February 27, 2023

Candidate Statements for the 2023 DA France Lyon Leadership Election

The nomination period for the DA France Lyon Chapter elections is now closed. Members of the Lyon Chapter will receive a ballot by email, and electronic voting will end on March 14 at midnight.

The Election Board is pleased to announce the candidates!



Democrats Abroad Lyon Chapter Leadership Candidates

Dori Schwartz-Laboune - Candidate for 

My name is Dori Schwartz-Laboune and I'm running for Chair of the Lyon Democrats Abroad Chapter. I've been a member at large on our board since it was created in 2017, and was the Get Out the Vote officer for France for 2021-23. I come from Oregon and have lived in Lyon for 15 years. Back home I had worked for twenty years as a certified Spanish-English court interpreter. Here in France I work as a home health aide.

We're coming up on an exciting two-year period where we will be able to participate in the democratic primaries, and work towards making an impact in our presidential elections. I look forward to working towards increasing engagement and membership during the next year, and working towards increasing voting in the 2024 elections in our region. Whether you are on the board or a member, we would like to hear from you about your priorities and the types of activities you may be interested in. Together we can make a difference!

Catherine Coolidge - Candidate for Chapter Vice Chair

I have been living in France for 45 years although I was born and bred in Anchorage, Alaska, which is where my 3 adult children and I vote. I have been a member of the Lyon chapter of DA since its founding and am currently running for the position of Chapter Vice Chair.

When I was growing up, Alaskans were either adventurers or military. The late 1960s oil boom, with its $900m windfall, forever changed this sleepy, forgotten statesuddenly big money was everywhere, job-seekers arrived in droves, conservationists were pitted against developers, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act was signed into law and the Alaska Permanent Fund (nearly $76bn as of Jan 2023) was set up to manage investments and distribute dividends to qualified residents, in order to make sure that future generations of Alaskans would continue to benefit, even if oil resources ran out.

After college, I came to France, got married and, many years later, moved to Lyon to teach English in various business schools and art schools for 26 years. Today, I live in the Beaujolais region north of Lyon and am a contented retiree.

In 2022, Alaska put into practice a first-in-the-nation voting system of completely open primaries and ranked choice voting, leading to the election of Mary Peltola. She is the first Democrat to occupy Alaskas sole House seat in half a century and the very first Alaska Native ever elected to Congress. The US needs more bridge-builders like her, striving to reach across the aisle and work with the opposition in order to improve the lives of all Americans.

The essential issues for me are voting rights, womens rights, first peoples rights, environmental policies and climate change as well as universal healthcare.

I thoroughly enjoy writing regularly to my Congressional representatives!

John Matthews - Candidate for Secretary 

Boulder, Colorado is my voting home. My father was a diplomat, so we moved around quite a bit, living in several different countries. Moving around seems to be in my blood, and as an adult I've additionally lived in Australia, Germany, and now France. I am a self-employed software engineer.

Ive voted in every election since turning 18 in 1972, when McGovern lost miserably to Nixon. I joined the Board shortly after the Lyon chapter was formed in the wake of Donald Trump's election, first as a member-at-large and then as Treasurer.

Some of the causes I support are: health care as a right, racial and gender equality, affordable higher education, fighting global warming, protecting the environment, and voting rights.

We overseas citizens can offer ideas to our leaders back home with our experiences, particularly in the fields of heath care and education. These should be regarded as rights and not profit centers for hedge funds. We are also concerned with unfair treatment in areas such as income taxes, foreign bank account reporting requirements, and not being counted in the census.

I am looking forward to continuing to help wherever I can.

Logan Savage - Candidate for Youth Outreach Coordinator

My name is Logan Savage and I am running for the new Youth Outreach Coordinator position. Originally from North Carolina, I first moved to France in 2014. After completing my master's degree in Paris, I moved to Lyon at the end of 2018. My time as a Democrat stretches back even further to door knocking for a local election in high school.

I've been a member of Democrats Abroad since the beginning of 2019. Having a group of like-minded Americans while living abroad has been a comfort and also a galvanizer through the political ups and downs of the last few years. As Youth Outreach Coordinator, I want to build up an engaged community of young Americans through new member outreach and youth-oriented events.

Coraline Crannell - Candidate for Communications Officer

A final-year student in political science, this summer will mark the beginning of my fourth year in Lyon. Despite my young age, my interest in political affairs has already followed a long trajectory, beginning with an interest in feminist literature in junior high and with the organization of protests and local actions with environmental and gun control associations throughout my time in high school. My previous 2-year long involvement with my local chapter of Ethnic Studies Now! as Secretary and as the President of their youth club was invaluable in learning essential community organizing skills such as proper note-taking and meeting/event organization, both in-person and online, as well as working and negotiating with diverse profiles, including other members and local elected officials. Technical know-how surrounding various communication platforms from other activities make me believe I’d be a good fit for this position. 

Now that I’m definitively installed here in France, I’d like to go beyond my daily NYT reading and renew my involvement with issues that matter dearly to me, together with a group of passionate and like-minded Americans, looking for some camaraderie abroad and to do all that we can to help our country from afar.

Candidates for Member at Large  

Diane Sklar

I’m a baby boomer from New York who came to Lyon in 2015 after a career in the tech sector. In my last technology job, I was a product manager for money-laundering detection software.  

Like many of us, I was shaken awake from my complacency after the 2016 election. Since then, I’ve been actively involved in the Lyon chapter of Democrats Abroad which was founded early in 2017.  I’ve been Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer and on DA’s global IT team. I’ve organized and marched in protests for climate regulations, reproductive rights, immigration reform and civil rights. In this election cycle, I am seeking a position as a Lyon Member-at-Large.   

My experience registering American students to vote from abroad, some for the first time ever, was particularly inspiring.  I believe our mission, moving forward, is to grow our membership of young Americans living in France and give them the tools to move our Democratic goals forward.  I’m so grateful to have found kindred souls in Democrats Abroad. It is a community of forward-thinking Americans looking to make our country live up to its potential.  

Lindsey Robrecht

I was raised in Portland, OR, but currently vote in Missouri. It's nice to vote in a swing state for once! I moved to Lyon in 2012 and have two daughters with my French husband (a preschooler and one arriving this Spring).

I joined the Lyon board pretty much as soon as it was created as a member at large. I like feeling like I'm doing something, however small, to help propel social justice forward. Some of the issues closest to my heart are: racial and reproductive justice, health care as a human right, environmental protection, and LGBTQIA+ equality. 

I look forward to continuing the work that we have been doing since 2017 at DA Lyon. 

Betty Beeler

I am interested in joining the board of Democrats Abroad Lyon as a member-at-large. As a dual citizen living on the outskirts of Saint-Etienne in the Monts Lyonnais, I’ve benefited from Democrats Abroad's friendly but persistent reminders to vote over the past few years (as far back as the Obama years), and would like to help the association grow and do the same for others. I expect to have more to learn than to contribute at first, but I catch on quickly.

I vote in North Carolina, where I lived before coming to France almost 40 years ago. I started my career as a teacher in the Peace Corps in West Africa which is where I developed an interest in living in other cultures. Here in France I was the head of international development and professor of cross-cultural management at the Ecole Supérieur de Commerce de Saint-Etienne (a branch of EM-Lyon). Although I retired in 2016, I continue to do research on the impact of the domination of English in international business, and am active in two other clubs: the Saint-Etienne chapter of Business and Professional Women, and Cygna, an academic women's group based in London. I hope to put the experience I've gained in those associations to good use at DA Lyon.


All members of the DAF Lyon Chapter  may vote in the leadership elections. The elections will be decided by a plurality of votes (the candidate who gets the most votes in the election wins). DAF does not accept proxy votes. The ballot includes a space for write-in candidates for all positions.  

New members are welcome to join and vote. To join: www.democratsabroad.org/join. You must be a US citizen 18 years of age or older by Nov. 7, 2023. New members may join up until the day before the election.

Questions? Please contact the DA France Lyon Chapter Election Board at:

[email protected]

Thank you for voting!

DAF Lyon Chapter Election Board