March 12, 2017

Statements of Candidates for the DA Canada - Toronto Chapter Board of Directors 2017-2019





The Elections of new officers of the Board of Directors for the Toronto Chapter of Democrats Abroad Canada will be conducted at the Chapter Annual General Meeting on Sunday, April 9, 2017.

Please click on the officer positions of the DACA Toronto Chapter Board to be elected for a two-year term to find candidates' statements: Chapter Chair, two (2) Vice Chairs, Secretary, Treasurer, seven (7) Members-at-Large, one (1)  Member-at-Large Peel Region and one (1) Member-at-Large York Region.

The electronic ballots will be emailed to members on March 24, 2017.  Submit your completed ballot by 11:59AM EDT April 9, 2017. *Asterisks indicate officers who are incumbent and are eligible to run again.


Yours Truly,

Toronto Nominations & Elections Committee
Starla Goggins, Chair
Chris Eggers
David Letteney
Steve Nardi, Teller of Elections


Candidate for

Chair & Democrats Abroad Canada Committee Representative


Julia (Julie) O’Neal Buchanan, Mobilian (AL) voting in Tennessee, living in GTA 16 years.

My volunteer activities for the organization began with the Democrats Abroad Canada bus trip to President Obama's inauguration in 2009 and I have continued fervently for eight years.

As this DA election approached, I considered ‘retiring’ from officer positions in DA, and I had thought my activities might end on similar note…by organizing a bus trip to DC for the Women’s March on Washington.

However, I have been so inspired by that experience, by the women of the Women’s Caucus (in formation) of Canada, and influx of new, talented and committed volunteers, I realize my duty to serve is not over.

It’s been an honor and a privilege to have been mentored by the Boards I’ve served and I want to pay that forward, by serving as the Chair of the Toronto Chapter.

I’ve held many positions in Democrats Abroad. The list includes positions where I was elected or, in many cases, appointed for partial terms.

Toronto-Chair 2012; 2016-current
Canada-Vice Chair- 2016-current
Canada-IT Manager 2014-current
Canada-Treasurer 2013-2016
Toronto-Vice-Chair 2011-2012; 2015-2016
International-Global Administrator Assistant, Global IT Team-2015
Canada-Membership Co-Secretary 2014-2015
Canada-DPCA Voting Member-2013-2015
International- Best Practices Committee 2012-2013 
Toronto- Secretary Pro Tem and Founding Member 2010-2011 
Canada-Member at Large 2009-2011

I encourage you to like/contact/follow me on facebook.

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Candidates for

Co Vice-Chair & Democrats Abroad Canada Committee Representative

Nathan LUJAN

I am a lifelong Democrat who first moved to Canada in 2012 to conduct scientific research at the Royal Ontario Museum and the University of Toronto. I am now married to a Canadian (Bernadette), am a Toronto home owner (upper Beaches) together with my wife, and am applying for permanent residency. I also now work primarily for Canada Fisheries and Oceans. I care deeply about science-based public policy and the need for government support of both basic and applied scientific research. I am part of a large group of American scientists working in Canada who feel disconnected from American politics but who, given the chance, would like to participate and advocate for Democratic ideals. Unfortunately, many of my expat scientist friends are unaware of Democrats Abroad or do not participate in DA activities. I am running for the Vice-Chair position to both give this community of expat scientists a voice and to recruit them to help advance Democratic electoral and policy objectives via participation in the Democrats Abroad organization.



I would like to serve as a Vice-Chair of the Democrats Abroad - Toronto Chapter because I believe I can help us modernize and expand our impact. I am not an expert in technology, but I have experience creating blogs and leveraging social media to spread a message.

One of these projects is a volunteer effort founded by Canadian doctors to provide medical services to children in remote areas of Honduras. Once a year, we travel to Gracias, Honduras for a week-long clinic. For the past several years, I have managed the logistics of our trips, coordinated  fundraising efforts, and worked to improve our online presence. As we are all busy professionals, organizing the group can be challenging, but we are getting better and more effective every year.

By day, I'm a lawyer. I started out practicing in a large law firm in New York, and now I work in a small employment, labour, and human rights practice. In both settings, organization, planning, and leadership are key to a successful practice.  I manage teams of lawyers and other professionals, chair meetings, negotiate with opposing counsel, and manage client relationships. Of course, I am also very comfortable operating in a rules-based environment. I would draw on these experiences to assist our chapter's leadership.

As a Missourian, I am acutely aware of the political divide that our country is facing, and the challenges Americans are desperate to overcome. I see it every time I visit my family. Although I am a long way from home, I want to help Democrats in Canada, especially in Toronto, make a difference now and going forward. I would very much appreciate your support.

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Candidates for



Professionally, I write scientific reports for drug companies to submit to the FDA and drug approval agencies worldwide.  I served as secretary for my church for several years. 



I am willing to serve as secretary, with the proviso that I may need to miss a meeting occasionally.  I can, however, maintain records and files at all times and coordinate participation. 

I served for 11 years as a trustee on the Toronto District School Board and, in that capacity, as chair of several committees and as chair of the board.  I have a deep appreciation for the necessity of thorough record maintenance and availability and a long familiarity with agenda and minute formats.

I type fast and I have my own iPad with keyboard.

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Candidate for


Dewitt LEE


I'm Dewitt Lee, an Afro -Canadian with citizenship in the US and I was very glad to discover this organization during the 2016 Presidential election. Being away from the battlegrounds here in Toronto, I felt like I was not a part of the process, although I did make it in time to vote, I  played a much less significant role in helping my candidate and party win.  I take my civic responsibility very seriously and I have actually engaged not just as a voter in elections but I've also been a candidate.  In 2010 and 2014, I was a Mayoral candidate here in Toronto and I feel very accomplished in that we inspired and lead many people not to just vote but to see themselves as a candidates. In 2016, I was asked to join in the a provincial race to be an MPP for the Liberal party which also resulted in a great turn out at the polls and produced much more engaged and educated group of voters from diverse communities.

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet members of Democrats aboard Canada- Toronto at a 2016 Presidental election event and I was very pleased to meet so many people here in Toronto that are providing a platform and forum for us to come together and create a space where Canadians can learn about our politics and experience the excitement of our elections.

After the event, I was very grateful to hear back from Starla Goggins, the Co-Vice Chair and Volunteer Coordinator, of the Democrats Abroad Canada Toronto Chapter. We have stayed in touch and she shared information with me regarding this opportunity to serve on your board and I immediately felt intrigued and almost obligated to join your efforts.

I am applying to serve as Treasurer and I'm prepared to step into this role of because of my experience as Treasurer for the Harriet Tubman Community Organization which is one of the oldest and most respected non for profits in the country.  I have also served as money manger for my campaigns and CFO for my own business.

I believe that we can become a powerful force in helping support fellow Democrats from abroad as I remember the impact we had in 2008/2012 when we joined campaigners in battleground states pushing for Barack Obama and I remember the feeling heading back to Canada feeling accomplished, that I served my country and made a real difference.

I am willing to serve on your board in any capacity and believe that I will bring experience, energy & political expertise that will be an asset. Thank you for the opportunity.

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Candidates for


Alyssa AGES

I moved to Toronto from New York in March of last year and while I'm told consistently that I "got out at the right time," the feeling I more often experience is: "I wish I was still there to stand with you, to resist, to make our presence known."

I am encouraged by the opportunity to take on that role abroad as a Member-at-Large.

My strengths which are pertinent to this role include:

- Mobilizing Volunteers (I worked for five years at a nonprofit that relied heavily on the work of volunteers)

- Fundraising (skills earned from the same nonprofit role)

- Marketing on a shoestring (as the Marketing Director for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, I spent five years growing the largest revenue-generating chapter of our organization with an extremely limited budget)

- Events (I have been coordinating events for multiple organizations for nearly a decade)

- Writing (As a publicist, journalist, and marketing professional with a degree in literature, writing is my strongest skill and one I hope to use as a Member-at-Large for our chapter)

I hope to support the growth our chapter by recruiting new members, as well as energizing and engaging existing members. I hope to help our other elected officials by offering my writing skills whenever they are needed, and my event-planning experience to organize and promote our smaller meetings while building plans for larger events.

More than anything, I hope to stand with Democrats in the U.S. by helping our chapter build a presence and a voice so strong here in Toronto that we can make as significant an impact as if we were protesting at the doorstep of the White House.


Our planet and our democracy are in peril: now, more than ever, we need a progressive Democratic Party to restore sanity and justice.  I am a lifelong activist who has mostly avoided party politics.  I hail from the "Bernie" wing of the party: a group that has largely felt alienated by the Dems, but who now feels a progressive movement can restore power and purpose to the party. 

I believe that DA-Canada can and must do more to increase membership, donations, and cross-border activism.  I truly believe that DA-Canada can evolve into a very powerful political organization.  There are perhaps as many as two million (!) Americans living in Canada, from dual citizens, to students, to temporary residents.  That makes us a population larger than about ten states.  Moreover, most of us are liberal, educated, and relatively affluent. My friends, that is one heck of a fighting force. If we can mobilize behind the Democratic Party, we can deliver positive change to the US.

I believe that we have an opportunity for progressive change unrivaled since the early 1970s.  Although Trump is our so-called President, he and his cronies have energized masses of Americans.  We must seize this unique moment to take back the government: from city councils and school boards to state legislatures, on up to the US Congress.  We can help strengthen a Blue wave that retakes America from the takers.

To succeed, I believe we need to enhance our presence in social media, galvanize participation in local events, and forge sustained networks of resistance.  To be honest I am less preoccupied with fundraising, and more concerned that we get out the vote, pump up the volume, and help transform outrage into action. I believe that we need to help build the capacity for rapid mobilization, because I think we have to be ready to act swiftly against Trump, McConnell, and Ryan's maneuvers. And we have to be able to work in concert with the millions of Canadians who share our goals.

I teach part- to full- time at the University of Toronto, have two girls and a wife, bike ride, and spend some time for activism.  I am from Berkeley, California, went to Skidmore College in NY, and got my Ph.D. at the University of Washington in Seattle.  We lived in Colorado for 8 years before heading to the wonderful city of Toronto.  I love Canada, but want to retake my old homeland.

In closing: they had their silent majority [sic], we have our full-throated majority. I want to help us win.


I would be interested in volunteering for the board as a member at large.  My prior volunteer leadership experience includes:

Director Information Technology PMI Toronto Chapter (2016-present)  Other roles that I have had in PMI Toronto Chapter include VP Communications, VP Branches & Communities, and VP Volunteers.

Lieutenant Governor Marketing District 60 Toastmasters International (2011-2012)

Executive Board member for the New Jersey Division of the United States Fencing Association (1997-2005)

I have a diverse skill set that includes Communications, Marketing, Technology, Volunteer Development, Database Management and Project Management.  I would like to volunteer as a member at large and donate my time as my skills are needed.


Thank you for taking the time to read my statement regarding the position of Member at Large. I'm a dual citizen having moved to Canada with my parents when I was 7 years old. I currently live in Innisfil, Ontario which is between Barrie and Bradford. I've been involved in politics most of my adult life. I've been a strong supporter of the party, and like many Americans I was shocked that Donald Trump became POTUS. I was active on social media during the election, and felt the wrath of the Alt-Right several times while trying to promote our candidate, Hillary Clinton. 

I've been on the Executive of the Federal riding association of the Liberal party in Simcoe-Grey back in 2007-2009. In 2007 I ran in the Provincial election as the Liberal candidate in Simcoe-Grey, and while I did not win the election, I was able to gather 26% of the vote coming in 2nd to long time Conservative MPP, Jim Wilson. Running in the election was an eye opener for me, as I was up against a very well organized candidate who's been the sitting MPP since 1990. While I did not win, I was able to get the message of the party out to the people in the riding.

In 2010, I was living in Wasaga Beach, and decided to run for Mayor. I was asked to throw my hat into the ring, as nobody else was registered to run against the sitting Mayor who's been a member of council since the late 1980's. I knew that I had an uphill battle on my hands, but felt that nobody should be unchallenged. The sitting Mayor was also the Warden of Simcoe County, and a member of the Provincial and Federal Conservative parties. So needless to say I was unsuccessful in my quest for public office.

Besides political experience I bring to the table a wealth of knowledge in the field of management. During my career I've managed teams ranging in size from 10 all the way up to 300, with a focus on building strong relationships with both team members and clients.

If anybody has any questions, please feel free to email me at [email protected] or call me directly at 416-453-0249

Thank you, and I hope to be part of the Executive moving forward.

Steven Fishman

Mimi FOX

I am a dual US/Canadian citizen living in Toronto for the past 13 years.

I have a background in sales and marketing in the b2b sector for over 20 years. I also have an MBA from University of Illinois at Chicago. I am the top sales person at my organization. Most of the work I do is by phone. I am also a board member at Act to End Violence Against Women.

Paulette KELLY*

Dear Democrats Abroad Members,

I currently serve as a Member at Large for Democrats Abroad, Toronto Chapter.  My voting state is Connecticut.  During my term on the board, I have worked at booths and events to register voters.

I also assisted at a primary election voting booth in Toronto.  On November 9, 2016, I was interviewed    on CTV News regarding the outcome of the U.S. elections. On both November 6st and 13th of 2016, I along with a Democrats Abroad colleague appeared on the radio station 98.7 (The Grapevine)to discuss U.S. politics and the election. Last month, I attended the send off of the Women's March to Washington. 

Professionally, I am the first tenured Black faculty member in the School of Fashion, at Ryerson University. Over my years, at Ryerson, I have held administrative roles, including Program Director for the Apparel Design Segment. In 2013, at the Ryerson University's Viola Desmond Day Program, I received the Faculty Award for my service. Additionally, I am the 2nd Vice President of the Ontario Black History Society.

I look forward to serving on the board again.

Kind Regards,

Paulette Kelly


Dear Fellow Democrats,

I am running for reelection for member at large on our Board. I hope and believe that in my first term I have helped further our progressive cause.

I am a life-long active progressive Democrat. In Wisconsin in the 1970s/1980s I served as Fond du Lac County chair, Dane County vice-chair and State Platform Committee vice-chair. In 1976 I ran for County Clerk of Fond du Lac County. I was also an honored guest to the 1976 Democratic Convention in New York City. Elsewhere I have served as precinct committee person and helped in GOTV efforts, including running a phone bank in Wisconsin. A strong supporter of unions, I have belonged to the Teamsters and AFSCME (for whom I once served as the International Educational Coordinator for the Rocky Mountain Region, based in Phoenix, Arizona.

My education includes a BS from Iowa, a MA from Northern Iowa and a M.Ed. from Arizona State. I have also done graduate study at Southern Illinois, Wisconsin, Florida State and Oxford, UK.

I have served on many homeowners and other organizational boards, including as chair or president. I am currently vice-president of the Optima condo board of directors where I live in downtown Toronto next to the Rogers Centre. While I have held numerous professional professions such as being a veteran's service officer for state agencies in Wisconsin and Arizona and assistant director of the Commission on the Arizona Environment, my primary professional has been as an educator, usually teaching Honors World History and related classes in high schools in Arizona, Florida and Washington. I have also taught at the university, college and community college levels. As an active historian, I have authored/edited numerous books on Napoleonic history, written journal articles, organized international congresses, appeared on the History, Learning and Discovery channels, produced an extensive podcast (Napoleon 101) and produced museum exhibitions. As a result, I have received numerous awards and decorations, including France's highest civilian-only award, Knight of the Order of the French Academic Palms. Finally, I am a Viet Nam veteran with a Bronze Star (1968-69).

Given the unfortunate state of our current political system, including the disastrous Trump presidency, it is imperative that Democrats regain control of the House and Senate and in four years regain control of the presidency. I hope to play a modest role in that effort.

In Solidarity,



I have been a Democrat abroad since I arrived in Canada over 20 years ago.  My home state is Nebraska, and I was born and raised in what I like to call an 'interfaith' family - by a Republican father and a Democrat mother. Both taught me that social justice requires work, and I have inherited both their passions if only one of their affiliations.  My day-to-day work has been operations in non-profits.  I have a Masters in Legal and Ethical Studies as well as a Masters in Museum Studies. I currently am the Finance and Admin Manager at the Inspirit Foundation. Over the years, I have engaged in accessibility issues in museums, inter-religious understanding and education with a global foundation, and equity and inclusion work here in Canada. But my personal passion is gender equality and equity. I have two girls, also US citizens, who are growing up without limits. I have been an officer in their schools' parent councils, produced 'maker faires' and  pushed for coding classes that open science to girls at the elementary level.  I joined the DC Women's March with my mother and sister in January and came back with the reminder that social justice requires work now more than ever. My younger brother, a dedicated aide to Rep Steny Hoyer, had such a heavy heart after the election.  The work is personal for me - for my parents and siblings and for my daughters - and the personal is political. As Gloria Steinem said at the Women's March, "Sometimes it is time to put your body where your beliefs are." For me, that time has come.  I hope to support Democrats Abroad in whatever way I can.

Thank you,

Kate Leuschen Millar

Romana MIRZA

I am self-nominating. I'd like to bring my skills in marketing, brand strategy, social media and policy development to DA. Sitting around crying over Facebook isn't doing me any good.  I'm not much of a protest marcher.  My brilliance comes through in the backrooms, working on communication strategies and developing policy.  I was very active politically as a teen and young adult then my marketing career took over. Now, 30 years after leaving active political volunteer work, the political landscape has changed so drastically, I have to dust off my political charms and come out shining again and I must! I like to be part of a team, supporting them with whatever special gifts and talents I can muster up.

Today, I am afraid to cross the border. Just this week I declined an invitation to give a presentation in New York City.  I'm not afraid of America, I'm afraid of what could happen at the border, and I even have a Nexus Pass! This has to change and I know we can do something in the USA from where we sit here in Canada. Rather than crying over Facebook each night, I want to be involved being active and in action. It is the only solution to feeling so shaken by what is going on.

It will be my honor to serve the American people by being involved in Toronto. I won't let your vote go to waste, I'm ready for action, ideas and change!


Dear Nomination & Selection Committee Directors:

I would like to lend my gifts and talents to the Democrats Abroad Toronto Chapter Board.

After attending the Democrats Abroad meeting at Marche I have wanted get more involved locally.

As proud African American North Carolina resident it pains my heart to see my home state "Go Red" for the national election twice in a row as well as the hardships the state has had with recent GOP control of the house, senate and governorship.

I currently serve on a few board for my undergraduate institution and I know the importance of these volunteer organizations. I look forward to supporting the agendas of the executive leadership for our chapter.

Please know that I will contribute my training as an attorney and advocate to our causes.

I look forward to doing my part to take back Congress in 2018 and the White House in 2020!

Have a great night.


Derrick Raphael

Virginia SMITH

My professional experience as a reporter and analyst of current social trends would be an asset in any work done for Democrats Abroad.  I am the co-author of the book Perpetuating Poverty: The Political Economy of Canadian Foreign Aid (Between the Lines, 1981) and the author of Reshaping the World for the 21st Century: Society and Growth (Black Rose Books, 2002). In 2011, I drafted the report "Hunger Crisis: Report of the Hunger Inquiry," produced by the Toronto-based Recession Relief Coalition. I also served as a constituency assistant to an Ontario MPP in the 1980s.

My volunteer work in community-based organizations has also been extensive. In the late 1990s, I was co-chair of the school council at my daughter's high school. More recently, I participated in a committee at my church that had the goal of building positive relationships between Muslim communities and other faith communities. I also served a term as the secretary of the church council.

Through these activities, I have developed a solid understanding of the dynamics of a presidential system and also of a parliamentary system. I have been a member of Democrats Abroad for about nine years. I marched with Democrats Abroad contingent in the Pride parade twice and, just a couple of weeks ago, in the Toronto Women's March. The election of Donald Trump has been a spur for me to increase my participation in U.S. electoral politics.

I am registered as a Democratic Party voter in Nassau County, New York. I have resided in Canada for over 40 years, but I have maintained close ties to the U.S. through frequent visits.

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Candidate for

Member-at-Large Peel Region


Susan Alksnis is organizing Democrats Abroad activities for Peel Region. She is also an active participant in planning for the Hamilton/Burlington DA Chapter. First volunteering with Democrats Abroad for the 2008 election, Susan was lead organizer of Oakville/Mississauga debate watches, voter registration, and promotion in local media.

A non profit fundraising executive with over 20 years of experience in fundraising, alumni relations, communications, and volunteer management, Susan has served as Chief Development Officer in higher education and social services. She published and edited an alumni magazine with circulation of 10,000, pitched story ideas to media, secured high impact promotional placements, and appeared on television. She also has event management experience.

Comfortable with media appearances, public speaking and campaigning, Susan was a lead organizer and spokesperson for a highly contentious local community advocacy effort that resulted in the construction of a new school for her underserved and socio-economically diverse neighbourhood.

Susan attended the Toronto Women's March and the Toronto anti-Trump March where she appeared on CTV News to promote  She is highly motivated to resist the current White House Administration and organize volunteers to get out the vote for midterm elections.

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Candidate for

Member-at-Large York Region

Brooke SCOTT

I am in Stouffville, north of Markham in York Region. Most months I could make the meetings in person and otherwise would attend online.

Our family moved initially to Toronto 8 years ago from Providence, RI. I grew up in central and southern Illinois. My husband and I have 5 children and I homeschool them using Waldorf and social justice resources.

My motivation for running for the board and being involved in Democrats Abroad is that I believe in the power of the people to through compromise and listening to one another help shape the platform and actions of Democratic candidates and sitting office holders. I want to register voters and engage young people here in Canada who are US citizens to feel they have a voice and I want them to know and internalize civic duty.

My volunteer experience includes 5 years of running meetings, giving presentations and providing mother to mother counseling with La Leche League.

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