February 09, 2017

Statements of the Candidates for the Executive Committee

The Elections of new officers for the Democrats Abroad France Executive Committee will take place at the Annual General Meeting on March 11, 2017.   The AGM will be held at the American Church from 3pm to 6pm.  Officer positions include Chair, 3 Vice Chairs, Secretary, Treasurer, Counsel, and 7 Members-at-Large.  Members will also be able to cast ballots via email; ballots will be sent no later than March 1.   Below you will find the candidates' statements and their email contacts (click on "read more").

Candidates for Chair (Vote for 1 of the following 2)


As a decade-long member of DAF, I have participated at many levels, culminating with a run for Chair in 2011. During this bid I organized a team of like-minded friends and we ran as The Winning Ticket. I lost. I moved on and, as a citizen journalist, cultivated a vlog (video blog), called “Obama à la Carte.”  The DAF Chair needs team management and interpersonal skills. She must successfully avoid the unnecessary domination of the Paris chapter. The DAF Chair needs a solid media presence. She must be a digital native and interact on-line with ease. Able and willing to work with a broad coalition of Americans throughout France, to work with DA International and the DNC, I believe I am most qualified to lead DAF from the 45th president’s inauguration until the 2018 mid-terms. If elected, I will work tirelessly on behalf of the Democratic platform of our 51st state.  EMAIL ELLEN WITH YOUR QUESTIONS


I have devoted much of my life to progressive causes and candidates for office, both in the United States and for the past 30 odd years as a member of Democrats Abroad.  Most recently I was the representative of DA on the 2016 Democratic National Convention Platform Committee, but I have served in many other capacities, such as Chair of DA France, International Chair of DA, member of the LGBT Caucus and of the Credentials Committee of the Democratic National Committee, International Counsel to DA, member of the DA FATCA/FBAR Task Force.  My breadth of understanding of the Party and US politics has served us all well.  In this critical time, we need experienced leaders who are not afraid to speak out and who are also dedicated to bringing new and younger activists into leadership.  I will do all in my power to keep progressive politics powerful. EMAIL JOE WITH YOUR QUESTIONS

Candidates for Vice Chair (Vote for up to 3 of the following 5)

Jonathon HOLLER

Currently co-chair of the Youth Caucus of Democrats Abroad France, I would like to submit my candidacy for the positions of Vice-Chair and member-at-large. Along with my co-chair Amy Dutailly, I have brought many more young people under the wing of DAF and plan to continue to do so in the executive committee. My main goal is to increase our membership with exciting events, outreach to universities and partnerships with other American organizations. I also want DAF to enable more engagement. As part of the opposition party, DAF should provide more means for its members to express their rejection of the Republican agenda. Our members, now more than ever, want their representatives to fight for them. I will make sure that DAF becomes a platform through which members can remain informed, share ideas and actively make their voices heard.  EMAIL JONATHON WITH YOUR QUESTIONS


My name is Louise Meyers. A name familiar to many of you. Look no further for the next vice chair: you may vote for me, confident I am the woman for the job! With 20 years experience volunteering with DA, I have full knowledge of its procedures, history and people. Having headed voter registration for all those years, I know what commitment means! And working with a team of like-minded devoted people. I have the time, passion and know-how to do the best job you would expect from someone in this important position. Looking forward to working with you in the field. On to 2018! Let's get the job done, together!  Yes we can! I am committed to these goals and would be honored to serve as Vice Chair of Democrats Abroad France  I hope to have your support. EMAIL LOUISE WITH YOUR QUESTIONS


I am writing to submit my candidacy for Vice-Chair of DA France. Although DA France may be an ocean away from the U.S., I believe I can contribute productively to an Executive Committee that is inclusive of all visions for how our party can move forward in the wake of the general election. Having served for five years as a staff member to United States Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, I am well aware of both the challenges and opportunities that exist for our party and want to do everything I can to engage American expatriates throughout France. I am confident my past experience in Washington, D.C. as a board member of the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership and Vice President of Young Trade Professionals will serve DA France well as we work hard to bring quality programming to our members. Thank you for your consideration.   EMAIL ANDRE WITH YOUR QUESTIONS


I am running for the position of Vice Chair if the gender balance so permits and if not, then for member at large. I have acted as Counsel for two (2) terms.  In my capacity as Counsel, I have been an active and engaged member of the Executive committee and have attended most if not all of our webex meetings.  I have successfully resolved any legal issues that have arisen and have endeavored to respond promptly and completely to the chapters when solicited.  I have also attended most if not all of the DA EMEA webex meetings and the DA Town Hall webex calls when possible.  I was elected as a Hillary Clinton delegate from DA EMEA and in such capacity attended the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia in July 2016.  I am totally and completed devoted to giving my time to Democrats Abroad France and to DA more generally.  EMAIL SALLI WITH YOUR QUESTIONS


I have been active in Democrats Abroad for many years, serving as the Chair of the Bordeaux Chapter for the last 4 years. As part of DAF, I have found great satisfaction fighting for the basic principles that so many Americans share. In Bordeaux, we have steadily increased the turnout at our events, crystalizing a core group of members who participate regularly in DAF events. Participating regularly in monthly meetings,  I have seen how the Ex-Com works and I believe that as Vice Chair I can help in the successful functioning of DAF.  If elected Vice Chair, I plan on remaining active in my local chapter, Bordeaux.  My position as a non-Parisian member of the Ex-Com would increase the geographic diversity of the executive group.   EMAIL ERIK WITH YOUR QUESTIONS

Candidates for Secretary (Vote for 1 of the following 2)


I have had the honor to serve you as Treasurer since 2011. I offer my continued commitment to DAF and ask for your vote as Secretary or Member-at-Large. I will carry out my responsibilities with diligence, perseverance, and diplomacy. I came to Paris 38 years ago as a Computer Project Manager for Xerox. I have a Mathematics degree from the University of Pittsburgh. I worked in multi-national, multi-cultural teams worldwide, and strive to find grounds of agreement when differences block communication.  I have three sons, born in Paris, who attended French schools, are Democrats and VOTE.  In 2016, I attended the US Embassy Voter registration workshop, assisted the Get-Out-The-Vote campaign, the Global Presidential Primary in Paris, and the Global convention in Berlin.  Full of passion, I raised money for DAF with grace and tenacity. I offer my qualities of thoroughness and enthusiasm to continue to serve Democrats Abroad France.  EMAIL MARJORIE WITH YOUR QUESTIONS


My name is Pouya Yousefi and I am the Lead Machine Learning Engineer for Partnerships at Dataiku, a big data start-up. With over 20-years experience working in IT, I built my career on technological progress.  From working as a PC and network repairman throughout college to developing major software systems for the US government and start-ups, my jobs have been highly technical and extremely demanding.  Now, my career is focused on data.  From understanding trends to making predictions, machine learning and predictive analytics is my current focus.  I have been living in Paris for almost 3 years with my German-American wife.  She is the reason why I find myself in France.  I have always wanted to serve but never made the time or felt the urgency.  Until now. France is my new home and I would like to serve my fellow American expat community to the best of my ability.  EMAIL POUYA WITH YOUR QUESTIONS

Candidates for Treasurer (Vote for 1 of the following 1)

Brooke BURNS

Brooke Burns is running to be the Democrats Abroad France treasurer. She previously served as the treasurer for Alpha Sigma Nu (the Jesuit Honours Society) at Seattle University, and expects to earn a Masters of Science in Economics and Psychology from the Sorbonne and Paris-Descartes this June. Brooke has lived in France since 2014, and has taken part in DAF phone banks, attended DAF debates, and assisted fellow voters with the primary elections and presidential election processes. Brooke is eager to support the DAF community in an official capacity and will, if elected, devote herself to the careful management of DAF funds so that DAF may continue to provide excellent events, voting support, and community engagement opportunities to Americans living abroad.  EMAIL BROOKE WITH YOUR QUESTIONS

Candidates for Counsel (Vote for 1 of the following 1)

Nicholas BUDD

Lifelong Democrat, Member of DAF since arrival in France in 1989, Legal Counsel to American Club of the Riviera for 16 years, Member of American Club of Paris since 1989 and occasionally on board positions, Member of Barreau de Paris since 1992, Member of California and Colorado Bar Associations (all bar memberships inactive since 2005), retired partner of White & Case Paris office, currently consultant to various World Bank agencies and the United Nations Commission for International Trade Law and the United Nations Commission for Trade and Development.  EMAIL NICHOLAS WITH YOUR QUESTIONS

Candidates for Member-at-Large (Vote for up to 7 of the following 23)


Native of North Carolina. Life-time Democrat. Have lived in Europe since 1978. Moved to France mid-2016. Up to now not an active member of Dems Abroad. Long experience in international policy work in Geneva. Despite limited background in DA work, able now to give some time to helping to bring together Democrats outside the US for purpose of helping the fight against Trumpism and for the interests of Americans living abroad. EMAIL DAVID WITH YOUR QUESTIONS

Vivianne BELLER

I would be honored to serve our party national, especially to assist the chapters to expand, stay active, and connected to each other and the central DAF.  I reside in Strasbourg and with a small group of other concerned Americans co-founded the Strasbourg chapter of DA in 2003.  I have actively carried out the tasks related to all aspects of DA since then. Our chapter is well known in the DA community; I became chair in June 2011 and we organized both an EMEA (international) meeting and a DAF meeting in Strasbourg during my chairmanship. I have run an active monthly chapter meeting schedule in Strasbourg and also participate regularly in the excom meetings. I am stepping down from my position in Strasbourg because I firmly believe that turnover is healthy. My last big enterprise was to bring a small group from our chapter to the Democratic convention in Philadelphia.  EMAIL VIVIANNE WITH YOUR QUESTIONS 


I would like to be elected as a member-at-large. Living in Nantes for 23 years and teaching English at the University of Nantes, I am interested in strengthening the Democratic Party on the west coast, along with my close ties with the U.S. Consulate in Rennes. Very active in the local community, I was the première candidate franco-américaine aux élections départementales. Although I wasn't elected it was an enriching experience which led to other opportunities. Having served on the language board at the Université de Nantes, and presently a council member of the association Maison des États-Unis facilitating exchanges while creating stronger international links between the two sister cities of Jacksonville and Seattle.  As a proud member of Democrats Abroad I would welcome the opportunity to be more active within the organization bringing my enthusiasm and energy to build the community and strengthen its ties! EMAIL ALLISON WITH YOUR QUESTIONS

Robert CRANE

I am a lifelong Democrat. I grew up in North Carolina which, at the time, was Democratic territory. As our state turned Republican, I had to explain to my friends and family why I remained a Democrat. The reason was fundamental values. I believe that a government exists in large part to meet the basic needs of the people - health care, education, clean water and air, fair wages... I still passionately believe in those values which are Democratic values.  EMAIL ROBERT WITH YOUR QUESTIONS

Arnie EGEL

I have been active in progressive political movements since university, participated in DAF events, very active in Americans Against the War in Paris, and active in Paris for Bernie. I am a retired computer programmer, can help with IT tasks, and increasing transparency of DAF operations. 


I wish to be a Member At Large and seek your vote. I feel that any dogma that would usurp freedom, be it personal, political, religious or otherwise is especially contrary to Democratic ideals. Freedom today has been compromised with fear and uncertainty.  These ideals, especially those of multi-ethnicity and multiculturalism, need to be protected. I was raised in Japan and completed graduate studies in the U.S.  My PhD is from Télécom Ecole de Management, Evry. I worked internationally for Motorola and Swatch for some 30 years and since 2000 as Professor and Head of Marketing for INSEEC/MBA Institute in Paris. I retired recently so my Parisian wife of 35 years, Isabelle, and I look forward to our new life. We plan to visit more often our son who is serving in the U.S. Army in North Carolina. Count on me!  EMAIL BILL WITH YOUR QUESTIONS


I am Tilly Gaillard, a San Franciscan of Dutch origin, running for member-at-large. I graduated from UC-Berkeley (French, journalism), following three years at Reed College (Steve Job’s alma mater!) in Portland, Oregon. Since 2008 I’ve been volunteering with DA-France on voter registration (supervised by Louise Meyer), sign making, and phone banking, calling French and US numbers, (especially Alaska where nephew Ethan is mayor of Anchorage!). I’m married to a French journalist, spent 10 years in Africa (mainly Senegal and Cameroon), 40+ in France, decades as a French/English conference interpreter/translator, and at age 21, alone, circled the world.  Since 2001, I manage translation/interpretation services at FIDH, International Federation for Human Rights whose focus (women’s and LGBTI rights, protecting human rights defenders, fighting impunity, fair elections, legal protection for victims, etc.) coincides with DA values. Please vote for me. Let me use my experience and energy to help face the challenges ahead.  EMAIL TILLY WITH YOUR QUESTIONS


Being a Democrat has never been more important to me than it is right now. As of January 21, the United States will have a government of the extreme right lead by an arguably unbalanced megalomaniac and Democrats need to do all we can to limit the damage. It will be our job over the next four years to regroup and organize an effective strategy to retake not only Congress and the White House but state legislatures as well. Everything we believe in, all that is good and decent in America is in jeopardy right now and as a retired federal worker I feel as though I have a personal stake in this. As expats, we also need to ensure that our voice is heard in Washington and I would like to help make sure this happens.  EMAIL BRUCE WITH YOUR QUESTIONS

Melanie KATHAN

Although a relatively new member of Democrats Abroad in France, I have recently been convinced of the importance of taking a more active role.  Currently an English teacher at the University of Avignon, I have previously worked in administration, communication, and social media for music organizations in France and the US, as well as having held offices as treasurer, fundraising chair, and vice-president of various organizations during college. In addition, I have experience with data management and event planning, and also feel that I could be helpful in reaching out to American students or other young Americans living in France- thanks to my own experience, I know how overwhelming moving abroad can be, and would like to help other young Americans to maintain an active role in elections and other political actions. I believe that my skills, age, experience, and flexible job make me an ideal fit for this role.  EMAIL MELANIE WITH YOUR QUESTIONS 


As a recent expat, my initial interest in Democrats Abroad was social. I wanted to find a community of Americans to discuss and debate the issues and candidates. The recent election results have highlighted the need for new perspectives within the party and strengthened my resolve to affect positive change.  As an African-American, the importance of political participation is deeply embedded in me. The stakes have never been higher as Republican assaults on courts, civil rights, electoral systems, healthcare, education, immigration and environmental policy begin in earnest. I’d like to be one of the voices working from abroad to shape the party’s domestic and foreign policy positions, especially those affecting expats.Over the past 20 years I’ve worked in a variety of roles in technology, finance and non-profit management. I am a 1996 graduate of Stanford University (Political Science/Public Policy) and received an MBA from Harvard Business School in 2005.  EMAIL REED WITH YOUR QUESTIONS


I would like to be elected as a Member-At-Large. Since joining Riviera Chapter four years ago, I have been active on our Board. I have coordinated and participated in the annual United States Memorial Day Ceremony at the Rhone American Cemetery in Draguignon. This event pays tribute to the men and women buried and memorialized overseas. As a decorated Vietnam and Army Reserve officer, I wear my uniform and lay a wreath. I have participated in every event that Riviera Chapter has undertaken and hope to do the same at a National level. I feel it is important that the individual chapters are well represented on the National board.  EMAIL KEN WITH YOUR QUESTIONS


During my many years as correspondent, bureau chief and editor for Business Week and the IHT, I have served as president, VP, syndic and for two decades as secretary general of the Anglo-American Press Association of Paris; and for nearly a decade, serve as representative and for the past several years as a governor of the Ditchley Foundation in the UK. My experience fits, more or less, the qualifications you are seeking for secretary, but even more so, for member-at-large.  The AAPA is one of France's most-active journalist associations and it's largely because of volunteers like myself who do exactly what you have noted as key functions - helping organize meetings, etc. 'though I am no IT wizard. Ditto on Ditchley, though with them the job has been mainly finding high-level, experienced French or foreign officials or academics, e.g. for conferences at Ditchley.  EMAIL AXEL WITH YOUR QUESTIONS


I am pleased to submit my name for a position as member at large on the DAF Executive Committee.  -born 1940 Lowell, Massachusetts, public schools, Bowdoin College, Harvard law School. US Army from 1965 to 1967, Captain.  Democrat all of my voting life, registered Democrat in California (Contra Costa County). Before retiring(France,active in voter registration under DAUK. Ardent adherent of virtually the entire progressive program of the Democratic Party.  My business career working for US-based companies gave me executive experience running an international company, corporate legal experience working with lawyers in 30 plus countries, financial experience putting together complex project finance packages for large construction projects, and usable experience in three non-English European languages.  I feel I can combine my commitment to progressive politics with these experience tools to help with DA France voter registration drives, education projects, communication, and internal management as required.  

Anna Marie MATTSON

I will fight with you against Trump and for real change in the Democratic Party. We lost last November because of voter suppression, gerrymandering and disconnected Americans. Millions of dollars were wasted on useless television ads.  I am for strong DNC leadership that funds state parties and grassroots movements, a strategy that made Obama President and won state legislatures, Congress and governorships in 2008. I will fight for budget and procurement transparency in the DNC. And riddance of the Electoral College and voter registration altogether!  I will listen to you.  DAF experience includes Vice-Chair, Media, DPCA leadership, DNC Conventions, organizing debates, phonebanking, military planks for our platform, cheering up wounded soldiers and laying wreaths at cemeteries.  People say I walk the talk.  I promise not to disappoint you nor the female, Latino soldier suffering from PTSD who voted for Hillary.  I appreciate your support.  I am fired up, ready to go!  EMAIL ANNA MARIE WITH YOUR QUESTIONS


My name is Malindi Pender Corbel, and I am running for the position of Member-at-Large. I am a NYC native, and living in Paris since 2003. I have a daughter and we go to the U.S. every few months. In Paris I first worked at the International Herald Tribune for several years, and then at France 24, the news channel. I have a Master’s in International Relations from the Graduate Institute in Geneva. I’m bilingual and I want to help organize and spread the message here in France that Democrats will not stand for the subversion and erosion of democratic institutions and norms.  As a Member-at-Large, I will use my media network, including hundreds of French journalists and foreign correspondents, to promote our agenda.  I hope that you will vote for me and would be honored to serve the DAF.  EMAIL MALINDI WITH YOUR QUESTIONS


My name is John W. Pigg, and I would like to stand for at-large member of the executive committee of Democrats Abroad. I am very interested in assisting Democrats Abroad in its primary mission. The only way that we can deal with the many problems our country is facing, is by getting people more involved in the process. While this may take many forms the most essential is voting. We need more people voting. Our Party has been decimated in state and local elections. The only way to reverse this trend is to turn out our Democrat leaning non-voters. The best way to reach this group is by utilizing anyone willing to do the work in off years. Our Party needs to find those willing to help and put them in unfilled party positions. When our Party is filled with motivated people we will be to challenge special interests and change policy.  EMAIL JOHN WITH YOUR QUESTIONS


I am an architect, artist and writer by profession and an "agent provocateur."  My son-in-law was killed on 9/11 and I made friends with a lot of Muslims and ran an organization called The Center for Jewish-Christian-Muslim Understanding. I organized Interfaith Peace Vigils on the Boston Common, which attracted a lot of media attention (TV, radio, and a full-page editorial in the Boston Globe) and ran nine interfaith discussions in churches, synagogues and mosques.  I worked for the campaigns of John Kerry and Barack Obama. I have decided, with the election of Trump, that I must suit up again and fight the good fight. I recently wrote a letter to editors giving Americans in the U.S. a perspective of European reactions to Trump's election. I would like to be a member at large of the DAF, both to participate in your deliberations and to give my articles and letters more authority. EMAIL WRIGHT WITH YOUR QUESTIONS Wright has also made a short VIDEO introducing himself, which you can SEE HERE.


I would bring my unique perspective to the position of member-at-large with Democrats Abroad. Having taught American Government, politics, and social science in California public high schools for 16 years prior to moving to France, I have a deep understanding of the challenges we face. I have a gift for explaining complex ideas and issues and I could help clarify the intricacies of governmental levers to those who are truly interested and want to be fully engaged, but who haven’t been as immersed in the details of the workings of America’s government as I have. We have some serious work ahead of us. The incoming administration will seek to restrict our fundamental rights as Americans, and could seek to restrict our specific rights as Americans abroad. As Democrats, we'll need to fight the Administration and the Republican led Congress at every turn. I’m ready to fight that fight. Are you?  EMAIL AMY WITH YOUR QUESTIONS  


My name is Andrew Thompson and I am a PhD Student in Energy Economics at Universite Paris-Saclay in France. Additionally, I am on the Student Resident Committee of the Fondation des Etas-Unis at the Cite Universitaire (FEUSA) and I would like to apply for a Member at Large position with DAF.  I have been inspired to get involved due to this election cycle and a driving need to do something to overcome a feeling of powerlessness at the current direction the USA is taking. As such, I am committed and capable.  Recently we organized a successful event with DAF, a Town hall style meeting about the Presidential election results, which a few current DAF board members and other DAF members attended. I have also organized several election related events and mini-voter drives for the students and I am sure this experience will translate well to a Member at Large position within DAF.  EMAIL ANDREW WITH YOUR QUESTIONS

Claudia VARNEY

I wish to represent and build the Democrats Abroad France community as a member-at-large. As a lifelong activist and Democrat, and as a French-born American from California, I will bring a global perspective and energized approach to the DA Executive Committee.  Having previously worked as a volunteer to a lobbying effort to increase funding for the National School Lunch Program, as an advocate for survivors of sexual assault at Californian universities, and as a community health educator in a health clinic serving one of the poorest neighborhoods of Los Angeles, I know from first-hand experience that political advocacy works, and that building and strengthening communities is crucial to create desperately needed social change. During these politically tumultuous times, it is more important than ever to help Democrats Abroad France engage with a wider audience, and to build a community abroad that continues to grow, resist, engage and thrive.  EMAIL CLAUDIA WITH YOUR QUESTIONS

Lindsay VIDAL

I am running for the office of member-at-large of Democrats Abroad France. Like most of you, I closely followed the 2016 elections and encouraged my friends and family to be vocal and vote. The outcome of the elections underscored for me the importance of political awareness and activism, even from abroad. I seek this role because I want to be directly implicated in the strategy and efforts of Democrats Abroad France. I want to help the organization better inform, engage and represent the members and supporters of the Democratic Party and ensure that all our voices are heard back home.  EMAIL LINDSAY WITH YOUR QUESTIONS


I retired to Aix in 2009 after 37 years as a lawyer in Atlanta.    My first job was in DC with Congressman Don Edwards in 1968.  A bleak 4 years: Nixon, the Vietnam War, but we did what we could.  At the 1972 convention I was the “token” white-woman-under-30 McGovern delegate from my Cleveland  district and have often worked as a poll watcher.  I'm on the DA Marseille Executive Committee and participated in the voter registration efforts in November.  It has never been more important to fight for Democratic values so we must encourage others who live abroad to push a positive agenda, certainly in the areas of healthcare, the environment and equal treatment for all citizens.  And of course we must continue to lobby for issues of particular interest to our fellow expats.  I would like to be a part of that effort.  EMAIL KAREN WITH YOUR QUESTIONS


I have lived outside of the U.S. for 20 years, first in Ireland, then Andorra and the last 12 years in France. My background is in computers, health insurance and business management.  Most recently, while living in Andorra I oversaw 4 Assisted Living properties in Minnesota. The properties were in distress and I was brought in by the law firm to work through legal issues and to deal with the bankers and accountants.  Currently I live in the middle of French farm country with my husband and 2 big dogs.  I have a food blog and recipe website. I am familiar with website design as well as most common business software (WordPress, Dreamweaver, Photoshop Elements, Word, Excell) Plus I’ve published a few cookbooks on Kindle and CreateSpace. My last political activity was protesting the Vietnam war but today’s current political climate requires action.  EMAIL KATE WITH YOUR QUESTIONS