Valencia Chapter Candidates
The Nominations and Elections Committee has received the nominations of volunteers to fill the positions for our leadership team for the next two years. These are the volunteers that stepped up to run:
CHAIR -- Graham Tyner
VICE-CHAIR -- Melane Comstock, Madeleine Savit
SECRETARY -- Richard Mehrer
TREASURER -- Karen Magee-Koski
Biographies provided by the candidates.
Hi, I’m Graham Tyner and I would like to ask for your vote for Chair of Democrats Abroad Spain, Valencia chapter. I am the incumbent and have served since March 2017 when we founded the Valencia Chapter shortly after the inauguration of Donald Trump.
Originally from the small town of High Point North Carolina, I was brought up with a very “Red” conservative Southern Baptist family but maintained my status as the political black sheep by idolizing Jimmy Carter. I attended Virginia Commonwealth University to study Psychology and Education and spent 10 years teaching in museums and public schools in Virginia and Massachusetts before moving to Valencia in 2014. In Valencia I have started a relocation service company to help people move to our little piece of paradise.
I am seeking the position of Chair for DA Valencia because I believe now is the time for progressive change within the Democratic Party. To me, this means supporting limits/bans on corporate funding and lobbyists within the DNC. I am a strong advocate of non-partisan efforts for widespread voting reform as well. My areas of personal interest are women's equity and equality, radical education reform, and LGBTQIA rights, protections, and equality.
Locally, I have been an active part of Voter registration efforts and with this focus, pushing into 2020, I am excited to grow and mobilize the Valencia chapter membership to build relationships with the Madrid and Barcelona chapters and get every eligible voter registered and voting.
Vice Chair (1)
I am currently the treasurer and a founding officer of Democrats Abroad Valencia as well as acting Vice Chair. After the 2016 election, well after the initial shock and mourning period, I wanted to continue to be involved in US politics, even while abroad. In the past two years with Democrats Abroad we have had a presence in many different causes, such as gay pride, the women’s march and gun violence demonstrations, and we were very active in the get-out-the-vote push to aid the blue wave here as well. It was a very helpful experience in preparation for the extremely important 2020 presidential election.
I grew up in Portland,Oregon with an extremely liberal and politically active single mother and my sister. My mother has been my inspiration and has been a tireless supporter and activist in numerous causes from the local district level to national campaigns her entire life. My sister was also an excellent role model, earning her Ph.D. in bio chemistry. I am fortunate to have been surrounded by strong intelligent women my entire life.
I moved to the East Coast in 1994, living in New York City as the director of merchandising and inventory working in the garment industry for 15 years. Next, I moved to Baltimore, Maryland with my family. I traveled extensively throughout my life and my love for travel began in college when I spent a year abroad studying in Avignon, France. My life forever changed after that experience. I moved to Valencia January 1, 2016 with my daughter.
There are so many important issues at stake right now, but the ones I feel most passionate about are women's rights, LGBTQIA issues, the environment, and universal healthcare. Being disabled (I have Multiple Sclerosis) I also have a keen and vested interest in disability rights. I am forever optimistic, even while faced with adversity and I hope to be an inspiration to others. I’m proud to say that my 14 year old daughter is keeping with our female family tradition of activism by participating in protest marches and even the model United Nations. Good examples are the best teachers.
I appreciate your vote. Thank you.
Vice Chair (2)
As we’ve been hearing for a few years now, the US is at a pivot point. Under normal circumstances, I’d sign on to do the casual volunteering I’ve always done, but the very high stakes now and the exhilarating results of the 2016 cycle have compelled me to step up to a more formalcommitment.
I first joined Democrats Abroad in about 2003 while living in Australia, which was under the inspiring stewardship of Carmelan Polce. I volunteered with fundraising and the Vote from Abroad efforts.
I continued volunteering for the Democratic Party once I relocated to San Francisco, CA, where my main tasks were door-to-door canvassing in Hispanic communities in Nevada and phonebanking. When I moved to Valencia, about 1-1/2 years ago, I sought out Democrats Abroad Spain. I volunteered with Rock the Vote ahead of the 2018 election and assisted Jim Mercereau with the study abroad programs in Valencia.
I cannot remember a time when I wasn’t informing myself about politics and engaged in progressive causes. Over time, particularly after the 2000 election, I grew alarmed at the erosion in the US’s stated values of civil society and rule of law.
While in San Francisco, I was in the campaign 'kitchen cabinet' (advising) a candidate for SF's Board of Supervisors.
While in San Francisco, I formed an organization, Folks for Polk, to give voice to the majority who supported the City in the face of aggressive opposition from a self-interested minority. The goal was to support the City in its intention to follow ‘Liveable Cities’ design principles for a particular street improvement project. I developed strong skills in attracting, motivating and managing volunteers; strategizing, social media, and publicity. These activist skills supplemented my professional experience as an architect, project manager, and planner, and helped rally like-minded people and raise ourprofile.
Valencia is home to an increasing number of American expats. I’d welcome the chance to strengthen DA Spain’s Valencia Chapter, and help build its numbers of informed, engaged voter-participants towards 2020.
Thank you for considering my candidacy for Vice-Chair - Madeleine
Richard L. Mehrer
I am requesting your vote for the position of Secretary of the Valencia Chapter of Democrats Abroad.
My interest in doing so is that as a US Citizen, lifelong Democrat and world citizen, I am concerned about the deterioration ofUS reputation and influence on the world stage.Equally, Iwant to be sure that the voices of US Expats are heard on issues affecting our interests, rights, andobligations.
As a US Citizen, a resident of Valencia, Spain since April 2016, a member of Democrats Abroad and generally adhering to the guiding principles of theDemocraticParty, Imeet the qualifications for the position of Secretary.
Since 1986, I have lived, worked and been involved in business within those countries. While living abroad I have been actively involved in the local communities and involved in political issues and activities that concern ExPats and myself, both professionally and personally.
Professional: Electrical engineer and project manager working with submarine data cables and internet work data security. Additionally, my career has included international relations, education, healthcare, and renewable energy sectors.
Education: Advanced degrees in psychology, theology, engineering, international banking and business relations in the US, UK, and UAE.
Political activity:Voter registration in the Southeast US along with the FreedomTrain,congressional lobbying activity related to open internet access, campaign activity for local and statewide offices, health care for all, and educationrights.
As Secretary of Democrats Abroad – Valencia. I commit to creating relevant and impactful content for frequent chapter meetings. Primary sources for content will be suggestions from our DA membership. Probable activities include:
- Bi-monthly newsletter with articles of interest
- DA goals and activities in Spain and theEU
- Democratic platform for 2020 and state-by-state issues (from Democrats Abroad member states)
- Purpose and services provided by the US Consulate inValencia
- Visa and immigration processes and requirements
- US and Spanish tax issues, processes and procedures
- Obama Foundation goals and activities by video link from a foundation spokesperson
- Opportunities for participation in Valencian regional activities promoting theUS
- Regional activities outside the city ofValencia
- Video links with activities of the Madrid and Barcelonachapters
· Social activities
- July 4th picnic with the American Space(UPV)
- Graduation “blow-out” for the Berkelee School ofMusic
- The Women’sMarch
Group attendance at DA meetings in Spain, the EU and the world.
Since our first protest with the Valencia Resistance in January of 2017 I have been an active member of the Democratic community in Valencia. I am one of the founding members of the Valencia chapter of Democrats Abroad and have seen how liked-minded individuals can come together to make a difference. Before the 2018 midterms I helped other DA officers with voter registration and want to continue this action to insure all U.S. voters living in Valencia can vote in the 2020 election.
While living in Colorado I worked on many Democratic election campaigns from the local school board to national offices by canvassing, phone banks, rally support, and helping in any way I was needed. Every election is important, but to me 2020 is about taking back our country and resetting our course.
I am asking for your vote for Treasurer of the Valencia chapter of Democrats Abroad where I will work to strengthen and grow the group while supporting the other officers and members.