Global Veterans & Military Families Caucus



  • The Veterans and Military Families Caucus is made up of DA members from around the world who are willing and able to advocate on issues important to the veterans and their families within the United States of America and those living abroad. The Caucus welcomes any DA member. 

    VMF2021-1.jpgDemocrats Abroad (DA) honors the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces; their service deserves our deepest gratitude and respect. Government policies must reflect the interests of those who are serving and those who have served, including their families. This caucus will work within DA to achieve this.

    We share and adhere to the principles and demands expressed in the platforms of both the Democratic Party and DA regarding veterans, active military and their families abroad.

    We recognize and appreciate that all of the various groups, ethnicities, persuasions, identities, and beliefs that make up American society are present in our military; we share issues and concerns in common with the other DA caucuses. Discrimination has no place in the military and its ancillary organizations, nor the Veterans and Military Families Caucus.

    The members of our armed forces, their families, and our caucus reflect the diversity of race, gender, religion, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, color, ethnicity, ancestry, marital status, veteran status, and ability that make up American society. Discrimination, intolerance, hate speech, and bigotry have no place in the United States Armed Forces, Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, or our caucus.

    GOALS

    Reach out to veterans, active duty and reserve military members as well as their dependents living abroad to encourage them to register to vote and to engage them in advocacy for our policy positions;

    Provide a forum for DA members to understand better the issues and concerns affecting our military forces, veterans, and their families outside of the United States;

    ACTIONS

    VMF2021-2.jpg Provide support for visits to wounded/recovering warriors and caregivers at overseas U.S. military hospitals in conjunction with like-minded external organizations;

    Exchange information and concerns with other DA caucuses and interest groups regarding relevant issues and shared concerns to ensure that as they impact veterans and military families, they are communicated among the broader DA community for a successful joint response;

    Organize participation in Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies at U.S. landmarks abroad such as military cemeteries, battle sites, and places of historical U.S. military significance;

    Facilitate get-out-the-vote (GOTV) efforts for veterans and military families; also develop sensible and sensitive strategies for encouraging active service members at U.S. overseas military bases to vote;

    Establish and maintain contact with other American political organizations to find areas of joint concern regarding U.S. veterans and military dependents;

    Always strive to improve the DA Platform and organize advocacy efforts towards U.S. law and policymakers for issues pertinent to veterans, active military, and their families living abroad;

    RESPONSIBILITIES

    ORGANIZATION

    Please feel free to contact the Veterans and Military Families Caucus: [email protected] 

     

    DA Global Veterans & Military Families Caucus Leadership:

    Anthony Nitz
    | Vice Chair, DA Vietnam; Chair, Global VMF Caucus
    Kee Evans
    | Chair, DA Guatemala; Vice-Chair, Global Veterans and Military Families Caucus
    Candice Kerestan
    | DA International Chair; Immediate Past DA Germany Chair
    Robert scott
    | DPCA Representative, Germany; DA Global Veterans and Military Families Caucus Steering Committee; Team Leader, DA Germany Veterans and Military Families Caucus
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    News

    VMF Seventh Newsletter

    Masthead

    September

    Newsletter

    Vol. 1, No. 7

    Greetings from the Co-Editor

    Although we Democrats have big challenges ahead, most notably the evacuation in Afghanistan, the Covid-19 spikes hitting mainly the unvaccinated, the GOP’s coordinated efforts to suppress voting, and the global environmental crises, there are plenty of very real and tangible reasons for optimism. The 7-month-old Biden-Harris administration has executed a robust agenda, and significant accomplishments have been made. Here are the more salient reasons for optimism.

    To start, in March Congress and Biden passed the very popular $1.9 trillion Covid Relief Bill, clearing the way for stimulus checks and vaccine aid. Then the Senate passed a massive bipartisan infrastructure bill. Fifty Democrats and 19 Republicans voted for this bill, which will be devoted to rebuilding the nation’s roads, transit networks, water-supply pipes, and sewer systems. Then comes the budget resolution, which Senate Democrats hope to pass by this fall. It would allow social policy legislation, paid for by raising taxes on the wealthy, large inheritances, and corporations. Should all 50 Democratic Senators close ranks, the measure could pass the Senate without any Republican votes, thereby avoiding a filibuster threat.

    Together, these 2 bills could secure all of President Biden’s $3.5 trillion economic agenda: to rebuild the nation’s roads, bridges, rail lines, water systems and electricity grid, while upgrading public education, social welfare, health care, addressing climate change, and revamping the federal tax code. This is further explained in WHAT’S CONGRESS UP TO? Go to page 11 and check it out, or click here.

    The Biden administration already participated in an important victory when 130 countries signed on to a plan for a global minimum corporate tax, supporting Biden’s belief that countries need to prevent corporations from taking advantage of weak tax rules.

    Let’s not forget the August job report released by the Department of Labor showing better results than economists had predicted, and the administration had hoped for. The report also validates the Democrats’ approach to growing the economy. Since Reagan in 1981, Republican lawmakers have opposed government intervention to stimulate the economy, insisting that low taxes and private investment will drive the economy more efficiently. This recent job report confirms the exact opposite approach works more efficiently.

    In another vein we heard the shocking revelations from former acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen about former president Trump’s direct efforts to use the Department of Justice to overturn the 2020 election. With Trump loyalist Jeffrey Clark from the DoJ and Mark Meadows, Trump’s chief of staff, soon testifying to Congress about their messaging that “the election had been stolen”, we can expect more damning revelations.

    Sadly 25% of Republicans say they support the January 6 Insurrection as repackaged by allies of former president Trump to sway the public’s understanding of what happened that day. However, 535 insurrectionists have been arrested and await their sentences, some with jail time. There are reports that the Insurrection has convinced some moderate Republicans to shift their party identity to Independent, and to be noted, some even joined us, the Democrats.

    Let’s also remember that in July, New York prosecutors charged the Trump Organization with a 15-year “scheme to defraud” the government and charged its Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg with grand larceny and tax fraud. Since Weisselberg, who has pandered to Trump for decades wants to avoid spending the rest of his life in prison, many suspect he will flip and cooperate with authorities despite the hold Trump has over so many facets of his life.

    There is good and bad news coming from a report by James Hohmann in the Washington Post related to voter protection efforts. "Twenty-eight states have passed 71 laws since last November’s election to make voting easier, which will benefit 63 million eligible voters, while 18 states have passed 31 laws during that same time to erect barriers, affecting only 36 million eligible voters.” Speaking on the anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, Merrick Garland endorsed moral courage when he said, “We must say again that it is not right to erect barriers that make it harder for millions of eligible Americans to vote. And it is time for Congress to act again to protect that fundamental right.”

    Further, Jennifer Rubin made an encouraging analysis at the Washington Post by pointing to the Republican assumption that restrictions on early or mail-in voting would hurt Democrats, but since many Republican voters are older or live in rural areas and cannot get to the voting stations easily, the Republicans may be shooting themselves in the foot, and their efforts to undermine democracy may boomerang and reduce their chances for 2022 victories. Here

    Although the road is bumpy, there are reasons to be optimistic about our country’s and our party’s future. The Biden-Harris administration is moving forward and I hope you will join me in admiring all the accomplishments described above.

    Democratically yours, Bob Gould

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    VMF Sixth Newsletter

    Masthead

    August

    Newsletter

    Vol. 1, No. 6

    Greetings from the Co-Editor

    Let My People Vote

    Hello All Members and Friends,

    As your newest Read, White, and Blue co-editor let me introduce myself and then dive, briefly, into what – despite all other news – I think is MOST serious. I was born in the 1950's in Madison, WI a middle-class town, in a middle-class world. I walked to school and had weekly $5 piano lessons. I went to Michigan State University and married at age 21. I have NO idea who, or where I'd be now if that man hadn't walked out of my life one day 3 years later. There I was at 24 with the rug pulled out from under me and I re-calibrated. As you can imagine I have stories for days but I will skip ahead to what matters: YOU.

    In the 2018 election my vote – mailed from Greece to Milwaukee – was returned months later. With the “former guy” destroying democracy right and left I sought out support and found Democrats Abroad. However you got here, wherever you are WELCOME! And thank you. I deeply believe every grain of energy and intention contributed to fighting back at those attempting to damage democracy makes a difference.
    And the most serious issue today – amidst all the challenges at present? The VOTE. Without it we are literally powerless. With the vote we are successful only in great numbers. If we can't amass those numbers because of disenfranchisement, harassment, challenging regulations, redistricting and state legislatures that get the authority to throw out results ----- we are defeated. End of story.


    There are brave, dedicated serious groups working to fight back in many states. Lawyers for multiple organizations are taking anti-democratic regulations to court. (Even the ex-president MAY face the law – we can only hope.) I want to highlight what Texans and some other “good trouble” (Thank you, John Lewis!) people are doing right now. A brief rundown:


    May 31: The Texas Democratic lawmakers walked out of session denying a quorum so no vote could be taken on the voting restrictions bill.

    July 8: Texas legislators were called back for a special session.

    July 12: 51 Democratic Texas legislators left Texas and went to DC, again stalling the Texas legislature from passing a major voter restriction bill.

    July 15: Congresswoman Joyce Beatty of Ohio lead a group of women in a peaceful protest in the Hart Senate building (DC). They sang protest songs and chanted: Free the vote! End the filibuster! Fight for justice! They were arrested (in under one hour!).

    July 19: Over 400 people assembled in Austin, TX for a LET MY PEOPLE VOTE rally held by Texas Impact, an interfaith organization.

    Planned for July 27- 31: a “Selma to Montgomery'' march for voting rights. Marchers will walk from Georgetown, TX to Austin (27 miles) to demand that Texas legislators listen! It will be led by The Poor People's Campaign (founded by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and led now by Reverends William Barber II and Liz Theoharis), Powered by People (founded by Beto O'Rourke) and more civil rights/voting rights organizations.

    This IS what democracy looks like. I know this letter will come out when these things have all happened. But that does not mean they are over or done. I urge all of you to support any voting rights efforts you can in your home state or with any group you feel connected to. Various groups like Indivisible are planning events in every congressional district during the August recess period. If you have been active all along, good for you! If not, this is a great time to start! This debate is not yet decided. Congress does not go on recess for a couple weeks yet. If I had my say, they don't deserve vacation till they've done their job and defended all Americans' rights to vote.

    Be well,

                Democratically yours, Robin H Rafaelidys (DA Greece)

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    Upcoming Events

    Monday, December 13, 2021 at 06:00 PM Eastern Time (US & Canada)

    Commander In Chief Cup - GOTV

    ANNOUNCING THE FIRST EVER

    COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF'S TROPHY
    GET OUT THE MILITARY VOTE FUNDRAISER!

    Sports fans, military friends, and family members: here is your chance to feel good, WIN or LOSE!!

    Commander-in-Chief's Trophy

    200,000 military personnel, and their families, live overseas. These service people make and break elections, and we want every single one of them ready to vote in 2022. So we're raising money to reach them all.

    Pick your favorite team for the Commander-in-Chiefs Trophy, and help us get out the vote! Participants who pick the winning team will have our unending appreciation and snazzy certificate to show off. The three highest donors on the winning team will get some amazing Democrats Abroad Swag!

    Pick your team below!

     

    Air Force Falcons Army Black Knights Navy Midshipmen
    DONATE HERE DONATE HERE DONATE HERE

    A little history:

    The first ever Army/Navy game was played on November 29, 1890 at “The Plain” at West Point where the new Army team was defeated 24-0 by Navy who began their football program in 1879. Army and Navy have faced off 116 times with Navy at 60 wins to Army's 49 (there were 7 ties).

    Air Force showed up on the field in 1959 playing Army and then Navy in alternating years. The Commander-in-Chief Trophy and the round robin of games was established in 1972, with President Nixon awarding the 170-pound trophy to Army at a White House ceremony.

    The Air Force Falcons started out slowly, with the trophy going either to Army or Navy or being shared (some years wins and losses come out equally, so the trophy stays where it was last), but the Falcons got their gridiron legs in the '80's and won the trophy 16 of 21 years from 1982-2002, sharing the trophy once and Army taking it away 4 times.

    Where, you might say, is Navy? AHOY!! Because in 2003 the Midshipmen started a string of 7 straight years of victory, followed by 3 titles between 2010 and 2015! All-in-all, the Air Force Falcons have won the trophy 20 times, the Navy Midshipmen 16, and the Army Black Knights 9. Keep in mind, however, that Army won last year (10-7 over Air Force and 15-0 over Navy) and the trophy will have to be taken from them!

    While the games are played in many different locations – from Yankee Stadium (NY) to Soldier Field (Chicago) and the Academy home stadiums (Army/West Point, NY; Navy/Annapolis, MD; Air Force/Colorado Springs, CO) and at the Rose Bowl (CA); they are always held in the same rotation: Air Force vs Navy usually in October, Air Force vs Army in November, and then the “Army Navy Game” in December.

    This year’s KICK OFF will be held September 11th with Air Force at Navy. Are you ready to pick a winner? Click on any of the DONATE buttons above to pick game winners (a MERE $10 contribution) or the Commander-in-Chief Trophy winner. Donate as often as you like! All proceeds will go towards costs of Get Out The Vote efforts on and off military bases AROUND THE WORLD!!

    We thank you!!!

vmf