February 26, 2023

Candidate Statements for the 2023 DA France Normandy Leadership Election

Meet the 2023 Normandy Leadership Candidates!

The nomination period for the DA France Normandy Chapter elections is now closed. Members of the Normandy Chapter will receive a ballot by email, and electronic voting will end on March 13 at midnight.

The Normandy Election Board is pleased to announce the candidates!

Candidates for Chair

Judith Crews, candidate for Chair of the Democrats Abroad Normandy chapter

I was born in Texas; I vote in Michigan. I moved permanently to Normandy in 2012. I decided to run for office in 2021 to give something back to Democrats Abroad, was elected Chair and am running now for a second term. I believe in the social and political experiment we call American democracy, and I will do everything I can to contribute to saving it. I look forward to building on lessons learned over the past two years, and helping to grow the Normandy chapter and the Lille subchapter by reaching out to both our current members and the  Americans here who are unaware of us, participating in GOTV election activities in 2024, and organizing monthly meetings and social events such as July 4th picnics, holiday-season festivities, and the two Normandy commemorations observed yearly at Omaha Beach, Memorial Day and D-Day. I look forward to working together with the entire Board to strengthen our presence in this very large geographical chapter, and to finding effective and innovative ways to help support the larger goals of Democrats Abroad France.

Candidates for Vice Chair

Maïté Penna, candidate for Vice Chair of the Democrats Abroad Normandy chapter

In 1961, when I was nine years old, my family left Cuba for the United States. We settled in Maryland, in the DC suburbs. I attended the University of MD as an undergraduate, then attended graduate school at Columbia University NYC. While there I began working for the Social Security Administration. In 1978

they offered me a transfer to Arlington, VA and I returned to be near my family. I also worked as a program analyst in executive and management training in DHHS. In 1992 I moved to France and finished my PhD; my dissertation was an overview of historical archaeology in the United States and how it reflected the changes taking place in US society. The hard right turn that the Republican party has taken these last few years concerns me. The final straw was the election of Donald Trump in 2016; a person whom I intensely disliked since moving to NYC in 1973. It is vitally important for all eligible voters to make their voices heard; this is not the time to allow others to take control of the government. It is my goal that the United States not become a fascist dictatorship.

Candidates for Communications and Social Media Officer

Debra Burke, Candidate for Communications and Social Media Officer Position of the Democrats Abroad Normandy chapter

I am writing to you today for your consideration as Communications and Social Media Officer of the Democrats Abroad Normandy Chapter. 

As a Candidate I will bring my professional communication talents and experience of 40 years to this essential position in order to better inform our members of our projects and activités and recruit new members here in Normandy.

I have been a member of the Democrats Abroad France for over 30 years as well as Democrats Abroad Normandy since 2016 and wish to continue my service to our community and my fellow Democrats. 

Candidates for Member-at-Large position of the Democrats Abroad Normandy chapter

Marjorie Simpson-Rousseau

Hello! I am Marjorie Simpson-Rousseau, a New Englander transplanted to France by way of VA over 10 years ago.

I am declaring my candidacy as a Member-at-Large. I joined  DA Normandy in 2017, first to meet other Americans, then to see what I could do to help after the Trump insanity.   I vowed, never again, so here I am. 

My work life has included auto mechanics, finance/credit, and massage therapy. I refinish furniture for fun, am a pro at removing wallpaper, a newbie garden designer, and I sing. 

I don't have experience in politics, but am willingly enthusiastic about learning. Ours has been a quiet chapter as I have experienced it over the past few years, and I would love to see that change!!  I am ready and willing to do whatever I can to help make that happen, and am up for whatever adventure that may bring. Onward! 

Julie Hanson (Scherrer)

I have been a member of the Normandy chapter of Democrats Abroad since at least 2008.

Over the years I have served in various positions including elections officer and more recently treasurer. I’m eager to stay involved in the chapter and to contribute whenever I can. Our chapter will be active in the historic events celebrating the 80th anniversary of D-Day in 2024. 

As an American citizen I vote in my home state of Colorado. I have lived in France since 1981; first in Strasbourg, then Amiens, and Rouen since 1989.

Nancy Raff

As a long-term resident of France, I have been involved with the Normandy Chapter of the Democrats Abroad in various capacities since its creation. It would be an honor to serve as a Member at Large to promote Voting from Abroad, and to sustain our special role in commemoration and remembrance activities. I offer my leadership and organizational skills in support of the current

leadership. Thank you for your consideration.

Rebecca Grossberg

I am a candidate for Member-At-Large in the Normandy Chapter of Democrats Abroad, more precisely representing the Lille subchapter.  Lille is the fourth largest urban area in France with a high number of Americans and many American students. It's important to reach as many people as possible if we want to continue to fend off divisive and reactionary politics.  As the main contact in Lille for DA Normandy over the past couple of years, I have established strong relationships with local universities and media outlets as well as the local American Club where I work to organize youth events. I'm very good at creating strong relationships and not scared of asking for favors. As a New Jersey native living in France for over 20 years, I feel it's my duty to do whatever I can to fight for democracy and the image of the country abroad. In my professional life, I am a project officer with Interreg Northwest Europe, working with the European Regional Development Fund to create a more balanced and cohesive Europe. I also volunteer my time with the local library and schools doing English language story times and baking cookies with little kids. My favorite cheese is still Cabot’s Vermont Extra Sharp Cheddar, even after 20 years in France.


Meet the candidates before voting! Join us via zoom on Wednesday March 1, 2023 at 7:00pm and meet all members currently running for election. You can RSVP here 

All members of the DAF Normandy Chapter  may vote in the leadership elections. The elections will be decided by a plurality of votes (the candidate who gets the most votes in the election wins). DAF does not accept proxy votes. The ballot includes a space for write-in candidates for all positions.  

New members are welcome to join and vote. To join: www.democratsabroad.org/join. You must be a US citizen 18 years of age or older by Nov. 7, 2023. New members may join up until the day before the election.

Questions? Please contact the DA France Normandy Chapter Election Board at:

[email protected]