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Covid Task Force Upate 3: Call to Action

With the goal of urging and assisting the US government to fulfill its pledge of making coronavirus vaccines available to all Americans, including the tens of thousands of US citizens living in Thailand, the Democrats Abroad COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force has taken actions to collect and share information on the situation and advocate for access to vaccines.

Although there has been substantial interest from the media in the situation of Americans overseas and we remain hopeful that US FDA-approved vaccines will become available and foreign residents will be included in Thailand’s vaccination program, we encourage all Americans in Thailand to share your concerns about access to vaccines with your representatives in Congress, the Biden administration and on social media. Democrats Abroad Thailand is using #TaxedButNotVaxxed on Twitter, ig, fb.

As President Biden said in the Rose Garden on May 13, 2021, “Let’s remember, we’re all Americans. Let’s remember that we are all in this together…And we have to take this pandemic, tackle it not just here, but overseas as well to truly be safe in the long run.”

A sample letter is included below, and you can find the contact details for your representative here: http://www.congress.gov/contact-us

The White House can be reached at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

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Dear Senator / Representative ____________________,

I am writing as a constituent who lives overseas who has been impacted by the lack of access to COVID-19 vaccination in Thailand, where I live.

I was encouraged by President Biden’s promise that all Americans are eligible for potentially life-saving vaccinations to protect them from COVID-19, but so many Americans living overseas remain excluded and cannot benefit from that promise. As you know, citizens overseas are subject to the US tax code and are entitled to vote in elections, regardless of where they reside. Many Americans live in countries, such as Thailand, where infections are rapidly escalating and no US FDA-approved vaccines are available, or where local governments prioritize their own citizens over foreign residents.

Flying back to the US and then returning to a 14-day hotel quarantine in Thailand is simply not an affordable option for many, and the risk of infection on the trip itself is not inconsequential. Medical issues and time off work and away from family are also limiting factors for many.  In addition, Americans returning from outbreak sites like Thailand, India or elsewhere to the US solely for vaccination creates potential for the spread of infection and new variants in the country.

The US State Department has already sent vaccines across the world to inoculate their staff and family members, and veterans in Manila have been vaccinated by the VA clinic there. The Biden Administration has also proposed that the US vaccinate South Korean soldiers and that surplus vaccine supplies be donated overseas. I would ask that you advocate for the 9 million Americans living overseas be included in the plans to provide vaccination directly or through the donation of supplies to countries, like Thailand, where so many Americans live.

Thank you very much for your consideration of this important issue and for your assistance.

Sincerely,


Covid Task Force Upate 3: Call to Action

With the goal of urging and assisting the US government to fulfill its pledge of making coronavirus vaccines available to all Americans, including the tens of thousands of US citizens living in Thailand, the Democrats Abroad COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force has taken actions to collect and share information on the situation and advocate for access to vaccines. For more information, please see the COVID Task Force updates at: https://www.democratsabroad.org/th

Although there has been substantial interest from the media in the situation of Americans overseas and we remain hopeful that US FDA-approved vaccines will become available and foreign residents will be included in Thailand’s vaccination program, we encourage all Americans in Thailand to share your concerns about access to vaccines with your representatives in Congress, the Biden administration and on social media. Democrats Abroad Thailand is using #TaxedButNotVaxxed on Twitter, ig, fb.

As President Biden said in the Rose Garden on May 13, 2021, “Let’s remember, we’re all Americans. Let’s remember that we are all in this together…And we have to take this pandemic, tackle it not just here, but overseas as well to truly be safe in the long run.”

A sample letter is included below, and you can find the contact details for your representative here: https://www.congress.gov/contact-us

The White House can be reached at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

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

Dear Senator / Representative ____________________,

I am writing as a constituent who lives overseas who has been impacted by the lack of access to COVID-19 vaccination in Thailand, where I live.

I was encouraged by President Biden’s promise that all Americans are eligible for potentially life-saving vaccinations to protect them from COVID-19, but so many Americans living overseas remain excluded and cannot benefit from that promise. As you know, citizens overseas are subject to the US tax code and are entitled to vote in elections, regardless of where they reside. Many Americans live in countries, such as Thailand, where infections are rapidly escalating and no US FDA-approved vaccines are available, or where local governments prioritize their own citizens over foreign residents.

Flying back to the US and then returning to a 14-day hotel quarantine in Thailand is simply not an affordable option for many, and the risk of infection on the trip itself is not inconsequential. Medical issues and time off work and away from family are also limiting factors for many.  In addition, Americans returning from outbreak sites like Thailand, India or elsewhere to the US solely for vaccination creates potential for the spread of infection and new variants in the country.

The US State Department has already sent vaccines across the world to inoculate their staff and family members, and veterans in Manila have been vaccinated by the VA clinic there. The Biden Administration has also proposed that the US vaccinate South Korean soldiers and that surplus vaccine supplies be donated overseas. I would ask that you advocate for the 9 million Americans living overseas be included in the plans to provide vaccination directly or through the donation of supplies to countries, like Thailand, where so many Americans live.

Thank you very much for your consideration of this important issue and for your assistance.

Sincerely,


Covid Task Force Upate 2: #TaxedButNotVaxxed

Democrats Abroad Thailand Chair, Paul Risley, source: Reuters

With the goal of urging and assisting the US government to fulfill its pledge of making coronavirus vaccines available to all Americans, including the tens of thousands of US citizens living in Thailand, the Democrats Abroad COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force has taken actions to collect and share information on the situation and advocate for access to vaccines.

Thank you to everyone who completed the survey! We received 1,220 responses so far, showing that 87% of respondents are extremely or very concerned about COVID-19 and that there is a strong level of interest in vaccination: 98% want a US-provided vaccine. 

During our recent discussions with the acting US ambassador, Michael Heath, we shared the survey results and the concerns of DA Thailand members about vaccination. The State Department has designated approximately 80% of the world’s country as Level 4 Travel Advisory due to COVID-19, noting that this “continues to pose unprecedented risks to travelers," and overseas residents are advised to follow local guidelines.  Situation updates and alerts are available on the embassy website or via email through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program at https://step.state.gov

After meeting with the embassy, the Task Force submitted a letter to the US Secretary of State, along with members of Congress and the administration, requesting that the US government provide surplus vaccines to Americans overseas. Other American-focused organizations have joined us in this effort by co-signing the letter, including the American Women’s Club, Republicans Overseas and Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 12074.

The Task Force is also raising the profile of this important issue, and there has been substantial interest from the media, with news articles in several outlets highlighting the situation of Americans overseas whose tax dollars helped fund the development and production of vaccines, yet remain without access to them in many countries. The press coverage included a question in a White House press briefing by Voice of America White House bureau chief Steve Herman on May 11.

#TaxedButNotVaxxed – The hashtag call for action. Please use this in all of your social media posting about this issue.

Although we remain hopeful that foreign residents in Thailand will be included in the local vaccination program, we will continue to reach out to the Biden administration and our representatives in Thailand and the US to ensure vaccination is available and take other actions to highlight this crucial issue for the health and safety of Americans in Thailand. As President Biden said in the Rose Garden on May 13, 2021, “Let’s remember, we’re all Americans. Let’s remember that we are all in this together…And we have to take this pandemic, tackle it not just here, but overseas as well to truly be safe in the long run.”


Democrats Abroad Thailand Covid-19 Task Force Takes up the Call for Vaccines

As Thailand experiences increasing numbers of Covid infections and deaths as part of the “Third Wave,” we at Democrats Abroad Thailand are concerned about the effect on Americans living here, as we still have limited access (if at all) to vaccines.

DAT has formed a COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, with the goal of urging and assisting the US government to fulfill its pledge of making coronavirus vaccines available to all Americans -- including the tens of thousands of U.S. citizens living in Thailand. The Task Force has held regular weekly Zoom meetings and has engaged in productive exchanges with the acting US Ambassador and the US Consul General. Most importantly, we would like to determine whether U.S. citizens and their immediate families residing in Thailand want access to US-approved vaccines if provided by the U.S. government, and if so, what we can do to help to make the “shot in the arm” a reality for U.S. citizens who want to be vaccinated here.

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Accordingly, please take 3 minutes to read and complete the Democrats Abroad Thailand COVID-19 Vaccine Survey.  This will help us understand your needs and concerns, and offer a quantitative assessment to assist us in advocating for the US State Department to make access to vaccines possible.

The survey is in the form of a Google Doc and thus can be shared with other Americans living in Thailand – in fact, we encourage you to pass the survey link on to all your American friends and acquaintances! We will update DAT members with the overall survey results in due course.

The Task Force currently includes eight volunteers -- members of the DAT Executive Committee, healthcare professionals, and members living in Chiang Mai, Pattaya and Bangkok. We value your interests and insights and we also seek the input of other American organizations and communities in Thailand; feel free to contact us to get involved. In the meantime, please remain safe from the very real threat of COVID-19.


Call for Nominations: DA Asia Pacific RVC

Call for Nominations:
Democrats Abroad Regional Vice Chair Asia Pacific

We are now accepting nominations for the bi-annual election of Regional Vice Chair (RVC) for the Asia Pacific (AP) region! This election will take place during the AP Regional Meeting on the 16th of May as part of the Democrats Abroad Global Meeting. One vote is allocated to each AP country committee and will be cast solely by country committee chairs and vice chairs. The chair and vice chair each carry ½ vote. If either is not present, the other will carry the full vote.

Democrats Abroad has three RVCs, one for each region, who:

  • Are elected to a two year term that begins and ends with the regional election.
  • Cannot serve more than two consecutive terms.
  • Serve as one of 8 voting members of the International Executive Committee. Meetings are currently held weekly and typically last from two to three hours, but this is subject to change with the new leadership. 
  • Organize and lead monthly regional calls of about one to two hours to encourage, inform, and create a sense of community among regional country committees. 
  • Organize and lead a one to three day annual regional meeting to encourage, inform, and create a sense of community among regional country committees. When practical, these annual meetings are held as in-person events with remote participation available. 
  • Act as a liaison between the International Executive Committee and one or more of the Democrats Abroad committees, lending a hand to the committee chair and assuming chair responsibilities should that position not be filled.
  • Assist in organizing and attend the annual Democrats Abroad Global Meeting, preferably in person when conditions allow. Note that travel costs are the responsibility of the RVC.
  • Work with existing country committees to mediate and resolve issues within their committees including election issues, membership queries, etc. 
  • Track compliance status of country committees with Charter requirements and work with emerging and out-of-compliance countries to help bring them into compliance.
  • Communicate International Executive Committee decisions, policies, and Democrats Abroad best practices to the country committee leaders.
  • Bring regional issues to the International Executive Committee for discussion and resolution.

The eligibility requirements for AP RVC are as follows: 

  • Be a citizen of the United States. 
  • Be a member of Democrats Abroad residing within a country in the Asia Pacific region.
  • Adhere to the principles of the Democratic Party of the United States.
  • Due to the extenuating circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, residents of the AP region who are temporarily residing outside of their country of residence due to the pandemic may still run for AP RVC (example: resident of Singapore who is temporarily residing in France due to quarantines and travel restrictions). There must be an intent to return to the AP region following the lift of travel restrictions.

Self-nominations and nominations of others are both welcomed and encouraged! Please submit any nominations via the nomination form at this link no later than 23 March 11:59 PM EDT (UTC-4). Each nominee is required to accept their nomination no later than 31 March 11:59 PM EDT (UTC-4). Nominations from the floor of the election meeting will be accepted as well, and all official candidates will be given time to make a short speech.

A list of candidates will be released on 1 April following the nomination acceptance deadline. 

Please direct any questions to [email protected].

On behalf of the 2021 AP Nominations and Elections Committee (NEC),

Anthony Nitz (Vietnam, Chair)
Christine Valverde (New Zealand)
Michael Ramos (Australia)
Phong Quan (Singapore)




FWAB and FPCA postage paid envelope templates fit Thailand envelopes

The pdf envelope templates in the links fit standard business size envelopes (108 x 235 mm) available in Thailand.

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FWAB and FPCA postage paid envelope templates fit Thailand envelopes

The pdf envelope templates in the links FPCA envelopefit standard business size envelopes (108 x 235 mm) available in Thailand.

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Sending ballots and absentee ballot requests via Postal Mail

Some states require that ballots or absentee ballot requests must be returned via postal mail.  Yet there is no airmail between Thailand and the USA.  Two options: 1) send via DHL/FedEx/UPS (fast but costs $) or 2) send via the US Embassy (slow but FREE).  Click on "read more" for info from the US Embassy website. For the Embassy option, allow 2-4 weeks for the Embassy to take it to the USA plus at least one week for the US Postal Service to deliver; total: allow 3-5 weeks!  The info is below (you may have to click on "read more").

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SAWASDEE KHAP

Photo Credit: Sukit Vanichrudeee

Democrats Abroad Thailand (DAT) is the official country committee for US Democrats living in Thailand.  We provide opportunities for Americans in Thailand to get involved in the Democratic party and issues that matter to them. These are trying times and it will take all of us to fight back.   US citizens around the world are organizing for a fairer and more just America that embraces diversity- let's raise our voices together and be heard all the way from Thailand.

We support our great Democratic candidates and encourage discussion about the ideas and solutions they offer through debate watch parties, post-debate discussions, live chats with the candidates.   We host political pub nights to get your political banter on, Ladies Night, issue based call-congress parties,  film nights,

If you are specifically interested in racial justice, gender equality and/ or  LGBTQ rights - join one or all of our Caucuses here on the website and then follow us on FB : Black Caucus and  Women's Caucus.

We have three official chapters, in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and the North, and Pattaya and the Eastern Seaboard.  We are always looking to grow our chapter network so if you are interested in organizing for social justice- let me know!

You can find us on Facebook at Democrats Abroad Thailand and Democrats Abroad Chiang Mai or on Twitter @DemsUSAThailand and @DemsAbroadThai

I look forward to welcoming you at the next DAT event.

Paul Risley
Chair, Democrats Abroad Thailand
[email protected]


New Leaders Elected at Annual General Meeting

This June, members and leadership from around the country gathered in Bangkok for the Annual General Meeting (AGM) to elect the Executive Committee for Democrats Abroad Thailand. The AGM is always a great opportunity for active members from around the country to meet face to face to discuss strategy and re-energize for the year. Heartfelt farewells and thank yous went out to Phil Robertson, the outgoing Chair for a job well done, and those present welcomed Paul Risley into the position. Paul is a long time member of DAT and has served in various roles in the organization over the years. He will be supported by 3 Vice Chairs: Gary Suwannarat, Rick Graves and Russel Berman.

Newly elected executive committee members for 2019/ 2020:

Paul Risley, Meghan Driscoll and Rosalia Gitau

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