News

DAN Elects Executive Committee 2021-2023

The election is over and the votes have been tallied. We are pleased to announce the Democrats Abroad Norway Executive Committee for 2021-2023.

Chair: Christina Skovsgaard
Vice-Chair: André Durham
Secretary: Campbell Hellandsvik
Treasurer: Arna Desser
Counsel: Andy Stites

Many thanks to all of the candidates for stepping forward to serve. And thank you to all of the DAN members who voted in the election and who attended the 2021 Annual General Meeting on April 28th.

The new board is already bouncing around ideas for meetings and activities in the coming months. Check out this website, Facebook, and your email inbox for information on upcoming DAN events. 

Remember...the midterms will be here before we know it!

Kind regards,
Karin Blake Granå
Danielle DeRose
Ron Krueger
DAN Nominations and Elections Committee


DAN 2021 election who are the candidates?

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) for Democrats Abroad Norway (DAN) will take place on Wednesday, April 28th. At this meeting we will elect a new DAN Executive Committee. Who are the candidates?

Learn more here—

For CHAIR

Christina Skovsgaard

I am Christina Skovsgaard, a born Democrat. I believe in unconditional human rights for all people and advocate legislation that reflects that view. We need to promote universal health care, sensible gun control, advance environmental policies, protect voting rights, and support criminal justice reform. We must do everything possible to maintain our gains and combat the far-right agenda. Our vote is our voice.

As Vice-Chair from 2019, I have worked diligently to mobilize the vote here in Norway and globally. For years, I have been the Get Out the Vote Coordinator and taken responsibility for voter-outreach in Norway, this is the main goal of Democrats Abroad (DA). In 2020, together with other dedicated volunteers, I led the phone-banking DAN campaign. I volunteered for individual voter assistance in Zoom-room calls. The 2020 Global Primary, which I organized in Norway, had the largest ever turn-out. Globally, thru the efforts of our volunteers, we reached over 1 million voters! 

My active involvement started in 2005 when I attended the Global meeting in Toronto; there I knew I found a home with like-minded Americans. I am the only DAN board member, that has continuously attended global and regional meetings on a yearly basis since 2007; this is normally a duty for the Chair. I have participated in all DA door-knocks in Washington DC advocating for issues that are of importance to overseas voters, such as, resident-based taxation, elimination of the Windfall Provision, maintaining citizens abroad rights, etc. I am on the Steering Committee of the Global Women's Caucus and the Global Black Caucus. For the past 16 years, Democrats Abroad has become an integral part of my life. Over the years, I have developed lasting friendships with many outstanding DA leaders.  As Chair, together with the DAN team, I hope to continue to expand and further develop DA in Norway, engage, and inform members, recruit new leaders, create membership opportunities, and develop precincts through-out Norway to encourage Americans to use their voice. We need to engage and activate members with meaningful activities and events. One goal is to start a bi-monthly “Speakeasy” where members can meet in an informal setting via Zoom. 

I have worked as a Speech Therapist (B.A, M.A.) and Ski Instructor (AASI certified). In my personal life I am a wife, mother, and happy grandmother.

With your vote I can continue to represent our members & work for our democratic goals.

 

For VICE-CHAIR

Matthew Davidson

My name is Matthew Davidson and I am running for vice-chair of DAN for the upcoming term. 

My earliest political memory is from just before the 2000 presidential election. The Young Democrats group at my school held an open meeting where they discussed issues and tried to fix problems. My politics were shaped by the Bush presidency, the Iraq war, Obama’s presidential campaign, and Republican opposition. I wanted to make things better but never felt like what I did had any impact.

While working with people with disabilities during my PhD in bioengineering, I started to see how the right policies could help people. I also saw how both a lack of interest in science and a failure to listen to people could lead to harmful policies. In both engineering and policy, this combination can result in exciting new designs that don’t solve basic needs.

When I graduated, I started working on science policy and communication. I trained researchers to present their work to state policy makers in Colorado and worked as a science policy advocate in Washington DC. It’s a fascinating challenge to find ways to build policy based on common goals. When I came to Norway I focused on communication but kept connected to US policies. Living here regularly shows me policy ideas I hope to bring back to the US.  

There is so much potential to build better policies through an engineering approach, but it is also necessary to connect with people. I am excited to use my experience in both to help DAN achieve our goals of mobilizing members and building on the success of the past few years and I would like to bring science and healthcare concerns to the forefront of our activities.

 

For VICE-CHAIR

André Durham

My name is André Durham and I am running for vice chair of Democrats Abroad Norway. I am a lifelong Democrat and have been actively engaged with the party for six years now, including a two-year term as secretary of the Payne County (OK) Democrats (PCD). During my time with the PCD, we worked to turn our city and surrounding area from purple to solid blue; I also spearheaded two of the most successful fundraisers in our county party’s history. I was also successful in getting a state-wide party bylaws change formalizing gender diverse language that ensures that all have the opportunity to lead. Since moving to Norway in August 2019, I have worked with DAN’s active members to raise awareness and participation. In March, we facilitated a global primary polling place here in Stavanger and had plans for events throughout 2020 before the pandemic shut everything down.

As vice chair going into the mid-term elections, I would work with the rest of the executive community to boost engagement and participation across Norway – particularly here in the west, starting with the three gubernatorial races this fall and the array of 2022 races. It is important that we continue to grow DAN beyond Oslo; as vice chair, I would work to continue the momentum here in Stavanger and help spearhead initiatives to activate folks in other major cities across Norway. I would also want to work with the DAN executive committee to create and execute fundraising activities to facilitate our activities.

I am a strong candidate for vice chair because I bring experience from my time with the PCD and the Oklahoma Democratic Party, helped generate momentum among Democrats here in Stavanger, and have the drive to move DAN forward. I look forward to the opportunity to continue my service to the Democratic Party through this role.

 

For VICE-CHAIR

Daniel Schmidt

My name is Daniel Schmidt, and I’ve run out of excuses for not engaging in politics. I´m running for Vice Chair.

I’m a 32-year-old Norwegian-American dual citizen, born and raised in Norway, but strongly connected to the US through studies, work and not least friends and family – counting enough cousins to fill a couple of soccer teams.

I would like to get more involved with DAN for several reasons. I got my feet wet in this last campaign by making about three hundred calls. I also coordinated with Jon Roth and Andy Stites before doing a live interview on national TV with NRK just before the election. I’m tired of just reading about, listening to and worrying about politics – I strongly feel it’s time to take action. After celebrating the election victory, I realized this was just the beginning. The real work begins now.

My hope is to learn, grow, and participate more actively than before, and get a deeper insight into what democracy looks like on the inside. And I think it’s important that the voices of younger generations are heard. The world is at a tipping point, with a global health crisis currently demanding all of our attention, but with a looming climate crisis already underway. The time for real action is now.

I’ve studied political science and societal communication, and have worked with comms in the private and public sector for about 7 years. Besides analytical, strategic and communication skills, I think one of the most important things I’ve learned is to be a good listener. A former colleague of mine once said all problems exist in the absence of communication. All though obviously simplifying matters, I think there is something to it, that many difficult issues could be resolved by better dialogue. And I think we would all be better off if we learned to get better at listening carefully to one another.

I believe I have the right mix of skills, experience and real motivation to do a good job and to be a source of inspiration to others. Together, we really can make a difference.

As John Lewis said:

If not us, then who?
If not now, then when?

 

For SECRETARY

Campbell Hellandsvik

Hi - my name is Campbell Hellandsvik and I am interested to serve DA Norway as Secretary. The results of the 2016 Presidential election were a catalyst for me and I joined Democrats Abroad to see how I could help. Since that election, I have been passionate about encouraging Americans living abroad to exercise their right to vote. In the run-up to the 2020 Presidential election, I helped with the Get-Out-The-Vote effort by phone-banking with the DAN team and attended an online Voter Registration workshop. I was both impressed and heartened by the engagement and involvement of Americans all across Europe. Clearly, the results of the 2020 election demonstrate how much voting matters - mail-in and overseas ballots really count. And I believe that the next couple of election cycles are critical to America's future and will shape the global approach to the pressing issues of climate change and wealth inequality. 

I was born in New Jersey and am now a voter from New York. I have spent 28 years of my life living outside of the US; in London, Tokyo, Paris and Oslo. I have been living in Oslo for the last 11 years with my Norwegian husband and 3 children. My degree is in American Literature and American History and I worked for 14+ years in advertising and marketing firms in the US and UK. In recent years, I have been involved in fundraising for Cancer Research and serve as the chair for the Norway region of alumni interviewers for Middlebury College (my alma mater). I'd describe myself as proficient in Norwegian. I hope that you will let me use my experience, energy and time to help face the challenges ahead. Thank you for your consideration.

 

For TREASURER

Arna Desser

My name is Arna Desser and I have served as the DAN treasurer for the past two years. It has been wonderful to work with the other members of the DAN executive committee, who are as passionate as I am about American politics, to do the critical work of encouraging Americans living in Norway to exercise their right to vote. I hope you will give me the opportunity to serve again.

A bit about my background: I am originally from Baltimore, Maryland, where I became actively engaged in politics at the age of 15, doing door-to-door canvassing and making phone calls to support the get out the vote effort for the U.S. Senate campaign of Senator Joseph Tydings. I am a Ph.D economist currently working at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health evaluating the cost-effectiveness of new medications, devices and procedures for the hospital sector. I have been the treasurer of the Hardanger Fiddle Association of America since 1999 so have lots of experience with all aspects of the responsibilities of a treasurer. 

One of the things we’ve learned while dealing with COVID is that ZOOM or other electronic options makes it easier to be more inclusive of interested Americans who live outside the Oslo area. I’m hoping that we can take advantage of this to plan more regular DAN “gatherings”.

 

For COUNSEL

Andy Stites

Hi, I’m Andy Stites, a candidate for Counsel. I have been involved in Democratic politics since McGovern ´72.

Since moving to Norway in 2013, I have been active with Democrats Abroad Norway (DAN), at first, just attending meetings, then making GOTV (Get Out the  Vote) calls. After the 2016 disaster, I worked with DAN as a member of PAAL (Progressive Americans Action League). I've continued to work in my voting state, Indiana.

Members at the 2019 AGM nominated me from the floor and unanimously elected me Counsel. I give advice to the Executive Committee (ExCom) regarding our Bylaws and actively participate, especially in GOTV. 

This past August the "Covid/Trump" mail delays put thousands of our votes at risk. I jumped in with others, and through December (including Georgia Senate) I called over 7,000 voters... 5,000 "conversations". (The system DA uses, "CallHub," classifies a "conversation" as a voice recording or actual live talk with a voter.)  

For the past few weeks, I’ve been continuing my work with DA Voter Protection, reviewing state laws adversely affecting our DA members.

My goal as Counsel is to support the Chair and ExCom and represent you, our DAN members. I want to build us with new leadership and broaden our participation Norway-wide. We squeaked by in 2020, but have much to do.  Not a minute to lose. We need to elect Democrats! 

Personal: I moved here in 2013 to marry a girl I met 54 years ago. (I lost my first wife of 42 years to Parkinson´s and was her caregiver during her 15 year battle). I was a worker rights lawyer for over 30 years. I then had a second career as a language teacher at an historic Black high school. I’m an active and very-lucky-health wise 74 year old. 

I do make mistakes, I try to fix them, and always try to do my best. 

Please give me your vote!  

Thank you. 

Respectfully, 
Andy Stites 

 


DAN 2021 Election Call for Nominations

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) for Democrats Abroad Norway (DAN) will take place on Wednesday, April 28th, from 7-9pm on Zoom. At this meeting we will elect new DAN Executive Committee (ExCom) officers for the following positions: Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, and Counsel. Voting will occur online only -- both prior to and during the AGM.

The Nominations and Elections Committee (NEC) has been established and is ready to answer your questions and accept nominations. The committee members are: Karin Blake Granå (Chair), Danielle DeRose, and Ron Krueger.

Any member of DAN is welcome to run for a position on the ExCom. We value diversity and encourage people from all backgrounds, ethnicities, ages, and genders to run. You do not have to live in the Oslo area to be on the board; much of the ExCom’s work will continue to be done virtually even after the Covid-19 pandemic. We need a strong team to help build on the momentum of 2018 and 2020, and to mobilize DAN members from all over Norway. 

NOMINATIONS

Are you interested or do you know someone who would be a good fit for one of the positions? If so, please let us know by sending an email to the NEC Chair at [email protected]. Nominations must be received at this email address by 6pm on April 11. 

IMPORTANT DATES

  • April 11:  Nominations must be received by the Chair of the NEC by 6pm.
  • April 14-28: Early voting will be open online. DAN members will receive an email with a link to the ballot. Early voting closes on April 28 at 12pm.
  • April 28 7-9pm: Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Election on Zoom. DAN members who have not yet voted will be able to vote online during the meeting. Members will need to attend the meeting to receive the link to the ballot.

OFFICER RESPONSIBILITIES
For descriptions of the opportunities and the responsibilities for each position go to DAN's Bylaws at https://wiki.democratsabroad.org/display/ccBylaws/EMEA+Region and scroll to "DA Norway Bylaws revMay2018." See "Article Three: Officers."


Democrats Abroad Norway needs you!

Leaders needed! Shape the future with Democrats Abroad Norway.

Joe and Kamala have been inaugurated! Dems have the Senate and the House!

And people like you helped to make it happen. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

Now, work continues for 2022 and 2024. Democrats Abroad relies on dedicated volunteers to run the organization and Democrats Abroad Norway needs you!

This spring all Democrats Abroad Norway (DAN) Executive Committee positions will be up for election. The Executive Committee is the governing body of DAN and is composed of the Chair, the Vice-Chair, the Secretary, the Treasurer, and the Counsel who have been elected from among the eligible members of the organization.

Becoming involved in the Executive Committee is rewarding and helps guide the future of our organization. You can help to motivate voters, encourage new members, and get to know other Democrats Abroad from around the world.

We would love to see many new members running for offices!

Interested? Contact Jonathan Roth, Chair, Democrats Abroad Norway at [email protected].

We look forward to hearing from you!

Read more

A Very Super Tuesday!

On Super Tuesday March 3, 2020 Democrats Abroad (DA) produced the Global Presidential Primary (GPP). The 2020 GPP spanned 180 countries with 39,984 ballots cast representing an exciting 15% increase from 2016. Official results show that Bernie Sanders received 57.9% of the vote while Joe Biden received 22.7%.
For complete details about the 2020 GPP visit http://bit.ly/2xz42u4 and http://bit.ly/2XDOwYm.

-------------------

From Christina Skovsgaard, Voting Center Manager 2020 and Democrats Abroad Norway (DAN) Vice Chair; DAN had two voting centers one in Oslo the other in Stavanger. All of this was made possible by an amazing volunteer staff. All volunteers participated in a great deal of training before the actual event. DAN is grateful for and proud of each one of our 17 volunteers. Without them this would have not been the success that it was.       


(above) Even though it was a rainy, cold day in Oslo we welcomed a continuous stream of voters (including 3 first time voters) along with people looking for advice on registering to vote. 

In Stavanger (above left) our first vote! (above right) Directly off the plane from the US a jet lagged voter. (below) Voting Center Manager Gaye Rosland (right) with volunteer André Durham.

(above) Oslo votes in the American Lutheran Congregation’s (ALC) Fireside Room. (below) Last but certainly not least! Thanks to our voting centers (left) the Kafe Go Nok in Stavanger and (right) the ALC in Oslo. 


+

Demokratenes presidentdebatter on Dagsnytt 17 - TV2

Watch Corinne Hobson of DAN and the DA Veteran's Caucus discuss Demokratenes presidentdebatter on Dagsnytt 17 - TV2. The debate was on August 1, 2019 and starts at 42:18. The conversation is in Norwegian. Go to bit.ly/2T0l8Yfbit.ly/2T0l8Yf.

+

DAN reports from the DA Annual General Meeting in Washington D.C.

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

Read more

Democrats Abroad forms the Veterans and Military Families (VMF) Caucus

Democrats Abroad is establishing a new caucus, the global Veterans and Military Families (VMF) Caucus. This caucus will work within Democrats Abroad to honor the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces; their service deserves our deepest gratitude and respect. Government policies must reflect the interests of those who are serving and those who have served, including their families. This caucus will work to achieve this goal.

All the various groups, ethnicities, persuasions, identities, and beliefs that make up American society are present in our military; we share issues and concerns in common with the other caucuses of Democrats Abroad. We share the principles and demands expressed in the platforms of both the Democratic Party and Democrats Abroad regarding veterans, active military and their families abroad.

Our goals—

- Reach out to veterans, active duty and reserve military members as well as their dependents living abroad to encourage them to register to vote and to engage them in advocacy for our policy positions.

- Provide a forum for DA members to understand better the issues and concerns affecting our military forces, veterans, and their families outside of the United States.

- Provide a voice for veterans and military families to the Democratic Party Committee Aboard and the Democratic National Committee.

In addition to our stated goals, we also strive to act as a conduit to service members, veterans, and their families overseas by sharing information regarding benefits (e.g. VA and Tri-Care) and participate in commemorative services.

To join us go to https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1l3OC9RA0OB_krEJvSF6emxJYGzDNZIeG1ZtcW65j5vI/edit.

Photo by Peppersmint/Shutterstock

+

Get to know the DAN board candidates

For Chair

Jon_Roth_for_Chair.jpgMy 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

Christina_Skovsgaard_for_Vice_Chair.jpgI 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. 

For Treasurer

Arna_Desser_for_Treasurer.jpegMy 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. 

 

Shine a blue light! Midterms 2018.

From DAN Chair, Audrey Camp, first thoughts the morning after...
"Rose early to shine the blue light across the Norwegian airwaves. Thanks to VGTV for hosting a debate between DAN and RAN. I’m enthusiastic about the blue wave. It may not have been the deluge we hoped for, but with unprecedented representation for women, minorities and youth, I’ll take it. All stories matter and all votes count. Hurrah for Democrats Abroad Norway!" 🇺🇸 🇳🇴

Here’s a link to the debate. The talk starts at 2:39:10. http://goo.gl/UkV7zJ

+