April's Newsletter

 

In This Issue– 

Events:

  • Women's Caucus: Gender Equality with Professor Linda Scott
  • ProDA: Biden-Harris Progress Report after 100 Days
  • Vorarlberg Picnic Social
  • Solidarity Sundays: For The People

2021 Annual General Meeting & Elections:

  • Election Results

Issues & Actions:

  • Letter from the Chair
  • Open Caucus and Committee Positions
  • Introducing Jason Means
  • News from Solidarity Sundays
  • Heads up! Earth Day is April 22, 2021

Reviews:  

  • Annual General Meeting
  • Filibuster or Bust!

 

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Our Executive Committee meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month. Our next meeting will be held online on: Wednesday, April 14, 2021, at 7 p.m. Members are welcome to join us at the meetings. Please contact Richard at [email protected] to join.

DAA is making a strong effort to include in our monthly newsletter all the information you need to stay up to date. By sending you fewer emails, we hope you will read those you receive. Thanks for reading!

 

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Events:

Women's Caucus: Gender Equality with Professor Linda Scott

Tuesday, April 13,  6-7 p.m. (CET) – Online

RSVP for the zoom link

 

Biden-Harris Progress Report after 100 Days

Thursday, April 22, 7-8 p.m. (CET) – Online

RSVP for the zoom link 

SolSun: For The People

Sunday, April 25, 4-6 p.m. (CET) – Online

RSVP for the zoom link, then pour a

glass of wine and join us in Paris

DA Vorarlberg Picnic Social

April 23, 5:00-8:30PM

Vorarlberg (in-person)

 


2021 AGM & Elections:

 

New Democrats Abroad Austria Executive Committee Elected

Due to Covid restrictions, the election of the 2021-23 DAA ExComm was conducted for the second time in an online-only format. To maximize opportunities for engagement in the electoral process, the Nominations and Elections Committee (NEC) issued multiple announcements soliciting nominations in the weeks before the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and ensured that members would have ample time to cast votes, beginning on March 7. Voting concluded during the March 21, 2021 AGM.  Although several qualified candidates stepped forward to serve on the ExComm, there were no contested races. 

Congratulations to our new ExComm members: 

Chair:  Richard Miller (73 votes), Vice Chair:  Faith Hall Herbold (71 votes), Treasurer: Diego Heatherman (70 votes), Secretary: Marcy Fowler (71 votes), Counsel: Josh Friedman (71 votes), Members-at-Large: Ted France (69 votes), Jacki Hafellner (66 votes), Tanya Lolonis (68 votes), Jennifer Rakow-Stepper (69 votes), Raina Saul-Ganev (69 votes), Sophie Spiegelberger (68 votes), DPCA Voting Representative: Jennifer Rakow-Stepper (72 votes)

 


 

Issues & Actions:

From the Chair

Many of us look for outlets where we can volunteer our time, to help others and make a difference. I know I have, pouring coffee at soup kitchens, joining community spring clean-ups, raising money for good causes.

But nothing quite compared to my time as a DA Super Volunteer (not an official title, I’m sure) in the run-up to the 2020 election. The energy I felt rallying overseas voters made me feel like I was personally working to save democracy, if not the planet! And that energy was amplified many times over by so many of you. Look at what we in Austria achieved!

  • In 2020, our 34 phone bankers had 11,904 conversations with members around the world - the 6th highest of all country committees!
  • With 65 active volunteers, DAA had one of the highest volunteer rates of any country committee.
  • Volunteers working at 17 in-person voter help tables registered and helped hundreds of Americans living in Graz, Linz, Salzburg, Vorarlberg, and Vienna to vote.
  • And finally, 391 Americans in Austria joined DAA in 2020 - our largest gain ever!

As your Chair for the next two years, working alongside an amazing Executive Committee, we look to harness that same energy to set the stage and then get out of the vote for the midterm elections in 2022.

But we need your help. If you have the time and desire, please consider sharing your talents and skills, whether to organize an event or recruit new members. Find out more about open positions below, "Open Caucus and Committee Positions."

Let me end with a challenge! I would ask each one of you to commit to signing up at least one new member of DA Austria this year. I am going to start with my youngest son, Marco, who turns 18 on April 8. That’s one! Who will you approach?

What makes me proud is to lead an organization with so many committed members. I cannot think of a more important way to volunteer than by being part of this great team and serving as chair of Democrats Abroad Austria.

Democratically yours,

Richard 

Democrats Abroad Austria, Chair



Open Caucus and Committee Positions

We are searching for people to lead some of our caucuses, namely the Youth Caucus, AAPI Caucus, Hispanic Caucus, and LGBTQ+ Caucus. If you have questions about leading a caucus, reach out to our new Vice Chair, Faith Hall Herbold, who, with Jason Means, is co-coordinator of DAA’s Black Caucus. You can also read about all our volunteer positions here.

— Richard Miller, DA Austria Chair



Introducing Jason Means

Global Black Caucus Austria would like to introduce Jason Means, who will serve as co-coordinator with Faith Herbold. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Jason moved to Austria in 2018. When he’s not working in international research funding at the University of Vienna, you can find him...on the couch, surrounded by plants and attempting to knit (a newly acquired lockdown skill)! Welcome to the team, Jason! Stay tuned for more information and events from the GBC!  



Democrats Abroad Taxation Task Force Congressional Action

The Taxation Task Force has published a Democrats Abroad statement submitted to the Senate Committee on Finance in relation to their March 25 hearing on “How U.S. International Tax Policy Impacts American Workers, Jobs, and Investment”.  You can download it here.

Importantly, in our statement we join the other organisations advocating on behalf of Americans living abroad in asking for hearings on Americans abroad and the tax, financial account reporting, and other issues we deal with, as well as the implications of Residency-Based Taxation.

Many DA members have messaged the Tax Task Force about the hearing, interested to know if we would make a statement.  

Tax is an issue of perennial concern to Democrats Abroad members.  We ask you to read this post and share with friends, colleagues, and on your social media channels.  

We are still looking for volunteers to help with some research in support of our advocacy work. If you would like to help, please contact us at [email protected].

Many thanks and please send questions or comments to [email protected].

— Carmelan Polce, Taxation Task Force Chair



News from Solidarity Sundays

For four years, Solidarity Sundays conducted our own civics course, analysing our political system and acting to fix it—one Sunday a month. 

The pandemic pushed our community into cyberspace, but the challenge helped us to move from humble beginnings in Vienna‘s 7th District to global 😉 reach. Online, Solidarity Sundays draws participants and speakers from all corners of Austria, from Israel to California and from the UK to South Africa.

Our co-founder, Juan, has relocated to Paris, where he now chairs the Paris Chapter of DA France (congratulations, Buddy!). On April 25 he will host Solidarity Sundays‘ first Parisian Edition. 

At our last meet up, Bruce Murray spoke to us on how H.R. 1 passed the House with unanimous Democratic support. The bill is designed to take the burden off voters, and it’s a broadly popular bill. But Republicans have decided that anything that makes it easier for all people to vote is a nonstarter for them. Solidarity Sundays is building on Bruce‘s lead. At our April meeting, Ada Shen, former Chair, Democrats Abroad France, will discuss voter protection and the For The People Act in detail, and how we can help get it over the finish line.

— Tanya Lolonis & Juan Cerda, Solidarity Sundays Co-coordinators

Contact us!  [email protected]

Heads up! Earth Day is April 22, 2021

While you’re calling and writing to your representatives about the Environmental Justice for All Act, learning about the impact of industrial agriculture on the climate and food production, and not falling for fossil fuel industry greenwashing, we hope you will join us in celebrating Earth Day safely from wherever you are! Because we are spread across the globe, and subject to different covid restrictions, The Climate Action Team is curating a list of virtual Earth Day events for you to participate in. We have things that work for multiple time zones, and for various age groups. This list will be continually updated until Earth Day, so if you have a suggestion, please email it to [email protected] and we will consider adding it! Find all the Earth Day events here.

 


 

Reviews:  

2021 Annual General Meeting

Forty-two members attended this year’s Annual General Meeting from all around Austria. They participated in a discussion about our plans to hold the House and Senate in 2022 and map out our priorities for 2021 in order to achieve this goal. Members went into breakout rooms for small group discussions and then reported back to the main group. Some of the themes touched on were ways to reach more Americans, increase membership, and raise funds to support our Get Out The Vote efforts in 2022. We also discussed how to build on our momentum with members outside of Vienna and keep them engaged when we return to in-person events. 

Prior to the introduction of the 2021-2023 Executive Committee, the outgoing ExCom and Caucuses gave reports on their work over the past year. In her Chair’s Report, Jen noted that DA Austria once again had fantastic voter engagement numbers this year ranking 6th globally and had the highest volunteer rate of the 51 DA country committees. Marcy, in her Treasurer’s Report, discussed DAA’s strong financial position thanks to an increase in sustaining donors and generous donations. She also reported on how the funds raised were put to good use to enhance our voter engagement efforts. 

Special guest speaker, Julia Bryan, Democrats Abroad Global Chair, spoke to us about how DA was the margin of victory in key states, like Georgia, in 2020. Her presentation also focused on legislative outreach to counteract voter suppression efforts at the state level. Please get in touch with her if you’d like to help in this effort at [email protected]

Thanks to everyone who attended! As promised, you will receive an invitation for a wine tasting event as soon as we’re able to hold in-person events again.

— Jen Rakow-Stepper, 2017-2021 DAA Chair



Solidarity Sundays: Filibuster or Bust

March 28, 2021

Americans want gun control, money out of politics, and action on climate. Why doesn't Congress act on the people's priorities? Are there any levers to break the gridlock? 

There's one. Every bill passes through the Senate on its way to becoming law. And a single Senate rule lets a minority of senators block the will of the nation.

The filibuster, a parliamentary procedure, was an innovation by southern senators to protect slavery. It has been used to prevent anything from legislation to nominations from being brought to a vote unless three-fifths of senators (60 of 100) vote to move forward. This means a minority of 41 senators can prevent bills they don’t like from ever getting a vote.

Eliminating (or reforming) the filibuster only needs a simple majority of senators (51) to change the rules. However, a small group of Senate Democrats remains reluctant to eliminate this anti-democratic feature of our political system once and for all. Got 5 minutes to help democracy? (Heck, it's lockdown, of course you've got 5 minutes!) Help your senators do the right thing. Tell them to end the filibuster and fix the Senate. Find and email them here.

Budget reconciliation is exempt from the supermajority requirement, which is why Biden's American Rescue Plan passed with only 51 Senate votes. It sends economic assistance directly to families, workers, and small businesses. Hunter Christopher says one feature is poised to make it the biggest anti-poverty act since The New Deal.

Currently, the partially-refundable Child Tax Credit helps families by reducing their income tax liability. The Rescue Plan takes the transformative step of making the credit fully refundable. 

Why does refundability matter? It can now be paid to working families who don‘t earn enough to pay federal income tax. And monthly installments begin this summer—no waiting until tax season. 

Economists expect this to reduce child poverty in America by 45 percent. Elections have consequences. Solidarity Sundays thanks you for being a voter.

— Tanya Lolonis, Solidarity Sundays Co-coordinator

For slides from the meet-up:  [email protected]



Thank you for reading April’s newsletter!