It is Meet the Team Monday! Today, we continue our blog series with a focus on our National Caucus leadership - with the Co-Chair of our LGBTQ+ Caucus, Fred Hoffman.
Having lived in Paris for many years and a concerned American Abroad, Fred first became involved with Democrats Abroad France during Hillary Clinton's first presidential campaign.
In 2019, Fred joined the LGBTQ+ Caucus with the intention of expanding membership and organizing events and fundraisers with this community, both for political reasons and social interaction. His primary goals for the caucus are to bring members of the LGBTQ+ community together to discuss issues that concern LGBTQ+ Americans everywhere, and to help reach American ex-pats in France and help them to get registered to vote and then to get out the vote.
Fred’s favorite moment to date was meeting Nancy Pelosi earlier this year in Normandy during the celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the Landing in Normandy!
Fred is a consultant and speaker in the Fitness and Wellness industries.
Now, on to some fun facts about Fred:
- He votes in New York.
- His favorite political icon is Barack Obama.
- His top 3 issue areas are defeat Donald Trump in 2020, maintaining the House and taking over the Senate.
- His first political memory was the assassination of JFK.
And, when asked what he would do if he were President of the United States for a day, he responded: “Invite Barack and Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton to the White House for a dinner together!”
To learn more about the LGBTQ+ Caucus, you can contact Fred at [email protected].
It is Meet the Team Monday! Today, we continue our blog series - with the Co-Chair of our Youth Caucus, Alex Rehbinder.
In 2018, Alex (along with Rachel Padilla) was elected co-chairs of the DA France Youth Caucus (or Young Dems in France).
“Our goal is to ensure that the voices of young members of the Democratic Party residing in France are heard, and to get out the youth vote.”
Since moving to Paris from his hometown of Los Angeles, California, Alex has been actively involved with DA France’s voter outreach efforts.
When he isn’t busy organizing debate watch parties or meet ups for the Youth Caucus, Alex works as a paralegal in Paris.
Now, on to some fun facts about Alex:
His favorite political icon is Bernie Sanders.
- His first political memory was “probably watching the Colbert Report or Real Time”
- His top 3 issue areas are climate change, money in politics, and youth mobilization.
- His favorite DAF memory so far has been “meeting Marianne Williamson at the DPCA Global Meeting in D.C. and attending DA’s European, Middle Eastern and African (EMEA) leadership conference in Athens, Greece.”
And, when asked what he would do if he were President of the United States for a day, he responded that it would be a day filled with “executive orders, sentence commutations and a laundry list of pardons.”
There is lots of events and activities being organized by Young Dems in France. If you would like to learn more or would like to volunteer, check out their Facebook page. You can contact Alex and Rachel at [email protected].
It is Meet the Team Monday! Today, we continue our blog series with a focus on our National Caucus leadership - with the Co-Chair of our Diversity Caucus, Veronica Pollard.
After moving to Paris seven years ago, Veronica joined Democrats Abroad France, participating in many DAF activities over the years, including those sponsored by the Diversity Caucus. Among the most memorable of those activities were the DAF trip to Normandy last June for the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the series of DAF Civics Seminars, and the celebration of the life and accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his death in 2018, sponsored by the Diversity Caucus.
Prior to being appointed Co-Chair, Veronica worked as the Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.
Now, on to some fun facts about Veronica:
- She votes in New York.
- Her favorite political icon is the U.S. Flag.
- Her top 3 issue areas are inequality, the environment, and foreign policy
- Her first political memory was the election of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
And, when asked what she would do if she were President of the United States for a day, Veronica replied that she would establish the issue of inequality as the top priority to solve.
To learn more about and to get involved with the Diversity Caucus, please contact Veronica at [email protected].
It is Meet the Team Monday! Today, we continue our blog series with a focus on our National Caucus leadership - starting with the Co-Chair of our Diversity Caucus, Reed Kennedy.
Reed Kennedy is the Chair of the Democrats Abroad France - Paris chapter and Co-Chair of the Diversity Caucus.
Reed initially became involved with DA in 2016 after attending events to meet other Americans in Paris. In 2017, he was elected as a Member-At-Large to the DAF ExCom and was tasked with revitalizing the Diversity Caucus. In 2018, Reed was elected as Chair of the Paris chapter.
Now, as a co-chair of the Diversity Caucus, Reed is dedicated to maintaining a forum that brings together people interested in issues concerning people of color.
“Our mission is to support, educate and enlighten our community with social, political and cultural events,” explained Reed. “We hope to engage, empower and motivate our members and the larger community of Americans in France to exercise their right to vote from abroad.”
Over the course of his involvement in DAF and the Diversity Caucus, some of the memorable events that Reed has helped coordinate were the Dr. Martin Luther King Commemoration at the American Church in Paris, the private tour of the “Modèle Noir” exhibition at the Musée d’Orsay, and DAF’s Juneteenth celebration.
When he busy with all things DAF, Reed works as a Senior Product Manager at Coffreo.
Now, on to some fun facts about Reed:
- He votes in New York.
- His favorite political icon is Robert Smalls.
- His top 3 issue areas are education, healthcare, and civil rights.
- His first political memory working as a Senate page in 1991.
And, when asked what he would do if he were President of the United States for a day, he responded: “I would implement a program to free all prisoners arrested for non-violent drug offenses which provides re-entry services such as job training, mentors, etc.”
To learn more about and to get involved with the Diversity Caucus, please contact Reed at [email protected].
It is Meet the Team Monday! Today, we continue our blog series with an interview with our National Vice Chair - Jonathon Holler.
Jonathon Holler is National Vice Chair of Democrats Abroad France and has worked tirelessly to make DAF an effective vehicle for political change.
In 2016, Jonathon created an official Youth Caucus at the national level to better welcome members of a vital demographic to the party.
“After attending a few casual meet-ups, I realized the potential of DAF for mobilizing the expat youth vote in France and decided to help put together a functioning caucus,” explained Jonathon. “I'm pleased to see it continue to thrive today and to offer a space for young Democrats to connect with American politics while abroad.”
In 2018 and 2019, he co-chaired a steering committee for the creation of the local Paris Chapter of Democrats Abroad France. Over the course of his involvement in DAF, Jonathon has organized voter outreach, conferences and soirées (the 2016 Youth Caucus Election Party with more than 600 attendees for example) and represented the Democratic Party on television, on the radio, and at public functions.
Within Democrats Abroad, Jonathon has voted for an endorsement of the Equal Rights Amendment, for resolutions to make national elections fairer and more transparent, and for changes to DA’s bylaws make them more inclusive to members of the transgender community.
Outside DAF, Jonathon works as a corporate communications coordinator.
Now, onto some fun facts about Jonathon:
- He votes in Texas.
- His favorite political icon is Franklin D. Roosevelt.
- His top 3 issue areas are climate change, economic inequality, and voting rights.
- His first political memory was “The feverishness of Bill Clinton's impeachment proceedings.”
And, when asked what he would do if he were President of the United States for a day, he responded: “I would actively support legislation to make our electoral system more democratic, including a federal voting holiday, restrictions on super PACs, the abolition of the electoral college and more funding for federal voting assistance programs, including services for absentee voting.”
If you would like to get more involved with Democrats Abroad France, you can get in touch with Jonathon at [email protected]
It is Meet the Team Monday! Today, we continue our blog series with an interview with our National Communications Coordinator - Robin Guinot.
Robin Guinot is the National Communications Coordinator of Democrats Abroad France. Since her appointment and subsequent election to this new position on the national executive committee, she has worked tirelessly to create a coherent ‘branding’ for both national and chapter communication, to expand DAF’s social media presence and provide support for our GOTV efforts, and find new ways to engage the progressive community of Americans across France.
Robin initially joined DAF in 2017 and went on to help found the Lyon Chapter.
“Like many people, I became involved in DA after the 2016 elections,” she explained. “ At the time, there was no chapter here in Lyon, so I showed up at a meeting, not knowing what to expect. But the interest among expat Americans here was so strong, we were able to create a new chapter right away!”
Robin was first elected chapter Vice Chair of the Lyon Chapter and then, in 2018, assumed the responsibilities of Chapter Chair.
Now, on to some fun facts about Robin:
- She votes in New York.
- Her favorite political icon is Hillary Clinton.
- Her top 3 issue areas are climate change, gun control, and women's reproductive rights.
- Her first political memory was “Watergate. I had no idea what all of the grownups were so upset about. I just knew that it was very big and very bad.”
- Her job outside of Democrats Abroad: “Too busy with DAFrance to do anything else!”
- If she were President of the United States for a day, she would “Make it all go away! executive orders to permanently join the Paris Climate Accord, create effective gun control (including the repurchase and subsequent ban of assault weapons), assure equal rights AND the right to abortion for women. Impeach Bill Barr and Brett Kavanaugh. That's in the first few hours. We have a lot of work to do.
If you are interested in contributing to the communications activities of Democrats Abroad France in 2020, please get in touch with Robin at [email protected]. There are plenty of different ways that you can contribute to our efforts to WIN BIG and WIN BLUE in 2020!
It is Meet the Team Monday! Today, we continue our blog series with an interview with our National Volunteer Coordinator - Gretchen Pascalis.
Gretchen Pascalis the National Volunteer Coordinator for Democrats Abroad France.
She initially became involved in 2011 when DAF “descended upon Grenoble in the hopes of creating a chapter,” and founded the Rhone-Alps chapter. In the wake of Trump’s election, Gretchen traveled to Lyon and helped found the Lyon chapter. “I thought a few people might show up. Instead, about twenty-five angry, sad, motivated people came to create a chapter, and it's been a privilege to work with several of them since then.”
When she’s not organizing volunteer efforts for DAF, Gretchen is a university lecturer at the Université Savoie Mont Blanc. She votes in Maine.
Now, onto some fun facts about Gretchen:
- Her favorite political icon is Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez “because she's such a wonderful example of the difference that young females of color can make”
- Her top 3 issue areas are climate change, healthcare as a human right, and free public education.
- Her first political memory was “picking up litter in a park as a child and exclaiming to my parents, "President Nixon ought to throw these people in jail!"
- And, if she were President of the United States for a day, she would “rejoin the Paris agreement, ban automatic assault weapons, ban gerrymandering, provide free public education and healthcare to all, and end ICE.”
If you would like to find out more about the volunteer opportunities with Democrats Abroad France, please get in touch with Gretchen at [email protected]. There are lots of different ways that you can contribute to our efforts to WIN BIG and WIN BLUE in 2020!
It is Meet the Team Monday! Today, we continue our blog series with an interview with our National Vice Chair, Chapter Liaison - Meredith Wheeler.
Meredith Wheeler is the National Vice Chair - Chapter Liaison for Democrats Abroad France (DAF), and her role consists of coordinating efforts among the 12 chapters.
Meredith has been an active member of Democrats Abroad France for the past 16 years. In 2003, she helped found and chair the Toulouse chapter.
“Like many Americans across Europe, we were organizing to oppose the disastrous war on Iraq … and so I started the Toulouse chapter in southwestern France. We were the second chapter in France (after the Riviera) and very quickly became one of the largest and most dynamic.”
Prior to moving abroad, Meredith worked as a writer/ producer for ABC News in New York and London, with Peter Jennings, Sam Donaldson, and Barbara Walters. Her experience in journalism has been a great asset to DAF.
Now, onto some fun facts about Meredith:
- Her favorite political icon is Barack Obama.
- Her top 3 issue areas are climate change, gun control and defeating the Republicans at every opportunity, “especially ridding the White House of Trump!”
- Her first political memory was President Kennedy’s assasination.
Of the numerous initiatives she’s worked on, Meredith is most proud of the Obama Bridge Project—to which Susan Vaillant of DAF Strasbourg gave the magic tagline: Yes We Span! The project entailed photographing Obama supporters at famous and scenic bridges (the bridge being a metaphor for him). People on every continent took part!
It is Meet the Team Monday! Today, we continue our blog series with an interview with our National Counsel - Julia Grégoire.
Julia Grégoire is the National Legal Counsel for Democrats Abroad France (DAF), and she works to ensure DAF’s compliance with the relevant laws and regulations on both sides of the Atlantic.
Born in France and raised in America, Julia is an active lawyer in both countries and a member of the Paris, New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island bars. Her current practice specializes in the intersection of French and American legal issues for businesses and individuals.
Prior to working in Paris, Julia worked in New York as a human rights lawyer, where she helped develop public defenders’ offices in Haiti and Bolivia and assisted with advocacy efforts for disenfranchised Haitian-Dominicans in the Dominican Republic.
Julia initially became involved with DAF in 2016 when she spotted DA volunteers at their usual spot outside of Shakespeare & Co. registering voters. After attending several events, she joined as member and then decided to run for Counsel.
Now, on to some fun facts about Julia:
- She votes in Rhode Island.
- Her favorite political icons are Barack and Michelle Obama.
- Her top issue areas are education, income inequality, healthcare, and gun control.
- Her first political memory was “voting in my elementary school election for Bill Clinton against George H.W. Bush and counting the ballots in the ballot box for a Clinton victory.”
And if she were President of the United States for a day, she responded:
“I would have people take part in an exchange program where they would switch places or spend one day with someone from a totally different background from themselves - someone of a different race, different sexual orientation, different socioeconomic background, different religion, and even better, a different political background! Seeing and understanding each other's differences will bring us closer. “
It is Meet the Team Monday! Today, we continue our blog series with an interview with our National GOTV Coordinator - Mickey Farrance.
Mickey Farrance is National “Get Out The Vote” (GOTV) Coordinator and the DA France Grenoble Chapter Secretary.
After the 2016 elections, Mickey founded in Grenoble a chapter of Indivisibles-France, a group dedicated to resisting threats to democracy and human rights worldwide. Mickey became involved with Democrats Abroad when the Indivisibles chapter merged with the DAF Grenoble chapter, noting that “alliances make us more effective and further our reach!”
Mickey votes in California and currently resides in Grenoble, where she is a marketing manager for a software publishing company.
Now, on to some fun facts about Mickey:
- Her favorite political icon at the moment is “Liz Warren, the politician I wish I could be…”
- Her top 3 issue areas are 1) fixing our broken government that is riddled with abuses of power and corruption. That means 2) fighting voter suppression and 3) neutralizing manipulations like gerrymandering.
- Her first political memory was the Watergate hearings. ("Yes, I'm I-remember-Nixon old!")
And, when asked what she would do if she were President of the United States for a day, she responded:
“What can anyone do in a single day!? Kick #MoscowMitch in the butt maybe? Wouldn't change much, but it would be highly satisfying.”