DAN 2021 election who are the candidates?

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) for Democrats Abroad Norway (DAN) will take place on Wednesday, April 28th. At this meeting we will elect a new DAN Executive Committee. Who are the candidates?

Learn more here—


Christina Skovsgaard

I am Christina Skovsgaard, a born Democrat. I believe in unconditional human rights for all people and advocate legislation that reflects that view. We need to promote universal health care, sensible gun control, advance environmental policies, protect voting rights, and support criminal justice reform. We must do everything possible to maintain our gains and combat the far-right agenda. Our vote is our voice.

As Vice-Chair from 2019, I have worked diligently to mobilize the vote here in Norway and globally. For years, I have been the Get Out the Vote Coordinator and taken responsibility for voter-outreach in Norway, this is the main goal of Democrats Abroad (DA). In 2020, together with other dedicated volunteers, I led the phone-banking DAN campaign. I volunteered for individual voter assistance in Zoom-room calls. The 2020 Global Primary, which I organized in Norway, had the largest ever turn-out. Globally, thru the efforts of our volunteers, we reached over 1 million voters! 

My active involvement started in 2005 when I attended the Global meeting in Toronto; there I knew I found a home with like-minded Americans. I am the only DAN board member, that has continuously attended global and regional meetings on a yearly basis since 2007; this is normally a duty for the Chair. I have participated in all DA door-knocks in Washington DC advocating for issues that are of importance to overseas voters, such as, resident-based taxation, elimination of the Windfall Provision, maintaining citizens abroad rights, etc. I am on the Steering Committee of the Global Women's Caucus and the Global Black Caucus. For the past 16 years, Democrats Abroad has become an integral part of my life. Over the years, I have developed lasting friendships with many outstanding DA leaders.  As Chair, together with the DAN team, I hope to continue to expand and further develop DA in Norway, engage, and inform members, recruit new leaders, create membership opportunities, and develop precincts through-out Norway to encourage Americans to use their voice. We need to engage and activate members with meaningful activities and events. One goal is to start a bi-monthly “Speakeasy” where members can meet in an informal setting via Zoom. 

I have worked as a Speech Therapist (B.A, M.A.) and Ski Instructor (AASI certified). In my personal life I am a wife, mother, and happy grandmother.

With your vote I can continue to represent our members & work for our democratic goals.



Matthew Davidson

My name is Matthew Davidson and I am running for vice-chair of DAN for the upcoming term. 

My earliest political memory is from just before the 2000 presidential election. The Young Democrats group at my school held an open meeting where they discussed issues and tried to fix problems. My politics were shaped by the Bush presidency, the Iraq war, Obama’s presidential campaign, and Republican opposition. I wanted to make things better but never felt like what I did had any impact.

While working with people with disabilities during my PhD in bioengineering, I started to see how the right policies could help people. I also saw how both a lack of interest in science and a failure to listen to people could lead to harmful policies. In both engineering and policy, this combination can result in exciting new designs that don’t solve basic needs.

When I graduated, I started working on science policy and communication. I trained researchers to present their work to state policy makers in Colorado and worked as a science policy advocate in Washington DC. It’s a fascinating challenge to find ways to build policy based on common goals. When I came to Norway I focused on communication but kept connected to US policies. Living here regularly shows me policy ideas I hope to bring back to the US.  

There is so much potential to build better policies through an engineering approach, but it is also necessary to connect with people. I am excited to use my experience in both to help DAN achieve our goals of mobilizing members and building on the success of the past few years and I would like to bring science and healthcare concerns to the forefront of our activities.



André Durham

My name is André Durham and I am running for vice chair of Democrats Abroad Norway. I am a lifelong Democrat and have been actively engaged with the party for six years now, including a two-year term as secretary of the Payne County (OK) Democrats (PCD). During my time with the PCD, we worked to turn our city and surrounding area from purple to solid blue; I also spearheaded two of the most successful fundraisers in our county party’s history. I was also successful in getting a state-wide party bylaws change formalizing gender diverse language that ensures that all have the opportunity to lead. Since moving to Norway in August 2019, I have worked with DAN’s active members to raise awareness and participation. In March, we facilitated a global primary polling place here in Stavanger and had plans for events throughout 2020 before the pandemic shut everything down.

As vice chair going into the mid-term elections, I would work with the rest of the executive community to boost engagement and participation across Norway – particularly here in the west, starting with the three gubernatorial races this fall and the array of 2022 races. It is important that we continue to grow DAN beyond Oslo; as vice chair, I would work to continue the momentum here in Stavanger and help spearhead initiatives to activate folks in other major cities across Norway. I would also want to work with the DAN executive committee to create and execute fundraising activities to facilitate our activities.

I am a strong candidate for vice chair because I bring experience from my time with the PCD and the Oklahoma Democratic Party, helped generate momentum among Democrats here in Stavanger, and have the drive to move DAN forward. I look forward to the opportunity to continue my service to the Democratic Party through this role.



Daniel Schmidt

My name is Daniel Schmidt, and I’ve run out of excuses for not engaging in politics. I´m running for Vice Chair.

I’m a 32-year-old Norwegian-American dual citizen, born and raised in Norway, but strongly connected to the US through studies, work and not least friends and family – counting enough cousins to fill a couple of soccer teams.

I would like to get more involved with DAN for several reasons. I got my feet wet in this last campaign by making about three hundred calls. I also coordinated with Jon Roth and Andy Stites before doing a live interview on national TV with NRK just before the election. I’m tired of just reading about, listening to and worrying about politics – I strongly feel it’s time to take action. After celebrating the election victory, I realized this was just the beginning. The real work begins now.

My hope is to learn, grow, and participate more actively than before, and get a deeper insight into what democracy looks like on the inside. And I think it’s important that the voices of younger generations are heard. The world is at a tipping point, with a global health crisis currently demanding all of our attention, but with a looming climate crisis already underway. The time for real action is now.

I’ve studied political science and societal communication, and have worked with comms in the private and public sector for about 7 years. Besides analytical, strategic and communication skills, I think one of the most important things I’ve learned is to be a good listener. A former colleague of mine once said all problems exist in the absence of communication. All though obviously simplifying matters, I think there is something to it, that many difficult issues could be resolved by better dialogue. And I think we would all be better off if we learned to get better at listening carefully to one another.

I believe I have the right mix of skills, experience and real motivation to do a good job and to be a source of inspiration to others. Together, we really can make a difference.

As John Lewis said:

If not us, then who?
If not now, then when?



Campbell Hellandsvik

Hi - my name is Campbell Hellandsvik and I am interested to serve DA Norway as Secretary. The results of the 2016 Presidential election were a catalyst for me and I joined Democrats Abroad to see how I could help. Since that election, I have been passionate about encouraging Americans living abroad to exercise their right to vote. In the run-up to the 2020 Presidential election, I helped with the Get-Out-The-Vote effort by phone-banking with the DAN team and attended an online Voter Registration workshop. I was both impressed and heartened by the engagement and involvement of Americans all across Europe. Clearly, the results of the 2020 election demonstrate how much voting matters - mail-in and overseas ballots really count. And I believe that the next couple of election cycles are critical to America's future and will shape the global approach to the pressing issues of climate change and wealth inequality. 

I was born in New Jersey and am now a voter from New York. I have spent 28 years of my life living outside of the US; in London, Tokyo, Paris and Oslo. I have been living in Oslo for the last 11 years with my Norwegian husband and 3 children. My degree is in American Literature and American History and I worked for 14+ years in advertising and marketing firms in the US and UK. In recent years, I have been involved in fundraising for Cancer Research and serve as the chair for the Norway region of alumni interviewers for Middlebury College (my alma mater). I'd describe myself as proficient in Norwegian. I hope that you will let me use my experience, energy and time to help face the challenges ahead. Thank you for your consideration.



Arna Desser

My name is Arna Desser and I have served as the DAN treasurer for the past two years. It has been wonderful to work with the other members of the DAN executive committee, who are as passionate as I am about American politics, to do the critical work of encouraging Americans living in Norway to exercise their right to vote. I hope you will give me the opportunity to serve again.

A bit about my background: I am originally from Baltimore, Maryland, where I became actively engaged in politics at the age of 15, doing door-to-door canvassing and making phone calls to support the get out the vote effort for the U.S. Senate campaign of Senator Joseph Tydings. I am a Ph.D economist currently working at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health evaluating the cost-effectiveness of new medications, devices and procedures for the hospital sector. I have been the treasurer of the Hardanger Fiddle Association of America since 1999 so have lots of experience with all aspects of the responsibilities of a treasurer. 

One of the things we’ve learned while dealing with COVID is that ZOOM or other electronic options makes it easier to be more inclusive of interested Americans who live outside the Oslo area. I’m hoping that we can take advantage of this to plan more regular DAN “gatherings”.



Andy Stites

Hi, I’m Andy Stites, a candidate for Counsel. I have been involved in Democratic politics since McGovern ´72.

Since moving to Norway in 2013, I have been active with Democrats Abroad Norway (DAN), at first, just attending meetings, then making GOTV (Get Out the  Vote) calls. After the 2016 disaster, I worked with DAN as a member of PAAL (Progressive Americans Action League). I've continued to work in my voting state, Indiana.

Members at the 2019 AGM nominated me from the floor and unanimously elected me Counsel. I give advice to the Executive Committee (ExCom) regarding our Bylaws and actively participate, especially in GOTV. 

This past August the "Covid/Trump" mail delays put thousands of our votes at risk. I jumped in with others, and through December (including Georgia Senate) I called over 7,000 voters... 5,000 "conversations". (The system DA uses, "CallHub," classifies a "conversation" as a voice recording or actual live talk with a voter.)  

For the past few weeks, I’ve been continuing my work with DA Voter Protection, reviewing state laws adversely affecting our DA members.

My goal as Counsel is to support the Chair and ExCom and represent you, our DAN members. I want to build us with new leadership and broaden our participation Norway-wide. We squeaked by in 2020, but have much to do.  Not a minute to lose. We need to elect Democrats! 

Personal: I moved here in 2013 to marry a girl I met 54 years ago. (I lost my first wife of 42 years to Parkinson´s and was her caregiver during her 15 year battle). I was a worker rights lawyer for over 30 years. I then had a second career as a language teacher at an historic Black high school. I’m an active and very-lucky-health wise 74 year old. 

I do make mistakes, I try to fix them, and always try to do my best. 

Please give me your vote!  

Thank you. 

Andy Stites