July 20 - Resistance Wins

This week’s news from Washington points out the power of resistance – thanks to thousands of voices raised against the Senate health care bill, Mitch McConnell backed away from calling a vote on it. Many of those voices were ours and I am very thankful to everyone who contacted Congress about AHCA and how it would affect Americans abroad and our families and friends back home.

Republican senators don’t seem interested in learning from their mistakes though, so we will continue in our efforts to push against their health care agenda – especially as the Senate threatens to vote on a repeal of ACA next week. More soon on our next health care initiative!  

Next week we’ll be rolling out our Resistance Summer membership growth program, designed to grow membership this year so we can better get out the vote next year! We will be asking every DA member to reach out to at least five American friends abroad and help them join Democrats Abroad. Anyone who signs up five new members earns a shout out on the DA website. High flying membership all-stars who bring in 25 new members or more earn a DA Resists t-shirt, and special prizes go to regional winners.

For all of you avid Get Out the Vote (GOTV) volunteers, now is the time to send in your comments on the latest version of the FPCA form. The Federal Voter Assistance Program (FVAP) team is being very responsive so it’s definitely worth taking the time to review and consider suggestions. Any feedback, please send to gotv@democratsabroad.org and we will compile and send it in. 

The Senate Finance committee has just recently sent out a call for recommendations regarding tax reform. Our taxation task force responded this week with an in-depth document spelling out the difficulties for Americans abroad. For a summary and a link to our submission check out this article on the DA site

The DA France rally during Trump’s visit to Paris last week provided another great example of a country committee rallying for Democratic issues during a Trump trip abroad. We also love how DAF partnered with PAGE and Indivisible. Working together makes us all stronger. If you know a partner group that would be interested in working with us, get in touch and let us know. 

Thank you for all that you do.


July 4 - Happy Fourth of July

We hold these truths to be self-evident - that all people are created equal, and that we are endowed with certain unalienable rights, among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

As we celebrate July 4th around the world, we celebrate how far we’ve come since a brave few signed the Declaration of Independence and sent it boldly on its way to a monarch who considered its very concepts of freedom and democracy to be treasonous.

We celebrate democracy’s spread to many corners of the globe since that time, and with it civil rights, freedom of speech, freedom of mobility, and the freedom to vote.

And we remember that we carry the American vision with us everywhere we live and work. It’s that same vision that inspires us to stand up and fight for democratic values, and to work to make our world a more equal place, where many more than a select few can enjoy the rights we hold so dear.

Today I want to thank you for your efforts to support democracy and protect our rights: your letters and calls to Congress, your phone calls to fellow citizens to get out the vote, and your advocacy for the issues we value most. Thank you, and I hope you have a wonderful Fourth!

June 22 - Welcome Hispanic Caucus + Focus on Healthcare

I’m proud to announce that the Hispanic Caucus is now an official caucus within Democrats Abroad. Caucus chair Ana Blackstad (Czech Republic), will be putting out a global call for caucus members next week, but's not too early to join now  - head to our volunteer page to easily sign up! The caucus has exciting plans that we'll be hearing more about very shortly. Stay tuned!  

Our other caucuses will also be taking part in the global call for caucus members. That global email should go out on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. 

Our global teams are ramping up left and right thanks to Resistance Summer, and I’m delighted to announce the newly formed Design Team. Led by Quaide Williams (Germany), the team will focus on improving and expanding our graphics, print materials, social media memes and more. If you would like to volunteer for the team, please get in touch at designteam@democratsabroad.org

Our Comms, Design and Action teams have been busy this week rolling out a coordinated response to the Senate’s backroom AHCA dealings. Be sure to check out our news story on the effect of the healthcare bill on Americans abroad. We also have easy to use call scripts and would appreciate you sharing these scripts and the call to action widely! To help push the calls, we’ll be sending out a global email today or tomorrow asking you to contact your senators.

Last Thursday’s Residency Based Taxation Call Storm Campaign was a great success. Based on the response form feedback, we estimate that we made over 1000 calls. It was gratifying to hear from several senate and representative offices that they were impressed by the numbers of Americans abroad that they’d heard from that day.  

Many thanks go out to our GOTV teams of volunteers who put in many hours calling SC and GA voters recently. Although the results were disappointing, I’d like to particularly highlight the numbers in the SC race - in a gerrymandered district in one of the most conservative areas of SC, Archie Parnell lost by only 3% of the vote. Opportunity knocks for Democrats Abroad in many races across the country next year, we just need to keep up the work. Next up for GOTV we’ll see global efforts underway for getting out the vote in Utah for Chaffetz’s seat and in Alabama for Sessions’.

The DNC is currently helping us organize a meet up with LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, who will be in Berlin on July 6th and who has agreed to a meeting with Democrats Abroad that day. More information on this visit to come!  

June 15 - Call Storm

Today marks the kickoff of the Residency Based Taxation (RBT) Call Storm. Read up on RBT and then make some calls, send a letter or share the news on Facebook or Twitter so your friends can get involved too. The hashtag for the campaign is #DAforRBT  

We're always working on making it easier for you to find the information you're looking for on the site. Thanks to one of our super volunteers, we now have search functionality added. Located right beside the login, the search icon will take you to a search page where you can drill down until you find just the right article. 

We've also added a section to the news area called "DNC Updates". We'll be featuring the Dems Live videos and other news from the DNC there to help you find out more about what the DNC is working on back in the States.  

In GOTV news, there are only a few more days until the GA special election in congressional district 6 and the special election in SC congressional district 5.  Check out DA Ireland Chair Greg Johnson’s interview about his experience voting in the GA election, and consider phone banking for the SC election – we still have people to call and time to get those ballots in to SC!

June 8 - Getting ready for RBT

Are you holding a Comey watch party today? If you’re looking for a way to watch, check out this Wired article for a range of options. Some of our country committee chairs aren’t just watching, they are also being interviewed by the press. Check out your country committee's web or facebook page to see if your country leaders were interviewed!

DA saw lots of actions happening last week, with countries from Peru to Belgium organizing and participating in the March for Truth. We also ran a global initiative on the Paris Accord, asking you to reach out to your mayors and governors to demand that they support the agreement. Our contact lines buzzed after that email, and we received dozens of messages back supporting the action and were able to track almost a thousand resulting actions.

What’s next? Residency Based Taxation! We’re rolling out a massive campaign in support of RBT, and asking every member to participate in some way over the summer. The kick off date for the campaign is June 15 and if you haven’t heard about the Congressional Call Storm and other events happening that day, check out the Taxation page and expect an email on the subject really soon!

Are you interested in making phone calls to special election voters living abroad? We still have Georgia voters to reach out to and the Get Out the Vote (GOTV) and IT teams have almost finished preparing SC member calls, helping out Archie Parnell’s race in Congressional District 5. Get in touch with the GOTV team at gotv@democratsabroad.org for more information.

In other global business news, International Counsel Tom Schmid has appointed co-deputy Counsels for EMEA – Rebekah Rollo (Germany) and Yasmin Mang (Germany) and deputy Counsel for the Americas – Sam Stone (Mexico) to serve on the counsel team around the world. Many thanks to these dedicated volunteers! 

As you know, it’s Pride month, and we’re proudly flying the rainbow flag on the DA website. Do check out the recent article from the LGBT caucus about their activity and consider volunteering with the caucus.

June 1 - Resistance Summer!

June 1st marks the first day of Resistance Summer and Pride Month! Kick starting Resistance Summer, several country committees are taking part in the global March for Truth on June 3rd. Find a march near you, or join us on social media with a picture of you and your protest poster (don’t forget to add #DAMarchForTruth to your post so we can find you!).  

We’re also urging members to call or email the White House about Trump’s Paris Accord decision. We’ll be sending out a global email shortly about this initiative.

On Thursday, June 15 country committees around the world are planning on participating in the Residency Based Taxation Call Storm. The Taxation team has set up a handy page here to help explain the campaign. This week we’ll be sending out additional supplements to help make the action even easier. Please consider adding it to your schedule for this month!   

The Get Out the Vote (GOTV) team are starting a last push for the GA 06 runoff election, sending out emails and asking phone banking volunteers to call our GA 06 members one more time to make sure that they have either mailed in their ballot or (if they haven’t received it yet) sent in their FWAB. If you would like to help out on phone banking, get in touch with the GOTV team at gotv@democratsabroad.org. More soon on the SC 05 race and Archie Parnell.  

Our Regional Vice Chairs (RVCs) are in the process of calling all country committees about summer actions and getting their teams ramped up. In the Americas Kathy Rothschild (Costa Rica) has agreed to act as deputy RVC for Jody Quinnell, in Asia Pacific Kat Allikian (New Zealand) and Kari Hiepko-Odermann (India) are helping out Shaun Barnes as his deputies and in EMEA Bob Vallier (France), Michelle Taube (Denmark) and Quaide Williams (Germany) have agreed to help Will Bakker as deputies.

Until next week! 

May 25 - Back from D.C.

What a whirlwind of a week we just had. Thank you to so many leaders from around the world for attending the DA Global Meeting either in person or on webex, and then to all the great door knockers who let Congress know that Americans abroad have a voice we know how to use! For more details on the meetings and door knocks, check out the day by day accounts for meeting days 1, 2, 3, and 4 plus our two days of doorknocks

While our teams were working their way through the halls of the Capitol, Alex Montgomery (our newly elected International Vice Chair) and I were getting to know and meeting with DNC staff. Many of them are as new in their positions as we are, and it was a pleasure to be able to introduce Democrats Abroad to them as we made our rounds, and meet others who had already heard about DA (thanks to our former International Chair Katie Solon and our DNC members!). We were also delighted to be able to be on Dems Live with Keith Ellison and Congresswoman Maloney and so many DA leaders.  

I'm back in Prague now and Alex is back in Hong Kong. We're working on rolling out Resistance Summer plans which we'll be writing more about shortly. Thank you for your continued work and enthusiasm as we move towards 2018 - it is much appreciated! 

If you have any questions in the meantime, let me know at info@democratsabroad.org. I am looking forward to working with you all.

Julia Bryan
International Chair
Democrats Abroad