Climate Change Policy in the States: Webinar

Dear Friends,

Join us in an online call with Karla Raettig from the League of Conservation Voters on September 8, 9:00am Washington D.C. time. Karla will be talking with us about climate change policy in the States, and how we can get involved and make our voices heard.

RSVP now for the webinar link and information about how you can send in your questions. Note: this is an online meeting, so you will need an internet connection in order to attend.

Webinar Details:

What legislation and actions is the current administration using to harm the environment?

What are states and NGO’s doing to step up?

Find out solutions, ask questions, and learn more as Karla Raettig speaks about climate change policy in the U.S. and answers your questions and concerns.

•Intro to the Conservation Movement organizations and Maryland LCV and Maryland LCV Education Fund

•Increasing importance of state policy in the current political climate

•Upcoming issues of importance

•Ways to get involved.

About our speaker:

Karla Raettig is the Executive Director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters and Maryland League of Conservation Voters Education Fund. Before joining Maryland LCV in 2011, Karla directed the National Wildlife Federation’s Mississippi River Delta Restoration program. Karla also has worked as a Senior Attorney at the Environmental Integrity Project in Washington, D.C., Deputy Director at the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic in New Orleans, LA, and an Associate Attorney with the Seattle office of Earthjustice. Karla has an LL.M in environmental and natural resources law from Tulane University Law School, a J.D from Lewis and Clark Law School, and a B.A. from The Evergreen State College.


  Democrats Abroad


Fundraising Team Openings

From Adrianne George:

Be part of the team that is the back bone of Democrats Abroad! If you feel comfortable making phone calls, letting members know what we're doing and what we need to do it, then join the Fundraising Team. We need members to call prior donors to ask them to contribute again. You'll use our Call Hub system via your computer so there is no cost to you!

We also need members to call country committee leaders around the world to encourage them to ask for donations from Americans in their country and to organize fundraising events. You'll get to meet lots of interesting people, hopefully, have some interesting conversations and best of all make a HUGE contribution to Democrats Abroad's fundraising efforts. Sign up here: Y8XC7mV2

If you have additional questions please contact our Fundraising Committee Chair, Art Schankler on art_schankler@democratsabro

Kind regards with thanks,

Adrianne George

Global Volunteer Coordinator

DNC Member


Minutes of the July 2017 Executive Committee Meeting

Minutes of the Executive Committee of Democrats Abroad Guatemala

Tuesday, July 12, 2017 at 5:30 pm

Dave Evans’s house/Via Skype

Attendance: John Chudy, Chair; Mary Lou Ridinger, Vice Chair; Tom Totino, Treasurer; Kee Kalwara, Events/Membership/Fundraising Coordinator; Lyn Totino, Secretary; Dave Evans, Member at Large; and via Skype: Mary Reynolds, Media Contact; Letty Manne, Counsel; Traci Styner, Lago Atitlán Group MeetUp Chair; Rachael Shenyo, Occidente Group MeetUp Deputy Chair.

Call to Order - 5:50 pm

The agenda and the minutes of the previous EXCOM were approved unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report:

After the July 4th event, our Net Worth stands at negative Q184.60 of which Q310 is a credit at the Revue. We started with a cash balance of Q2,107, but owe John Chudy Q2,601 for the purchase of fireworks, food and drinks he bought for the July 4th event. Tom moved that we reimburse John Q2,000 from our cash balance right now and reimburse him later for the balance of Q601 as funds come in. Letty Manne seconded and the motion was carried. The report presented shows that we lost Q1,360 at this year’s event. The cost of the fireworks alone was Q1,580. Tom expressed our appreciation to Mary Lou for help provided and complimented the staff at CCC. There was general agreement that it was a great party and people seemed to enjoy themselves. The report was accepted unanimously.

Events for 2017:

July 4th Sundowner: This was a successful event with perfect weather, great fireworks, tasty snacks, drinks and approximately 55 people in attendance. Many people contributed to make this a fun evening. Quite a few people came because they saw the announcement in the Revue. We should keep the same format for next year’s event. There was a note of disappointment about the lack of contributions to Feed the Donkey and suggestions about how to make the donation jar more visible by putting it on the bar and encouraging tipping the bartender.

Film Series: Good Night and Good Luck was well-received but attendance was only seven, but everyone stayed for a lively discussion.

All the President’s Men will be our next film. It will be shown on Friday, July 21 at Casa Convento Concepción. The film will begin promptly at 6:30pm. A donation of Q20 is suggested and popcorn will be sold for Q5 a bag. We will also be offering limited drinks for sale.

Our August film will be The Fog of War. It will be shown at Casa Convento Concepción on August 25.

Discussion Groups: Rachel Shenyo will prepare a presentation on Climate Change in Guatemala. The presentation will last from 25 to 40 minutes and will be followed by 20-25 minute discussion. Hopefully this will be presented in 3 locations. Rachel and John will discuss the time and locations for the events.

Fund Raisers:

Block Party: Kee and Lyn will be meeting next week to discuss and plan this event.

Guatemala On-Line Auction: DAGT members have a lot of personal skills and items to offer in auction. Services and rentals always do well. Skilled members can offer varied services to bidders, e.g., dance lessons, language training. Rachel will draft an email to be shared first with Kee and John, that will be sent to the full membership to determine interest and offers. This Auction will be for DA Guatemala members only (and other US citizens in Guatemala).

Proceeds from fund raisers will be used for the upcoming 2018 midterm elections Get Out the Vote efforts. Advertising voter registration events such as those held last year at Enlaces and in Guatemala City, in Revue and Que Pasa, is expensive.

Other Items: The Americas Regional monthly meeting will take place July 17 via WebEx beginning at 3pm Guatemalan time. John Chudy will send logon information for anyone on the Excom interested in joining in.

The next meeting will take place at 5pm on Monday, August 14 at Dave Evans’s house. His address is #19 calle de los duelos. This meeting is open to all members.

Travel Notes:

Dave will be gone from August 4 to 21. Mary Reynolds will be gone from June 18 until July 31. Lyn and Tom will be gone from September 10 to 30.

Adjourned: 7:10 pm


Minutes of the June 2017 Executive Committee Meeting

Minutes of the Executive Committee of Democrats Abroad Guatemala

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

via Skype/Dave Evan’s house

Present: John Chudy, Chair; Mary Lou Ridinger, Vice Chair; Tom Totino, Treasurer; Kee Kalwara, Events/membership/Fundraising Coordinator ; Lyn Totino, Secretary; Annie Vanderboom, Member at Large; Dave Evans, Member at Large; Rachael Shenyo, Occidente MeetUp Group Deputy Chair; Sara Castellano, Occidente MeetUp Group Chair

  1. Call to order: 5:37 pm. Motion to approve the minutes of last meeting and the agenda for the day, passed unanimously.

  2. Treasurer report was presented by Tom Totino. Our cash balance as of June 19 is Q617 after a 50% deposit of Q168 was made to confirm CCC space for July 4 sundowner. The Revue confirmed that we have a credit balance of Q309 that we can use for our next ad. There were no questions so the report was accepted.

3. Events

July 4th Sundowner: This event will take place at Casa Convento Concepción from

6 to 8:30pm.

We will follow last year’s plan. Admission will be free. Popcorn and tostadas will be free. Beer and wine will be sold for Q20, craft beer for Q30, and soft drinks for Q10. John will purchase all the necessities at Price Smart/Walmart. There will be fireworks at dusk.

Film Series: Our next film. Good night and Good Luck will be shown at Casa Convento Concepción on Friday, June 23 from 6 to 8:30pm. There will be a discussion after the movie.

Our next film will be All the Presidents Men or Frost Nixon. Details will follow.

Fund Raisers: Nothing was decided. We discussed the possibility of a Block Party to include perhaps a raffle/sale of baked goods. We could have dancing or a movie. We need to seek donations for a raffle from our members. David Dean has volunteered in the past to donate one of his award-winning photos for raffle. Perhaps other members could volunteer services or products.

Rachael suggested we do an e-mail brainstorm session to the full membership for an online raffle that would be engage members living all around Guatemala and not just those living in Antigua and Guatemala City (NOTE: Mexico and Canada ran a successful joint online raffle to raise funds for the 2016 election).

Resistance Activities: We discussed ways to get people involved in resistance activities happening in their districts. Annie offered to organize lists of issues and districts so that voters can be alerted to upcoming events.

All members are urged to contact legislators especially concerning health care, (see for phone scripts to call your congresspersons, and, to see Resistance Summer postcard designs

Mary Lou mentioned the Goldman Awards as an inspiration to get involved in environmental policy. One of the 2017 prize-winners ($120,000) is Rodrigo Tot from Guatemala.

Mary Lou also mentioned a journalist doing work on Guatemalan exiles. Rachael said that she just wrote a professional report on violence and refugees in Guatemala-and is available to talk to the journalist.

Discussion Groups: Hyung was not present to update us on his evolving presentation on engaging millennials. Rachael has prepared presentations in Spanish on climate change and how it affects Guatemala, and is willing to translate parts of them into one 35-40 minute Power Point presentation for Democrats Abroad.

4. Travel notes:

John will return June 27.

Mary Lou will be gone from June 30 to July 10.

Hyung will be gone from June 10 to July 25.

Annie will be making a visa run sometime soon.

Our next meeting will be at Dave Evan’s house at 5:30pm on July 12.

Meeting adjourned at 6:40 pm.   


Minutes of the May 2017 Executive Committee Meeting

Minutes of the Executive Committee of Democrats Abroad Guatemala

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 6:30 pm

Dave Evans’s house/Via Skype

Attendance: John Chudy, Chair (via Skype); Tom Totino, Treasurer; Kee Kalwara, Events/Membership/Fundraising Coordinator; Lyn Totino, Secretary; Dave Evans, Member at Large; Mary Reynolds, Media Contact (via Skype).

Call to Order - 6:35pm

The agenda and the minutes of the previous EXCOM were approved unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report:

Our Net Worth stands at Q1,095 of which Q310 is a credit at the Revue. Giving us a cash balance of Q785. He said we have been making money with the two movie nights which had 16 and 14 attendees respectively. There were no other changes from previous reports. The report was accepted unanimously.

Volunteers: The new Volunteer Coordinator for DAGT, Elisabeth Shackelford, was welcomed. She will be responsible for coordinating volunteer activities in Guatemala and coordinating with Adrianne George for volunteer needs globally. These are important responsibilities as we are facing elections again in 2018. DA voter participation in midterm elections is usually about 10% of presidential years. In 2016, DA globally registered and believes that 154,000 voted via Democrats Abroad. Ten percent of that would mean only 15,000 would vote in 2018. We need to improve participation and will be relying on volunteers.

Events for 2017:

July 4th Event: It was decided unanimously to hold another July 4th Sundowner with Fireworks this year. The event last year was successful and well-attended. We will again offer free admission, popcorn and snacks. We will sell beer, wine and soft drinks. This year’s event will take place on Tuesday, July 4th at Casa Convento Concepcion from 6 to 8:30pm ending with fireworks. Tom will make sure we have the venue reserved.

Film Series: We’ve had good attendance at our last two movie nights. The films presented have been interesting and have been followed up by discussions. Kee presented two movies for consideration. We decided on ‘Good Night and Good Luck’. The movie will be shown at Casa Convento Concepcion on June 23 at 6:30pm. Members and guests are welcome. There will be announcements in Que Pasa and the Revue.

Discussion Groups: Hyung was not present at the meeting to bring us up to date on any plans he may have. We discussed how to contact millennials and get them involved. We could have discussion groups or social mixers in the city where millennials tend to live. Mary and Kee will discuss the possibilities. Kee suggested members check out the website.

DPCA Meeting: John attended the meeting in DC May 12-14. A new EXCOM was elected. He mentioned the fund raising and press training sessions which could be included here in Guatemala. It was pointed out that winning elections is what we need to focus on over winning hearts and minds. John pointed out that, according to the US Embassy, there are an estimated 90,000 US citizens, mostly dual citizens, representing many additional voters living in Guatemala. We need to find a way to contact them and ensure that they vote.

The next meeting will take place on Thursday, June 21 pm at 5:30pm at Dave Evans’s house (and via Skype). For Excom members in Antigua, Dave’s address is #19 calle de los duelos. This meeting is open to all members.

Travel Notes:

John will be gone until June 27. Mary will be gone from June 18 to July 31.

Adjourned: 6:45 pm


Minutes of the April 2017 Executive Committee Meeting

Minutes of the Executive Committee Meeting of Democrats Abroad Guatemala

Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 4:00 pm at Dave Evans’s home

Per our bylaws (paragraph 19.3), all meetings are open to all members.

Call to order – 4:05 PM

Attendance: John Chudy, Chair; Kee Kalwara, Events/Membership/Fundraising Coordinator; Dave Evans, Member at Large; Traci Styner, Lake Atitlán MeetUp Chair; Hyungjoon Jin, Guatemala City Meetup Chair; Rachael Shenyo, Occidente Group Meetup Deputy Chair; Mary Reynolds, DAGT member.

Approval of agenda (minutes of last meeting March 23, 2017). Approved unanimously with amendment to agenda to include item on naming a volunteer coordinator for DAGT.

Treasurer’s Report – Current networth is Q396.50 of which Q309.00 is a credit at Revue. Actual cash on hand is Q87.50.

Media Contact and Communications Chair : Mary Reynolds, a member who resides in Guatemala City, has expressed interest. Mary introduced herself and confirmed her interest in taking on the duties of Media Contact. She teaches secondary English at Colegio Maya, and is there for at least this year. Kee moved that Mary be appointed and Dave Evans seconded the motion, which was carried unanimously. John will go by Revue and Que Pasa during the next week to inform them of Mary’s appointment as Media Contact with DAGT and leave her contact information. Dave mentioned a Guatemalan friend who would be a very good source of contact information among Guatemalan media that could be useful to Mary. He will follow up on that.

Events for 2017

Film Series Update

Trumbo. Casa Convento Concepción (CCC) Friday, April 21 at 6:30 pm. Details seem to be taken care of. We are hoping for a good turnout.

It was decided that our next movie feature will be First Grader, a bio-pic about a Kenyan octogenarian who starts first grade late in life because he never had a chance to before. Date, time and place will be determined following our experience with Trumbo at CCC

Discussion groups: Engaging Millennials. Hyung will continue working on this presentation with Rachael and others.

Other items

Resistance activities:

DAGT members' voting states. Develop a system to let members know what’s going on in their states or Congress, e.g., email blasts when certain representatives are voting on key issues (Annie’s suggestion). We discussed briefly how this might work. John will follow up with Annie before the May meeting.

DNC Chair Tom Perez is doing a nine-state tour with Sen. Bernie Sanders. Dave mentioned their joint kick-off interview with Chris Hayes. See it at:

DPCA meeting in Washington DC, May 12-14. WebEx and in Person

Volunteer Coordinator for DAGT. Adrianne George, DA Global Volunteer Coordinator, is asking country committees for names and contact information for their volunteer coordinators. Kee will talk with Elisabeth Shackelford, who had expressed interest in being active with DAGT.

Next meeting: Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 6:30pm (4:30pm EDT).

Travel Notes:

Tom and Lyn, April 8 to April 28.

Mary Lou, April 18 to April 23.

John, May 10 to June 24.

Adjournment: 5:00pm

DAGT Excom March 17 Meeting Minutes


Minutes of the Executive Committee of Democrats Abroad Guatemala

Thursday, March 23, 2017 at 5:00 pm

Enlaces, Antigua

Attendance: John Chudy, Chair; Mary Lou Ridinger, Vice Chair; Tom Totino, Treasurer; Kee Kalwara, Events/Membership/Fundraising Coordinator; Lyn Totino, Secretary; Dave Evans, Member at Large; Annie Vanderboom, Member at Large; Hyung Jin, Guatemala City Meetup Chair; Rachael Shenyo, Occidente Group Meetup Deputy Chair; Sara Castellano, Occidente Group Meetup Chair joined via Skype. Harrison Mains, prospective new member attended the meeting.

Call to order – 5:10 pm The agenda and minutes of the previous meeting were approved unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report - Tom presented the first financial report for the new Excom. Our Net Worth stands at Q496. He explained that we recently purchased a projector for Q3,800. It was paid for with Q2,000 from our cash, Q500 as a donation from Dave Evans and a Q1,300 loan from John Chudy. He explained that, while it could be considered an asset and included as part of our ‘Net Worth, that would require depreciating it over its useful life and make our current financial status less clear to the general membership. Thus, he classified it as a one-time expense to be recognized all at once in this year. After collecting Q960 in Feed the Donkey at the inaugural movie night and at the AGM our cash balance is Q1,487. He proposed that we use Q1,300 of that to repay the loan to John Chudy. It was seconded and passed unanimously.

Welcome by the Chair - John welcomed the new executive committee members and noted that the Media Contact and Communication Chair remains vacant. Hyung is following up with colleagues in Guatemala City. Later in the meeting, Sara suggested that her daughter Lilly may be interested in this position.We should try to make a decision on this position at the April meeting. John said that the AGM held on Saturday was a success with 29 members attending plus 7 proxies. The minutes of this meeting will be posted on the DA Guatemala website page.

DA Guatemala purchased a projector which was used successfully at the AGM. The projector was also used on March 15 at Dave Evans’ house to show the movie Sicko. The movie and potluck was fun and an event we hope to repeat. After Kee explained that Panza Verde did not want to show movies that might upset their guests (such as Sicko) other venues were suggested such as Dave’s house and Casa Convento Concepción where there is a screen AND a popcorn machine. We agreed to ask for a voluntary donation of Q20 which could make movies a money earner. Yeah! Several movies were suggested: Good Night and Good Luck, Frost Nixon, and Trumbo. Kee has a list of movies to choose from. John suggested we put out a flier listing movies we will be showing over a six month period which works well in DA Mexico.

Along with movies we agreed it would be exciting to host discussion nights like the ones we did in 2008-2010: Saving Social Security, the 2010 midterms, the war in Afghanistan. These were well presented and encouraged discussion.

Hyung presented his ideas for including young members in DA. He included a visual aid/analytical tool that might explain what is important to them and how these issues are vital to us all. This encouraged a lively discussion among members at the meeting and put us all in a more optimistic mood. We feel that perhaps our first discussion open to all members should be a longer version of the one Hyung presented to the Excom. We definitely need the support and input from younger Democrats.

We agreed that these presentations should be issue-focused. The movies and the discussion groups could be repeated in other places like Xela and the Lake.

Although ‘resistance’ was on the agenda we spent very little time discussing this. John encouraged us all to watch the video of the town hall meeting with Keith Ellison and members of DA. He also suggested we check out the guide.

Although Leon Reinhart is rumored to be the new ambassador to Guatemala it is unknown if or when he will actually begin his assignment as Todd Robinson is not leaving until he finishes his three year term, and is now in the third year.

The next meeting will take place on Thursday, April 20th at 4 pm at Dave Evans’ house. His address is #19 calle de los duelos.

Travel Notes: Letty will be gone until April 5. Tom and Lyn will be gone from April 8 to April 28.

Adjourned: 6:45 pm


Democrats Abroad Guatemala

DAGT is the official country committee for US Democrats living in Guatemala. Our mission is to inform and to encourage every US Citizen in Guatemala to vote in all US elections that their state of last residence allows them to, be they local, state, general and mid-term, and to invite US Citizens to join Democrats Abroad. During 2017 we will grow our membership and encourage participation so that we are as strong as possible as we head into the 2018 midterm elections to help Democrats regain the Senate and win back the House of Representatives. Watch this space for upcoming announcements of meetings and events - we have events planned throughout the year, and encourage anyone interested in participating to get in touch.

If you have questions or would like to help with Democrats Abroad in Guatemala please contact us.

John Chudy, Chair
Democrats Abroad - Guatemala


Democrats Abroad Guatemala 2017 Annual General Meeting Minutes

Minutes of Democrats Abroad Guatemala

Annual General Meeting Saturday, March 18, 2017

Casa Convento Concepción, Antigua, Guatemala


ExCom members in Attendance:  Mary Lou Ridinger, Chair; John Chudy, Vice Chair; Thomas Totino, Treasurer; Kee Kalwara, Events/Membership/Fundraising Coordinator;  Lyn Totino, Secretary; Member at Large, David Dean, Counsel, Letty Manne.


Call to order – The Chair asked the Secretary to confirm that there was a quorum.  She indicated that 29 DAGT members signed in and that there were seven proxies. Thus the 25 minimum was met and the meeting was called to order at 11:10am.  The agenda was shown on a PowerPoint slide.


The secretary read the minutes of the previous Annual General Meeting (AGM) held March 19, 2016.  The minutes were approved unanimously.


Treasurer’s Report - Tom Totino presented the Annual Financial Report to the general membership of DAGT as required in the by-laws.  He mentioned that the figures presented were condensed and summarized for presentation purposes and that a more detailed report is presented at the regular monthly ExCom meetings.  He touched on three things; Income and Expenses, Cash Flow and a three year financial history.  He said we had income of nearly Q8,800 which came primarily from sale of T-shirts (Q4,800) and from Feed the Donkey (Q2,800).  Expenses for the year were Q7,900.  The greatest expense was for voter registration and holding the Democratic primary on March 1, 2016. The net income after subtracting expenses from income was Q865.  As a result our cash balance grew from Q2,422 at the start of the year to an ending balance of Q3,287.  He also mentioned that looking at the past three years our income was in line with previous year’s but expenses were less because of how we managed the July 4th event.  At this year’s ‘July 4th Sundowner with Fireworks’ we allowed free entrance but sold drinks. Popcorn and tostadas were provided for free.  There were no questions about the report and David Dean moved that the report be accepted.  Motion was seconded and approved unanimously.


Events Coordinator’s Report:  Kee presented the DAGT events from 2016.


JANUARY:   17th:  The Democratic Primary Debate was shown at Kafka in Antigua and was well attended.

FEBRUARY:              11th:  The Democratic Primary Debate was shown at Kafka.

MARCH: 1st:  Voting in the Democrats Abroad Global Primary was held at Cafe Condesa in Antigua.  One hundred fourteen people voted.

            19th:  The Annual General Meeting was held at Casa Convento Concepción.

APRIL:  27th:  The movie The Big Short was shown at Kafka.

MAY: 7th:  Voter Registration was held at Enlaces in Antigua.

            21st:  Voter Registration was held at Enlaces.


JUNE:            11th:  Voter Registration was held at Enlaces.

            21st:  The Michael Moore movie Where to Invade Next was shown at Personajes bar/restaurant in Antigua.

JULY:  4th:  A Sundowner with Fireworks (read Happy Hour) was held at Casa Convento Concepción.  We provided snacks and provided popcorn using a borrowed maker that was a big hit. Fireworks were set off at sunset.  Somehow we avoided the rain. A successful event with approximately 75 in attendance

            15th:  Voter Registration was held at Enlaces.

AUGUST:  13th:  Voter Registration was held at Enlaces. Thirteen people registered.

SEPTEMBER:  17th:  Voter Registration was held at Enlaces.

OCTOBER:   4th:  Vice Presidential Debate was shown at Kafka.

                        15th:  Federal Write in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) event at Enlaces.

NOVEMBER:  8th:  Election Night Watch Potluck was held at John and Mary Ann’s.  It was depressing but the food was good.

            DECEMBER:  3rd: Peter Lee, a Sander’s delegate to the Democratic National Convention from Oregon spoke to a small group at a private home in Antigua.

MARCH:  15th: Movie Night Potluck  Michael Moore’s movie Sicko was shown at Dave Evans’ house.  We used our new projector for the first time and showed the movie on a very large format. Eleven people attended.


Throughout the year we made phone calls to all DAGT members who had not logged on the Democrats Abroad web site, sent emails and posted on Facebook. Kee asks us all to ‘like’ our DAGT Facebook page and ask to join the group. One must be a member DAGT to join the group. Joining the group doesn’t make you a member of DAGT.  Kee checks the membership roll to verify each request. John Chudy and Kee are authorized to approve new members to the group.


Kee also asks you not to unsubscribe from emails you receive from John or Kee unless you do not want to be informed of what is going on in Guatemala. If you was to stop receiving emails from any other organization, you must subscribe from each one individually.


This year we plan membership drives and voter registration, social events and more movies and presentations. Kee is always open to receiving suggestions for movies and presentations.


The Executive Committee meets monthly, usually in Antigua.  The date, time and place of these meetings will be posted on our Facebook page.  All members are invited to attend.


Meetup Groups Chair Reports:

            Traci Styner, Lake Atitlan region:  She has lived in the area for 6 years. Traci held 5 very successful events in Panajachel and Santiago.  These events attracted lots of young voters and resulted in many votes.


            Hyungjoon Jin has been a teacher in Guatemala City since 2014.  Hyung has tried to create a community between three international schools in the city.  The goal has been to keep people informed and get people to vote.  He held several voter registration events in May (a dozen people registered) and September (15 registered). He also held casual debate watch get togethers in his home.  He had a casual FWAB event and collected votes from the 3 schools. Hyung will continue his work another year.


            Sara Castellano began as Occidente Group Meetup Chair, in February (she lives in San Marcos), but did not attend the AGM via Skype due to a family emergency


Chair Person’s Report for 2016:


            In January we had our annual membership update. Members with last verified date from 2012 (four years or older) were called or contacted by email to update their information. 

            On March 1st The Democrats Abroad Global Primary was held at Cafe Condesa. One hundred fourteen members cast votes (53 for Hillary and 61 for Bernie). The Global primary vote gave Bernie 9 delegates and Hillary 4.

            On March 12th,  During the Festival Atitlán at Santiago, John Chudy registered a dozen new voters.

            On March 19 we held our Annual General Meeting in Antigua.

            On April 2nd we held a voter registration event at Enlaces.  Hyung assisted and formally became the DAGT Guatemala City Meetup Group Chair.

From May 13 - 15 The DPCA Global Convention was held in Berlin, Germany.

On July 4th DAGT held our Sundowner with Fireworks at Casa Convento Concepción. It was a success with free popcorn and snacks. We sold beer and wine and set off the fireworks left over from the 2015 July 4th event.

On July 7the Traci Styner formally became DAGT Lake Atitlán Meetup Group Chair.

From July 25 to 28 the Democratic National Convention was held in Philadelphia. Hillary was nominated. John attended some of the outside events.

From August to September members used CallHub phone banking to get out the vote. It was our best year ever as over 50% of our membership voted as indicated by VoteFromAbroad numbers. It ranks Guatemala pretty high relative to other country committees globally.

On October 15th we held our Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) event at Enlaces in Antigua.

November 8 is a day that will live in infamy!


Elections for the Executive Committee officers for the 2017 - 2019 term:


            The slate of officers was presented: 

John Chudy, Chair:  Mary Lou Ridinger, Vice Chair; Tom Totino, Treasurer; Lyn Totino, Secretary; Counsel, Letty Manne; Member-at-Large, Annie Vanderboom; Member-at-Large, Dave Evans.

            Mary Ann Anderson moved that the slate be approved by acclamation. Motion seconded by David Dean. The slate was approved by acclamation.


Appointed Officers:


            Media Contact & Communication Standing Committee Chair: (vacant)

            Issues/Programs/Special Events/Social Committee Chair: Kee Kalwara

            Membership/Voter Registration Standing Committee Chair: Kee Kalwara

            Fundraising Standing Committee Chair: Kee Kalwara

            Guatemala City Meetup Group Chair:  Hyungjoon Jin

            Lake Atitlán Meetup Group Chair: Traci Styner

            Occidente Meetup Group Chair: Sara Castellano

            Occidente Meetup Group Deputy Chair: Rachael Shenyo


Recognition of Volunteers:


            These members were recognized for their work to promote Democrats Abroad:


            Mark Schomer: Occidente Meetup Group Chair, (outgoing)

            Hyungjoon Jin: Guatemala City Meetup Group Chair

            Traci Styner: Lake Atitlan Meetup Group Chair

            David Dean: Member-at-Large

            John Green: Member-at-Large


Events and Goals for 2017:


            We need to continue to attract new members including - maybe more importantly - young members and focus on retaining our current members. We plan to increase our total membership to 480 from 468. We need to keep members engaged and interested in Democratic activities. We will do this by holding discussion groups, movies, social events and through resistance activities. There are formal resistance groups in our area. On April 29 there will be a 100 day protest march in Guatemala City. You can contact Kee Kalwara for details. Empower/Educate/Act is a resistance group in Antigua. Check it out on their Facebook page: EmpowerEducateAct or contact Linda Conard for details. Members are urged to continue contacting their Representatives and Senators by letter, phone and/or email.


We encourage members to file their FPCA every year. It could make a difference in having your vote count. Members are encouraged to support the global organization - DPCA. We plan to increase the number of members that are DPCA sustaining donors to 10% or our total membership. Or members can make a one-time donation. A donation of $20 will help us reach a lot of voters.


The DPCA Global Meeting will take place in Washington, DC from May 12 - 14.  Anyone can attend.  There will be a Door Knock event from the 16th to the 17th on Capitol Hill with DA members visiting Congressman’s offices.

We must build consciousness toward the 2018 midterm elections which will be held November 6, 2018. All 435 seats in the House and 34 Senate seats will be contested. We must all remember that Republicans have won more political power in 2016 than since 1928. We all have a lot of work to do.


All members are urged to use to file your new FPCA and click ‘yes’ to update your information as you complete the form.  Click ‘RSVP’ when you in-box alerts you to an event from DAGT. Our monthly DAGT executive committee meetings are open to all members.


Adjournment:  After a lively discussion about how to attract younger members and how to make everyone who attends events feel welcome the meeting was adjourned at 1:08 pm.

Democrats Abroad Guatemala May 2016 Executive Committee Meeting

 Minutes of the Executive Committee of Democrats Abroad Guatemala

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

via Skype


Present: John Chudy, Acting Chair;  Tom Totino, Treasurer; Britini Port, Media Contact; Kee Kalwara, Issues and Events Committee; Lyn Totino, Secretary; Hyungjoon Jin, Guatemala City MeetUp Group Chair.


  1. Call to order: 3:34 pm. Motion to approve the minutes of last meeting and the agenda for the day, passed unanimously.
  2. Treasurer report was presented by Tom Totino. Our balance as of May 1 is Q2,971.


3.  Events

  • Movie Night  ‘The Big Short’ was shown at Kafka on April 27.  Although Kafka worked well for debate night it was not good for a movie because of noise from other customers.  Kee would like suggestions from members for other movie venues. She would also appreciate suggestions for movies.
  • Voter registration will be held this Saturday at Enlaces from 11am until 2pm. Hyung has volunteered to be there to learn the process and assist. There will be other voter registration events on June 11, July 16 and August 13. Volunteers are needed. Hyung will organize an event in the capitol for May 21. He will be working on other events for Democrats Abroad in Guatemala City noting that there is a lot of interest among teachers there.  These events are one way to make sure members vote.  We need to take back the Senate and the House and keep the presidency.  It’s vital: Vote Blue No Matter Who.
  • On July 4th there will be a ‘Sundowner with Fireworks’ event at Casa Convento Concepción from 6 to 8 pm.  Tom Totino will confirm the reservation so an ad can be submitted to Revue by May 10. Britini suggested doing voter registration at the annual Peace Corps picnic earlier on July 4th.
  • There will not be a Labor Day picnic in September.  Instead there will be a FWAB party/picnic: details are yet to be determined.
  • An election night party is being planned for November. The venue remains undecided.
  • John will be attending the Democrats Abroad Global meeting in Berlin in May.

4.   Travel notes:

John will be gone May 10 to 17 and July 20 to September 14.                 

Britini will be gone from May 25 to June 20.

Hyung will be gone from June 10 to July 25. 

Tom and Lyn will be gone from May 17 to June 15.


Meeting adjourned at 4:50 pm.