My name is Jon Roth, I am the current Vice Chair of DAN, and I am running to be Chair for the upcoming term. In concert with Audrey Camp, our outgoing Chair, and my fellow board members, I point proudly to the progress we have made in developing an outreach program that successfully harnessed the energy from our political wing coming out of 2016, which helped to begin the healing of political wounds and give our local constituency an outlet to organize and do our part to contribute to the achievements of 2018's blue wave! We leaned into partnership programming, expanded our communications and media relations activities and broadened our relationships with local businesses to promote and host our activities and visibility. My candidacy is one of continuity from the local engagement side, and of political experience and competence from a public facing perspective. My professional experience working in DC policy circles will prove valuable in the 2020 cycle, as the local interest in the presidential election will require a DAN leadership personality to consult with the media, and I am able to speak on all matters of politics and policy with articulate authority on behalf of us, our organization and our party. I humbly ask for your vote so we can continue our trajectory of progress and I look forward to welcoming and working with you all.
For Vice Chair
I am Christina Skovsgaard and I was born a Democrat. The first time I attended a DA Global meeting in Toronto (2005), I knew I found a home. For the past 14 years, Democrats Abroad Norway has become an integral part of my life and has helped me have an active voice even while living abroad.
Americans abroad are increasingly enduring unintended but seriously adverse impacts from US legislation that does not consider our unique circumstances. These policies can affect citizenship and it transmission, voting access, immigration and taxation. I’ve served DAN as the acting Vice-Chair (2008), volunteered for the 2008 Convention, was appointed as the International Representative in 2009 until 2015, and have served as Counsel from 2011 until 2017. I have been involved in voter-registration, phone-banking, fundraising, event planning, and Door-Knocking in DC (09,11,14,17). I’m the only board member to have attended all yearly regional and global DA meetings, also at my own expense (Brussels, Vancouver, Florence, Seoul, Japan DC.etc.). These activities not only allowed me to update myself on DA happenings and lobbying efforts, but also enabled me to build a community of fascinating American’s living around the world.
I was happy to work with the new energic DAN board elected in 2017. They appointed me to be the “Get Out the Vote Coordinator”. I have taken the online course to become a Voting Assistance Officer. I also am now serving on the Steering Committee of the DA Global Women’s Caucus and the DA Global Black Caucus. In the US, for the 2018 election, I worked as a poll observer in Ohio.
My Vision:DAN should enable Americans to use their voice. Senate and Congress races have been won due to our votes, opening eyes in DC. Some resolutions written by DA members are now part of the DNC platform. We should increase information and encourage social events. We need to encourage Chapter development to increase membership and participation thought out Norway. In a volunteer organization, it is vital to value the input of others and work as a team.
In the many years that I’ve lived in Norway, first as a wife, then a mother and now as a happy grandmother, there has never been such a need for us to have our voices heard.
My name is Arna Desser and I’ve been actively engaged in political activities of one sort or another for almost 50 years, so I was very glad to find a group of like-minded people in Democrats Abroad Norway after the 2016 presidential election fiasco. Participating regularly in DAN activities has given me the opportunity to cultivate new friendships with Americans in Norway and to feel engaged in political activities by helping in get-out-the-vote efforts.
In addition to a deep commitment to social justice and an ability to listen and respond with respect to people with whom I disagree, I bring practical experience to the treasurer’s position. I’ve been the treasurer of the Hardanger Fiddle Association of America, a non-profit organization in the U.S. with an annual budget of about $35,000, since 1999, and, for the past several years, treasurer of one of the Norwegian dance groups in which I participate. I’m also relatively fluent in Norwegian.
A few personal details: I’m a native Baltimorean (and fanatic Oriole fan) who moved to Norway almost 13 years ago. I have a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Maryland and currently work as a health economist at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health performing cost-effectiveness analyses of new medications, medical devices and other types of health technologies.
Democrats Abroad Norway Vice Chair, Christina Skovsgaard was recently in Washington D.C. for the Democrats Abroad Annual General Meeting and "door-knock".
This is her report—
DA leaders from all around the globe participated in the largest ever DA AGM with more than 120 members participating in person and online. The days were speckled with videos from Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Cory Booker and Pete Buttigieg and in person speeches from Kirsten Gillibrand and Mariann Williamson.
Senator and presidential hopeful Kristen Gillibrand speaking at the DA AGM.
On May 17 DA International Chair, Julia Bryan, opened the meeting followed by guest speakers Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Democratic National Committee Secretary Doug Jones. Secretary Jones spoke of the criteria needed to participate in the upcoming Democratic debates.
The day was spent reviewing and voting on resolutions. The Medicare for All and the Vote from Abroad (VFA) Integrity and Sustainability resolutions are important resolutions that passed unanimously. The VFA resolution deals with assuring that it will be a premier tool for Democrats Abroad to grow membership and to register voters. At the evening dinner the guest speaker was DNC CEO, Seema Nanda, where she spoke about the DNC strategy plan for 2020.
On May 18 elections were held for the International Executive Committee and for 3 regional officers. The guest speaker DNC Secretary, Jason Rae, was the youngest person ever elected to the DNC at age 17. He spoke about the creation of a “DNC War Room” a strategy to be “hyper-focused” about the impact of Trump’s policies on local communities.
That evening Josh Handelman from the Democratic Legislation Campaign Committee spoke about the importance of electing Democrats at all levels of government.
On May 19 we completed discussions about resolutions and bylaw changes. Mariann Williamson, American author and presidential candidate, was an impressive speaker and she wants voters to understand that our present administration “is not a swamp, it is an ocean of corruption with an opportunist infection”.
That evening the DA Global Women’s Caucus had an intimate event at the Cosmo Club. We decided that our primary issue going forward is protecting a woman’s right to choose. The GWC will also continue to work and support the ERA going into 2020.
Angela Fobbs, Chair of the Global Black Caucus, reports
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