policy paper on these which reports on all the countries you live in.
  2. What is the current state of actions to eliminate WEP in Congress (e.g., See the incomplete list below and we want to complete this list) and
  3. How can we move our legislators to help to eliminate WEP? We aim to contact many of them.

You can join this meeting from your computer, tablet, or smartphone. The link is:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89987272008?pwd=SkRFRGtNRkJFMlIrazlhQ3VXMS9Wdz09
Password: 038904


Tech Tips

Having a hard time reading your computer screen? We’ve been there ourselves. You can enlarge the size of the display of you’re seeing by holding down these keys:

MAC: Command, Shift and the + sign

PC: Use Magnifier. 

NEW: Travel Translation - 9 Best Translation apps


PEACE TRAIN by Cat Stevens

gsc4.pngFifty years ago 'Peace Train' became one of the most iconic hits from the '70s - and now in honour of the International Day of Peace, Yusuf/Cat Stevens has corralled a global cast of musicians for a beautiful rendition of the song.

Joining Yusuf — who appears at a white piano in a tranquil open air setting in Istanbul Istanbul, Turkey — are over 25 musicians from 12 countries, their contributions seamlessly combined to create a song that transcends genre or style. 

Featured musicians include Pat Simmons (The Doobie Brothers), James "Hutch" Hutchinson (bass player with Bonnie Raitt), five time Grammy Award winning blues/Americana artist Keb’ Mo’ and Grammy nominated Senegalese artist Baaba Maal.


 Members of the Steering Committee

Chair Betsy Ettorre (Finland)
Vice Chair Jim Dobson (Finland)
Secretary Lois Floyd (Panama)
IT Will Prescott (Mexico)
GOTV (Get Out The Vote) Jim Mercereau (Spain)
Legislation and WEP Antonio Nichols (Austria)
Medicare Portability Marnie Delaney (France)
Communications, Social Media, Newsletter Lauren Hakulinen (France)
Eric Jackson (Panama)
Member/Volunteers Recruitment Tilly Gaillard (France)
Dan Smith (Israel)
Member-at-Large
Karen Lee (Greece)
Melanie Gardner (Canada)
Robert Scott (Germany)
Member (ex-officio)
Candice Kerestan Chair, Democrats Abroad 
Katie Solon, DNC, DA Member (Germany)


Inaugural Newsletter

Welcome to the Democrats Abroad Seniors Caucus! Click here to download the pdf!

This Caucus has been a long time coming, and resulted from the work of many DA members. We were delighted to be established as a bona fide Democrats Abroad Global Caucus on January 22, and we welcome you all as new members.

In 1997, the National Democratic Seniors Coordinating Council was created as an official body of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Its main purpose was “to give older Democrats a voice within the DNC, to make use of their experience and expertise on issues such as Social Security and Medicare, to acknowledge their life-long dedication to Democratic Party ideas, and to mobilize older Democratic voters in election campaigns.” 

The DA GSC mirrors that purpose and provides a forum for all DA members to better understand the issues and concerns affecting Seniors and more specifically, Seniors living abroad. We are focused especially on empowering Seniors living abroad, inter alia to exercise their right to vote and participate in getting out the vote (GOTV) and to mobilize older Democratic voters in election campaigns. We welcome your participation in our new caucus. Please get involved, we need your help and support.

Warm wishes,

Betsy Ettorre
Chair, Global Senior Caucus
          

VOTING in the 2022 mid-term election is SO IMPORTANT

On November 8, 2022, 34 U.S. Senators, 435 U.S. Representatives, 46 State legislatures, and 36 governors will be elected. State primaries begin in May. To be sure you’re ready to vote and to avoid confusion or even disappointment when it comes time to vote, check your voter registration status, and request your ballot at VotefromAbroad.

Vote from Abroad

Have you ever used this website? If not, pop on over and check your registration status. It’s made easy with user friendly tools. Just click the red START button, and you will be led through the registration process. When complete, you will also have requested your ballot(s) for all elections in 2022.

Voting in 2022 - what’s coming up

You can get all the information you need on your state's upcoming elections on the Vote From Abroad website. Here's how to find your state:

Go to https://www.votefromabroad.org/states/.  Choose your state from the drop-down menu.

Some Definitions:

Trifectas: A trifecta means having control of the state governor's office and both legislative chambers. Democrats hold 14 trifectas, Republicans hold 23 trifectas, and 13 states have a divided government.

Redistricting: These will be the first elections affected by the 2020 redistricting cycle, which reapportioned state legislatures based on data from the 2020 United States census. We will be watching this closely in the coming months.


HEALTH & MEDICARE

How are you Feeling Today?  As we enter YEAR THREE of the pandemic, we have to ask ourselves - am I moving enough? Am I making excuses to stay in, not walk, not stay mobile? 

Exercise and Aging - by Jim Dobson

To repurpose an old joke, most of us are not at all afraid of regular exercise. We can sit on the couch and watch someone else exercise with no discomfort at all! 

However, when it comes to doing the exercise ourselves, it tends to get buried beneath higher priorities for most of us. Nonetheless, we are not doing ourselves any favors by skimping on our levels of exercise, especially as we age. And most of us are aware of that fact.

I think that if we were on the Family Feud game show and the question was, “What should a person do to reduce the risk or ameliorate the effects of such chronic diseases as arthritis, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease?”, many of us would correctly guess that the top two answers are: (1) Engage in regular exercise; and (2) Maintain a healthy weight. However, knowing those answers and achieving those goals are two different things.

I am going to focus on the question of regular exercise. Let me start by acknowledging three things: (1) regular exercise will need to take different forms for different people; (2) changing one’s routine and daily patterns to add sustained regular exercise is daunting to consider and difficult to do; and (3) there little if any positive reinforcement for weeks or even months. Nonetheless, over time it will reward you in ways that you might not have anticipated. 

If your exercise program is built around regular walking and jogging, it will have the well-known benefits of reducing the risk and severity of many chronic diseases and reducing excess pounds. But it will also have a positive effect on a person’s daily life. Specifically, a person who regularly jogs or walks continuously for 30-40 minutes is likely to maintain a good level of mobility. This is particularly important for older people, because a loss of mobility is directly related to the loss of one’s independence and the abandonment of desired activities and interactions with friends. In short, a loss of mobility shrinks a person’s world. The effect of suitable regular exercise in terms of continued mobility is a hugely valuable benefit.

The second collateral benefit to regular sustained exercise is the person’s own perceptions of him- or herself. For example, suppose you are visiting Iceland and someone recommends that you see its largest waterfall, Dettifoss. It is located nearby, but it is a one kilometer walk away from the nearest road. Do you decide whether to visit Dettifoss by answering the question “How interested am I in seeing another waterfall?” or by answering the question “Will walking one kilometer each way be too hard?”? You can see that the person who asks the first question has a very different and more positive sense of self than the person who asks the second question. Having confidence in one’s physical capability instead of having concerns about one’s physical restrictions produces a very different sense of self. 

Let us suppose that I have convinced you to start or increase your exercise program. How can you do that? I will lay out the steps for creating and carrying out a program tailored to your situation—in the next newsletter. Stay well until then!

A lovely rendition of La Bamba to get you moving from Playing For Change | Song Around the World.  (Courtesy of Irene Chriss)

F-word to which all senior citizens should pay attention: FRAUD - by Eric Jackson

The material misrepresentation of relevant facts, often enough “just” by omission, to make ourselves and our assets part of, is a lifestyle hazard for us.

At our age, we have seen so much of it. Cigarette ads to get us to smoke. Pitches for convenient innovations that turned out to be toxic, terribly polluting or way overpriced. Balloon payments and mortgage traps. All manner of financial schemes. Phishing lurks in our email. Myriad other frauds are aimed directly at our age group.

Then there are frauds aimed at stealing our votes, and our voting rights.
At the moment the USA still hasn’t recovered from a nightmare encounter with a serial con man, and court cases about aspects of that will likely affect this year’s midterm elections.

This newsletter is going to look at the world of fraud as it is most likely to affect us. It’s about mutual self-protection, and wisdom to pass down to younger generations.


TAX NEWS

DA’s Taxation Task Force

A lot of work was done to restructure the Taxation Task Force (TTF) since Rebecca Lammers took over as Chair on January 1st, including:

  • recruiting over 35 new members to the TTF, and growing!
  • forming a team to help CC and chapter social media managers with battling the trolls
  • recruiting local members to help CCs host tax webinars to help with fundraise

It is Rebecca’s aim to make the TTF a resource for global teams, Country Committees, and Chapters. The more we talk about the issues Americans abroad care about most, fixing the tax problems we all personally experience, the more it will help us mobilize the overseas vote as we get closer to November.

Please don't hesitate to reach out to Rebecca Lammers if you have any questions, need help on anything tax advocacy related, or if you are interested in joining the TTF. 

TTF News

Earlier this month, the TTF submitted Legislative Recommendations to the Ways & Means Committee

Tax Filing — Having problems filing? Is this your first year abroad?

Not to worry - the AARP provides in-person and virtual tax assistance to anyone, free of charge, with a focus on taxpayers who are over 50. That’s us! 

The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide assists with online queries. 

Even the IRS has a helpline and these pages are designed specifically for international taxpayers. 

Form 1040SR can be used for those 65 an over (born before 1 January 1957). 

Form 2555 is used to reporting Foreign Earned Income. 


UPCOMING EVENTS

So many events are coming up in March!  From Get Out The Vote (GOTV) to book clubs and cocktail hour trivia nights to heavyweight speakers answering our questions about Washington DC, the DNC, and what’s coming up in the primaries in 2022.

You can find it all on DA’s website under Events.


Chair’s Corner

Let us remember that February is Black History Month, and for nearly fifty years we have marked Black History Month by recognizing and honoring the contributions and achievements of Black Americans. Black History Month is a time to celebrate and highlight the wide-ranging roles so many Black Americans have played in our country’s history. We reflect on the contributions of African Americans and how important it is for all of us to make our communities more equitable and just. 

Also, let us remember that there are currently more than 4 million African Americans over the age of 65…, with a projected growth of about 12 million by 2060. Like the general population of Seniors, African American Seniors are living longer. However, unlike their White counterparts, “African American Seniors experience significant health disparities, including lower life expectancies and an increased risk of chronic health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, dementia, stroke, and cancer. In recent years, there has been a surge of interest in the impact of racism on the quality of life of African Americans, sparked in part by the Black Lives Matter movement. Research indicates that African Americans—young and old—experience subtle and overt forms of racism. African American Seniors, however, have also experienced cumulative race related stressors that negatively impact their physical and mental health.” 1

For African American Seniors, exposure to cumulative experiences of racism has resulted in limited access to resources such as education, employment, health care, housing, and political participation, contributing to health disparities and increased rates of mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and dementia.” 2

We need to be sensitive to our African American Senior brothers and sisters and offer them understanding and empathy. For African Americans, the effects of racism are felt daily. Racism also intersects with other forms of discrimination, including ageism, classism, sexism, ableism, and heterosexism. All Seniors should aim to understand the lens through which individuals view their experiences.

Recently, in pondering Black History Month, Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King, said: “The Transatlantic Slave Trade and Jim Crow aren’t “Black History” but European, American and World History. Our history is about a people with roots and hope, who suffered and challenged these evils as multi-faceted, dynamic, diverse beings. + Black History includes Black Joy.” Let’s remember this Black Joy as we celebrate Black History Month for people of all ages and races.

  1. See: The Cochran Firm, Race, Sex & Age Discrimination
  2. Adomakoy, Frances (2018) African-American Older Adults and Race-Related Stress: How Aging and Health Care Providers Can Help, American Psychological Association, Office of Ageing

See also — For Black workers, age discrimination strikes twice

Who am I?

I have been a member of Democrats Abroad for 22 years first in DAUK and then in DA Finland.  I have been active in the Finland Executive Committee as Member-at-Large since 2019; a member of the LGBTQ+ Global Caucus Steering Committee and co-leader of Pro DA’s Monthly Meetings for Progressive Minds. I was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut and in 1972, I moved to England where I completed my sociological graduate studies in 1977. After that time, I was a researcher and taught at the Universities of London, Åbo Academy, Helsinki, Plymouth, and Liverpool.  In 2011, I retired and came to live with my female partner in Helsinki, Finland. I love skiing, reading history and walking our two Finnish Lapland dogs, Ruusa and Sampo.


News and Stories from Home and Abroad

We've collected some funny, some serious and some informative articles for you in this corner. Click the headlines to be taken to outside sites like the New York Times, Bloomberg, and MSN.

Call It ‘Codger Power.’ We’re Older and Fighting for a Better America

Neil Young and Joni Mitchell did more than go after Spotify for spreading Covid disinformation last week. They also, inadvertently, signaled what could turn out to be an extraordinarily important revival: of an older generation fully rejoining the fight for a working future. 

You could call it (with a wink!) Codger Power! Read on…

Cindy Meyers of Petaluma, California wrote in this NYT article last month: The Pandemic Has Made Many Seniors Less Active

“Like many employees, Dr. Myers has now been working remotely for two years, curtailing social and cultural events and forgoing travel. That shift, perhaps exacerbated by a bout of depression in 2020, has taken a physical toll, she said. Her limbs feel weak, her balance rocky; she has fallen several times.” Read more....

Scientists Create Spinal Cord Implants That Could Allow People to Walk

Bloomberg 7 Feb 2022

U.S. Reps Urge CMS to Maintain Medicare Advantage Benefits in 2023

In a bipartisan effort, the policymakers commended CMS for supporting the program and urged them to protect and ensure Medicare Advantage benefits for next year’s plan… 1 February 2022

VOTER PROTECTION IN THE NEWS

Meanwhile in Florida…. A Florida prosecutor said she is investigating reports that elderly voters in Miami unknowingly had their registrations changed from Democratic to Republican. Read more…  

Update on Texas voter suppression: “Kenneth Thompson, 95, told the outlet that he fears the new Republican voting law, SB 1, could prevent him from voting for the first time in his life. Thompson said his application was denied twice because of the new requirement but Harris County election officials did not notify him of the rejection until he called to inquire both times.”
“The new Texas law, which includes numerous restrictions on ballot access, requires voters to submit their driver's license number or a partial Social Security number, which election clerks then have to match to their voter registration. But more than 100,000 voters in the state do not have either number on file, and more than 700,000 do not have at least one of the numbers on file, according to the Texas secretary of state's office.”
We need to Cancel voter suppression! Read more….

RETIRING - BUT WHERE?

When you think about who is moving to Mexico from the United States, you probably think of retirees seeking a warmer and more affordable place to live out their golden years.

“Living in Mexico has restored my faith in humanity. People walk down the streets and say good morning to complete strangers. People are willing to go out of their way to help. When you see someone’s car broken down on the side of the road, people come out and help. I’ve never seen that back at home,” she said.”

Read more… Who is Moving to Mexico from the US?

10 Best Places to Retire Around the World in 2022 from Travel & Leisure magazine, February 2022


This month in US history

March 1, 1961 - President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps, an organization sending young American volunteers to developing countries to assist with health care, education and other basic human needs.

March 22, 1972 - The Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed by the U.S. Senate and then sent to the states for ratification. The ERA, as it became known, prohibited discrimination on the basis of gender, stating, "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex," and that "the Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article." Although 22 of the required 38 states quickly ratified the Amendment, opposition arose over concerns that women would be subject to the draft and combat duty, along with other legal concerns. The ERA eventually failed (by 3 states) to achieve ratification despite an extension of the deadline to June 1982.

If this wasn’t quite enough for you, many more events are listed here. 


In Search of Volunteers...

We are looking for Volunteers for the Global Senior Caucus Steering Committee!

What does a member of the Steering Committee involve?

  • Good communication skills in meetings and enjoying the company of others.
  • Steering Committee Meetings are via WebEx once a month (the 1st Wednesday of the month) for 60-90 minutes at 8 am  EST | 2pm CET.
  • Taking on a specific role on the Steering Committee (See the open roles below) and helping the Caucus to organize around your role.

Roles open on the Steering Committee

Role and Responsibilities

Events Keeping a record of all planned events (i.e., check list) and making sure the wiki form has been filled in for these events in coordination with event’s organizers 

Community Building Sharing experiences on Zoom/WebEx by establishing a monthly “Meet and Greet” event open to all members of the GSC

Education and Awareness Working with other members of the Steering Committee, especially our members interested in Legislation, and ensuring that all members of the GSC are aware of any legislative changes, innovations, social changes that are affecting their lives as Seniors.

If you are interested in being a member of our newly established Steering Committee, email us with the subject “Steering Committee” and tell us briefly about yourself, your experience, why you’d like to join our team and in what role. We look forward to hearing from you. We are especially interested in Volunteers from the Asia Pacific Region.

Join our Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) Committee

We want to ask you, “Are you 60+ and tired of being “WEPed””— namely having your Social Security benefits shrunk because of the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP)? We invite you to join the Seniors WEP Committee where we will analyze the issues and developments, strategize, and under the DA umbrella, reach out to allies in Congress, with the goal of achieving the elimination of WEP or at the very least, reduce the severity of its sting on our finances. Are you interested? If so, please email the Seniors Caucus with the subject “WEP” in the subject heading and we’ll get back to you.


Tech Tips

Having a hard time reading your computer screen? We’ve been there ourselves. You can enlarge the size of the display of you’re seeing by holding down these keys:

MAC: Command, Shift and the + sign

PC: Use Magnifier. 

Tools on Your Smartphone Can Make Life Easier

These are great! I’ve been using an iPhone for many years, but in reading this I learned a thing or two. Tell us what bothers you, and we’ll try to find a solution!

A great reminder

  • At age 23, Tina Fey was working at a YMCA.
  • At age 23, Oprah was fired from her first reporting job.
  • At age 24, Stephen King was working as a janitor and living in a trailer.
  • At age 27, Vincent Van Gogh failed as a missionary and decided to go to art school.
  • At age 28, J.K. Rowling was a suicidal single parent living on welfare.
  • At age 28, Wayne Coyne (from The Flaming Lips) was a fry cook.
  • At age 30, Harrison Ford was a carpenter.
  • At age 30, Martha Stewart was a stockbroker.
  • At age 37, Ang Lee was a stay-at-home-dad working odd jobs.
  • Julia Child released her first cookbook at age 39, and got her own cooking show at age 51.
  • Vera Wang failed to make the Olympic figure skating team, didn’t get the Editor-in-Chief position at Vogue, and designed her first dress at age 40.
  • Stan Lee didn’t release his first big comic book until he was 40.
  • Alan Rickman gave up his graphic design career to pursue acting at age 42.
  • Samuel L. Jackson didn’t get his first movie role until he was 46.
  • Morgan Freeman landed his first MAJOR movie role at age 52.
  • Kathryn Bigelow only reached international success when she made The Hurt Locker at age 57.
  • Grandma Moses didn’t begin her painting career until age 76.
  • Louise Bourgeois didn’t become a famous artist until she was 78.
  • Whatever your dream is, it is not too late to achieve it. 
  • Hell, it’s okay if you don’t even know what your dream is yet. 
  • Never tell yourself you’re too old to make it.
  • Never tell yourself you missed your chance.
  • Never tell yourself that you aren’t good enough.
  • You can do it. Whatever it is that sets your soul on fire.

Members of the Steering Committee

Chair Betsy Ettorre (Finland)
Vice Chair Jim Dobson (Finland)
Secretary Lois Floyd (Panama)
IT Will Prescott (Mexico)
GOTV (Get Out The Vote) Jim Mercereau (Spain)
Legislation and WEP Antonio Nichols (Austria)
Medicare Portability Marnie Delaney (France)
Communications, Social Media, Newsletter Lauren Hakulinen (France)
Eric Jackson (Panama)
Member/Volunteers Recruitment Tilly Gaillard (France)
Dan Smith (Israel)
Member-at-Large
Karen Lee (Greece)
Melanie Gardner (Canada)
Robert Scott (Germany)
Member (ex-officio)
Candice Kerestan Chair, Democrats Abroad (Germany)
Katie Solon, DNC, DA Member (Germany)


Welcome to the Global Seniors Caucus!

The Democrats Abroad Global Senior Caucus is made up of DA members of all ages from around the world who are willing and able to advocate on issues important to Senior Americans (i.e. retired and +65 persons) within the United States of America and those living abroad. All DA members are eligible to join the GSC and we encourage members of all ages to join.

In 1997, the National Democratic Seniors Coordinating Council (NDSCC) was created as an official body of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The main purpose of the NDSCC was “to give older Democrats a voice within the DNC, to make use of their experience and expertise on issues such as Social Security and Medicare, to acknowledge their life-long dedication to Democratic Party ideas, and to mobilize older Democratic voters in election campaigns.” The NDSCC is made up of older Democrats from around the United States who want to be active in the national DNC and in their state parties. These Senior activists come from a variety of backgrounds and participate in many organizations at the national and local levels, including labor unions, senior citizen organizations and community groups.

The DA Global Seniors Caucus (GSC) mirrors the NDSCC’s commitment to all DA members to better understand the issues and concerns affecting all Seniors living and home and abroad. Our purpose is to provide a forum for all DA members not only to better understand the issues and concerns affecting Seniors but also and most importantly, to empower and encourage Seniors living abroad to exercise their voting franchise. The Seniors Caucus supports the goals and ideals of the Democratic Party and Democrats Abroad and encourages all members of Democrats Abroad and other US voters at home and abroad to support the well-being of Senior citizens and monitor the actions of other relevant organizations that support issues or legislation affecting Senior citizens. We advocate for laws, policies, and programs that improve the lives of Senior Americans and educate all people on the experiences of Seniors.

The mission of the GSC is:

  • To support the goals and ideals of the Democratic Party and Democrats Abroad;
  • To maximize the participation of Seniors living abroad in US elections;
  • To advocate on issues of concern to Seniors, especially Seniors living abroad;
  • To be a voice for US citizens living abroad;
  • To support campaigns of Democratic candidates aligned with the interests of Seniors;
  • To work with other teams, task forces and Caucuses within DA to further our joint goals.