Democrats Abroad Austria March Newsletter

In this March 2017 issue:

  1. Upcoming Events

    1. 2017 Annual General Meeting and Elections – March 18

    2. Solidarity Sundays Vienna #2 – March 26

  2. Issues and Actions

    1. Grassroots Grow Roots

    2. Reflections from the Outgoing DAA Chair

  3. DAA Review

    1. Solidarity Sundays #1 in Support of Planned Parenthood

    2. Graz Meet-Up – Afternoon of Action

      4. Member's Corner

    1. International Women’s Day/A Day Without Women – March 8
    2. April 15 Join Trump taxes call-in
    3. April 22 Science March 


1. Upcoming Events

    • 2017 Annual General Meeting and Executive Committee Election

Please join fellow DA Austria members on Saturday, March 18th to recap a very eventful 2016 and elect members of the Executive Committee.

Date: Saturday, March 18, 2017

Time: 3:30 - 5:30 pm (doors open at 3:00 pm)

Place: SPÖ Neubau, Lindengasse 64 (ground floor), 1070 Vienna

Contact: Mary Ann Balko-Koch, [email protected]


Please pre-register for the meeting by clicking here to contact -> Mary Ann Balko-Koch ([email protected]).

Include your: Name, address, phone number and voting state in your email to her so that your record stays current. This will help us start the meeting on time and ensure that we have an accurate vote count. We encourage all members to pre-register, even if you're uncertain that you can make it, in order to minimize long waiting lines.

We are making a group reservation for dinner after the meeting at 6pm at The Brickmakers, Zieglergasse 42 (a five-minute walk from the meeting location) If you'd like to be included in the reservation, please inform Mary Ann when you pre-register.  We need to tell the restaurant how many we will be, so we’d appreciate your pre-registration by Saturday, March 11 if you plan to join us for dinner!  


    • Solidarity Sundays #2: Action for DREAMERS & Team-building for Future SolSuns
Time: Sunday March 26, 4-6pm 
Place: Central Vienna, address TBA
Contact: [email protected] 
DAA Grassroots brings you yet another fun and informative action event! 
On the last Sunday of every month in 2017, we are organising a “Solidarity Sundays”– a short, late afternoon devoted to one high-priority issue for Democrats.
Our volunteer team for March 26 invites you to take action for DREAMERS. We'll address the current wave of deportation of undocumented immigrants and write letters to the editor of our hometown papers–the most-read page of any paper and a great place to advocate. Our team will help you find the address of your local papers, and have advice and sample texts at hand, plus a printer for you to use. Make your voice heard!
Parallel to this action, we are going to choose topics for our future SolSuns. It’s your chance to suggest and adopt a topic and work with our Grassroots  mentors to make a Solidarity Sundays come alive. Be part of the Resistance! Check the  events page and keep an eye on the DAA Facebook page for location information. 

2. Issues and Actions

    •  Grassroots Grow Roots

In the aftermath of the election, three DAA members, Antje Lewis, Tanya Lolonis, and Juan David Cerda, banded together to “Make America Safe for Democracy Again!” They set themselves the challenge of activating Democrats Abroad members and U.S. ex-pats in Austria, and to have fun while doing it. Since November, Grassroots of Democrats Abroad Austria Caucus has developed a format and a growing list of ideas to turn frustration into action. 

In the spirit of the activist groups Indivisible and Solidarity Sundays, Solidarity Sundays Vienna plans monthly meet-ups to target a specific issue or non-profit organization under threat by the Trump Administration and the Republican-controlled houses of Congress. 

The goal of this grassroots effort is to build a community of activists in Austria. The ideas and energy that the group generates reflect a participatory approach: DAA members are encouraged to propose an issue to target and the Caucus will help you organize your action or event. 

What issue do you wish to support? Join us! We’ll support you in constructing events that educate and activate, whether it be contacting our representatives, conducting teach-ins or read-ins, skywriting, or marching. Contact Tanya, Antje, or Juan to get the wheels in motion for a Solidarity Sundays Vienna action you’d like to see. Grassroots of DAA Caucus wants to hear from you: we know you have LOTS to say!


    • Reflections from the Outgoing DAA Chair, Keith Jacomine

Four years ago at the March Annual General Meeting, I was elected Chair of Democrats Abroad Austria. My, how time has flown by.  Over the past four years, we have seen the highs of the second term of the Obama presidency and the beginning of the nightmare of the Trump Administration. Could the contrast be any greater?


In looking back over this time, I'm proud of our many accomplishments: in both the midterm and presidential elections volunteers made thousands of phone calls to encourage members to vote and provide support on casting absentee ballots; we ran a very successful global primary where over half of our members cast a ballot; and we increased our membership significantly over that period. And it wasn't just hard work and no play – DAA became more active in the expat community and increased member engagement through social outings such as Fourth of July and Thanksgiving events, participation in the Pride Parade, wine tastings, theatre events, and Young Dems Pub Nights.


For all their help and support in making the past four years a success, I'd like to thank our many volunteers and my fellow members of the Executive Committee: Vice-Chair Ashley Arreola; Council Chris Gastner; Secretary Eva Ciabattoni; Treasurer Fred Robinson; and Members-At-Large Stanley Hale, Caitlin Ahern, Mary Ann Balko-Koch and Matt Stevens.  

While some of the Excom members are running to retain their positions, both Ashley and I are not seeking reelection in our current capacities due to term limitations. Additionally, two of our long-serving Executive Committee members-at-large, Stan Hale and Mary Ann Balko-Koch, have chosen to retire at this time. I'd like to give Ashley, Stan a Mary Ann a special thanks.  


Ashley has been an invaluable co-conspirator during my tenure as chair. She provided youth and vigor to the group and brought a fresh can-do approach to our discussions. Ashley is also directly responsible for creating the Young Dems group in Austria and getting them together for monthly outings.  


Stanley joined DAA as Media Contact in 2006 and served until 2017, and also for many years formatted and dispatched the newsletter. Stan says one of his unforgettable experiences as our media contact was the early breakfast on Wednesday, November 5, 2008, at the Lion Rampant pub in the 19th district with a group of delirious expats who had spent the night following the election results with live CNN streaming and the never-ending stream of journalists who interviewed him in German. We thank Stan for his many years ensuring that we, our positions and Democratic candidates are favorably represented in the press.  


Mary Ann has been on the Executive Committee since 2010 and is responsible for membership and our member data base.  Through Mary Ann's hard work and dedication, our membership data base has consistently been ranked as one of the cleanest and most accurate in all of Democrats Abroad.  The accuracy of our data base and the resulting verified membership is important for things such as the number of votes our country committee gets to cast for some Democratic Party Committee Abroad business matters.  I say this partly in jest but it's an accurate statement: I've known Mary Ann to spend countless hours emailing, writing or calling unverified members in an effort to ensure that they still reside in Austria.  Since I became chair, Mary Ann has been my first call if a question arose that I couldn't answer.  I thank her for her time, commitment and friendship during the past four years.  


Knowing our slate of candidates who have so far tossed their hats in the ring, I am confident and optimistic that Democrats Abroad Austria will continue to be an active and vital organization in these challenging times and that DAA will continue to fight for democratic and progressive ideals – and we will work our asses off to get Democrats elected in the 2018 midterms and win back the White House in 2020.

Thank you again for giving me the honor to serve as chair. It's an experience I will cherish forever.


Keith M. Jacomine

Democrats Abroad Austria Chair 



3. DAA Review

    • Solidarity Sundays #1 in Support of Planned Parenthood

On Sunday, February 26, more than thirty members and non-members joined us at Die AU for the very first Solidarity Sundays Vienna. Thanks to the efforts of DAA members Allison Gutscher and Lizzie Stevens it was a HUGE success!


We watched a short film about the history of Planned Parenthood, discussed ideas for future actions, and listened to some great songs performed by Danny Chicago. It was a family affair and everyone did a lot of writing.  On Monday, more than 100 postcards were sent by DHL to the States to be mailed with the USPS to our senators and members of Congress. Thanks to everyone who did their bit to make this event successful!


Join us at Solidarity Sundays Vienna #2 on March 26. Details TBA on our Facebook page, #SolidaritySundaysVienna. There is a lot of solidarity out there – we garnered 216 likes on the main Solidarity Sundays FB page! For more information about the threat to Planned Parenthood go to #IstandwithPP.

    • Graz Meet-Up: Day of Action

On Friday, February 17th, a few motivated Dems braved the rain to meet up in Graz and brainstorm actions to take from “the Green Heart of Austria”. We composed a list of helpful links and resources, which is shared on the Democrats Abroad in Graz Facebook group (please join if interested!). If you’d like a copy of the document, or to stay in touch if not on Facebook, contact Caitlin Ahern at [email protected].


4. Member's Corner 

    • International Women’s Day / A Day Without a Woman – March 8 

In celebration of the International Day Without a Woman, and in support of all women around the world, our friends at the Rational Readers Club of Vienna will not be working on March 8. Instead, we will be meeting to discuss The Rebel by Albert Camus, recent events related to intersectional feminism, and the Indivisible Guide (

We welcome anyone who would like to join us--please just contact us in advance at [email protected]. We will be meeting again in April to discuss our next book, Hannah Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism, and would enthusiastically welcome new book club members.

Details: Rational Readers Club of Vienna will be meeting Wednesday, March 8 at 11:30 am at Café Phil (Gumpendorferstraße 10-12, 1060 Vienna), and will be wearing red in solidarity with women around the world. Please contact [email protected] to RSVP or to inquire about joining the book club. In addition, there are many events planned in Vienna for International Women's Day. Please click here for a comprehensive listing