Name: Art Schankler
External links: Facebook
Candidate: International Vice Chair
Member since: 2004
Country/Countries: Czech Republic (8 years), Serbia
I have been a Democrat all my life - stuffing envelopes with my mother for John Kennedy, going door-to-door for Gene McCarthy and George McGovern in high school, working in a presidential campaign as a staffer in Washington, and working with Democrats Abroad to get out the vote since 2004, as a CC volunteer, as a CC Chair, Global Treasurer Global Vice Chair,and Fundraising Chair. Professionally, I have spent the last eight years as a consultant developing infrastructure in the Western Balkans, that improves the regional economy and the environment of the beneficiary countries. I manage a team of over 100 local and international experts. Prior to that, I helped finance infrastructure projects in New York and for a development bank in Eastern Europe (and happy to see infrastructure back on the US agenda) and in refugee camps in Asia and Africa and for the World Bank in Washington.
Describe your volunteer work with DA and cite your greatest DA accomplishment.
I started working as a volunteer with Democrats Abroad in Prague in 2004 to get out the vote for John Kerry and other Democrats. In 2010, I helped create an official Country Committee in the Czech Republic and became its first Chair, with Julia Bryan as Vice Chair. In 2012, I moved to Serbia for job reasons, but continued to be active in DA, serving as Deputy Regional Vice Chair for EMEA under Shari Temple (and invigorating our outreach to Study Abroad voters) and elected Global Treasurer in 2013, heading up our global fundraising efforts. In 2016, I was appointed Global Vice Chair and served on the DNC. In 2017, I was named Global Fundraising Chair. My greatest accomplishment in DA was not MY accomplishment, but the accomplishment of all of our members and volunteers - raising over $700k in 2020 which helped us elect a Democratic President and Congress.
Why are you running for this office?
I believe that my experience at both the local and international levels of DA can contribute to our future success. Knowing what we have done in the past can help us to continue to be innovative in our goals of getting out the vote for Democrats and pushing for issues such as fighting income inequality, reducing climate change, and expanding voting rights. I believe that I am always open to new ideas and prepared to evaluate issues and options based on their merits and not on my own preconceptions. An openness to new ideas and ideas that are not necessarily your own or ones that you agree with is a key to success in helping to lead an organization. We have had great and increasing success over the years. The organization has grown as has our influence on elections and issues. But there is more to do - and the challenges of the next elections will be great - from Republican voter suppression to continuing Republican disinformation campaigns. I have helped the organization thrive and grow in the past and if I can contribute to meeting those challenges in the future, I welcome the opportunity. But the decision is yours.
How will your skill sets and experience contribute to DA's success?
As stated above, my experience at the CC and Global levels will help inform our decision-making process. I have been on the Global ExCom, served on the DNC as Global Vice Chair, attended meetings of the Association of State Democratic Chairs – experience that we can build on in pushing for change.
DA has grown significantly recently, not only in membership, but in the wide range of activities. My professional experience can help us manage that growth without stifling new ideas and initiatives.
We need to continue to be innovative - but not simply for the sake of being innovative. We can't always know which new ideas will work, but my experience within DA has given me the tools to evaluate ideas and help us decide on the initiatives that will have the greatest impact on achieving our goals. Then WE all need to WORK together to make them happen.
Are there any DA organizational or practical issues (not political goals) that you would like to address should you be elected?
We have made extraordinary progress as an organization over the last few years.
Our global caucuses have expanded our reach to a wider and more diverse population of Americans overseas and helped us focus on issues that matter.
Our expanded use of social media – paid and otherwise - has led to tremendous growth in our membership AND in the number of overseas voters.
But we can and must do more if we are to successfully fight off the Republican challenges. In 2013, as part of the Long Range Strategy Committee, I initiated our focus on using data to improve our performance. But we need to do more, in analyzing voting patterns and where overseas voters are living and where they are voting, in identifying individual overseas Americans (millions of whom continue not to vote) for voter outreach, and in ensuring that our limited resources are used most efficiently. This will certainly be one of my focal points as Vice Chair.
We also need to expand our linkages between DA experts and those of the wider Democratic Party. This will expand our visibility as well as improve our own expertise in issue promotion and getting out the vote.
How can Democrats Abroad best raise our profile among American voters abroad and better work to elect Democrats?
In my time as a volunteer with DA, I have spent a lot of time and effort raising money for the organization. This has been crucial in leveraging the efforts of our tremendous volunteers - and allowed us to reach out to Americans through social media and other advertising vehicles. But let me suggest that we need to do more in the area of free advertising or as it is often called, "earned media". In the last election cycle, DA made excellent use of support from visible Americans like Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hillary Clinton, etc. Many of our members and leaders are appearing in the press and advertising DA and VFA, but we can do more, together with the wider Democratic Party, to raise our profile - and get Americans to vote - by recruiting "celebrities" who appear in overseas and US media to promote our efforts - and our websites.
Endorsement from Lissette Wright, International Treasurer, DPCA Voting Representative, DA Canada Treasurer
I am honored to endorse Arthur Schankler as International Vice-Chair of the Democratic Party Committee Abroad.
As a young Democrat, Art was introduced to politics by his mother and worked by her side for various Democratic candidates and causes. As a founding member of DA Czech Republic, Art had the privilege to serve as its first official Country Chair. His commitment to advocating for overseas voters lead Art to serve as International Vice-Chair and International Treasurer during the 2015-2016 election cycle.
My first collaboration with Art was for the 2016 DA Building Bridges, Not Walls Prize-Draw. As the lead of this fundraising effort, Art willingly shared his fundraising wisdom and institutional knowledge with me. Later when I became International Treasurer, Art continued to be equally committed to the DA mission and fundraising.
During the 2020-2019 election cycle Art, together with me, International Chair Julia Bryan and other stakeholders, played a pivotal-role in raising close to $1M, empowering our amazing leaders and volunteers to double voter-turnout-abroad and achieve other record-breaking metrics in phone-banking, voter-assistance, voter-protection, earned-media and digital advertising.
I personally think Art would also bring a compassionate Jewish-American experience to help the DPCA Executive Committee continue our diversity, equity and inclusion program, as well as articulate our progressive DA platform at DNC and ASDC meetings.
Art’s background in finance, management and in-depth knowledge of DPCA’s mission and operations make him the most qualified candidate for International Vice-Chair.
Endorsement from John Eastwood, Democrats Abroad Taiwan, former International Counsel and DNC member
LETTER OF ENDORSEMENT OF ART SCHANKLER FOR GLOBAL VICE CHAIR
In my years with Democrats Abroad, Art Schankler has been a wonderful constant of intelligent
solutions and hard work across a wide variety of positions -- as a vice chair and part of our
delegation to the ASDC and DNC, as a treasurer, as a fundraiser, and as a voice for kindness,
fairness and the notion that Democrats Abroad is doing great good in our nation and in our
world. Art brings enormous hard work and dedication to what he does for Dems Abroad, making
the phone calls to build bridges and consensus and never giving up. Art does not seek positions
for personal glory or prestige, he hits the ground running, trying to get things done and
volunteering for the toughest tasks. Art never shirks. I appreciate tremendously how seriously he
takes Dems Abroad and the powerful honesty and decency that he brings to every aspect of his
work. He is integrity personified, and he would make an excellent Vice Chair for our
Endorsement from Jim Mercerau, Voting Rep and Outgoing Chair Democrats Abroad Spain
I had just been called for dinner and the phone rang. The gentleman on the other end of the line asked if I had a minute, my abrupt answer was no. That’s how I met Art. He was doing one of the most important things that makes what we do possible. Yet most of us prefer not do, namely fundraising.
Art has been a fixture in Democratic politics since he was just a kid stuffing envelopes with his mother for John F Kennedy’s presidential election. In the intervening years Art has made the goals of our Party a key part of his life.
At Democrats Abroad Art has been a super volunteer as Global Treasurer and later stepping in as Global Vice Chair. Art brings a world of experience to complement whoever becomes our next chair.I urge everyone to think about the experience and good humor that Art brings to this important post when considering your choice of vice chair.