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 V. 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

    Join the Global Veterans and Military Families Caucus Team!

    Join the Global Veterans and Military Families Caucus Team!

    We are quickly approaching a time of great change in America. Former President Donald Trump won Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania in 2016 -- three states that made up a core part of the Democrats’ “blue wall.” In 2020, President Biden won back all three along with Arizona and Georgia, but his victory was achieved by incredibly small margins in key states.

    As we prepare for 2022 and 2024, we will need to adapt to this change. We will need to identify the places where we can make a difference for our community and other communities alike and fight to keep the House, Senate, and White House blue. I am determined to ensure that our 2021-2023 VMF team is ready to tackle these challenging times with a diverse, active, and outspoken group of leaders and volunteers.

    I will be accepting applications for our steering committee leadership positions until 11:59 PM EDT on October 15th. I will strive to complete making appointments to these positions no later than October 20th. If you are just interested in volunteering with our caucus’s teams, please still send an application! I will share volunteer applications with our appointed leaders so that they can fill out their teams with interested volunteers.

    Available Steering Committee and Volunteer Positions:

    • Secretary
    • Regional representatives for the Americas, Asia-Pacific, and the Middle East/Africa
    • Member Engagement and Advocacy - Team leader and volunteers
    • Events Coordinator - Team leader and volunteers
    • Communications and Social Media - Volunteers

    If you are interested in being on our VMF team, please send me an email with what position or activities you are interested in and why you want to be a part of our team. Current service members, veterans, military family members, and allies are all welcome and encouraged to apply.

    Best,


    Anthony “Mike” Nitz
    Chair, Global VMF Caucus
    [email protected]

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    VMF Eight Newsletter

    Masthead

    October 2021

    Newsletter

    Vol. 1, No. 8

        To view this in pdf, click here

    Greetings from a VMF Caucus Guest Contributor

    At ease…

    One of the proudest decisions of my post-active and -reserve military life is committing to volunteering for Democrats Abroad (DA). As I'm sure you're aware, there are many non-profit organizations and political groups that aim to support veterans and military families (VMF), but DA's Veterans and Military Families Caucus is unique. We are comprised of not ​only VMF Americans living abroad but also strong allies of our causes who live abroad and understand the overseas perspective. In my involvement with the VMF Caucus, I've created templates for our members to contact their Members of Congress, edited podcast discussions with issue-expert guests, brainstormed ideas ​on how ​to ​take advocacy action, and ​much more. Why am I dedicated to volunteering with the VMF Caucus​ and urging you to do the same?

    Since last year's General Election, Democrats across the board have made significant progress in taking care of America's veterans and military families. Six months ago, President Biden signed into law legislation to provide COVID-19 vaccinations, whenever available, to all veterans, veteran spouses, caregivers, and VA Civilian Health and Medical Program recipients. The Democratic-led Senate has taken legislative steps forward on tackling the serious issue of eliminating sexual assault within the military, while the Democratic-led House of Representatives has tackled other important issues such as allowing VA employees to organize into labor unions, researching ways to halt veteran suicides, and repatriating deported veterans. In addition, Secretary McDonough has committed to making meaningful reforms to the oft-plagued Dept. of Veterans' Affairs while Democratic governors throughout the states have been enacting pro-veterans laws supported by millions of Americans. We need to not only keep these Democratic incumbents in office but expand this group by booting out anti-compromise, do-nothing Republican politicians holding back meaningful pro-VMF policies.

    However, despite the above ​Democratic-led ​accomplishments, I'm not yet fully satisfied with the state of things and I suspect you aren't either. If you’re anything like the fellow Marines and Sailors I served with, you know that legislative victories that support veterans and military families don't come easily. The current system of VA health care is far from covering all of our nation's veterans from the physical injuries and mental scars sustained from their time in service, especially those veterans ​needing care ​who live abroad. An estimated millions of veterans harmed from toxic smoke and particulate matter stemming from so-called “burn pits” over the past few decades have yet to receive the earned VA-provided care needed to address their health. Moreover, with mold, lead-based paint, asbestos, poor water quality and exposure to sewage, base housing is still not completely safe for military families, especially for those military families residing abroad. When it comes to veterans and military families, "taking care of our own" goes without saying. But it also is an all-of-the-above strategy that the DA VMF Caucus strives to achieve.

    Maybe you've thought about becoming more active with our caucus but aren't quite sure what we do. Let's discuss. We register U.S. citizens living abroad to vote. We provide assistance to those needing to request their ballot from their home state voting jurisdiction. We spread our messaging via social media and encourage others to share. We strive to have diversity and inclusion among our steering committee and full caucus membership. In short, we want what you want: to improve the federal government's response to supporting and taking care of our nation's veterans and military families; to hold our elected officials accountable; to always seek to improve our Party and our Caucus; and to increase voter turnout from Americans overseas.

    So what can we as VMF Caucus members do? As it turns out, there are plenty of action items we can and must do to move our country forward. Whether it be:

    • making a generous contribution to getting out the critical military overseas vote,
    • spearheading an issue advocacy campaign,
    • sharing with us your personal veteran or military family experience that you believe should be brought to our attention,
    • researching ways federal issues affect the American veterans and/or military families abroad population,
    • recommending notable guests for VMF webinar discussions and roundtables,
    • drafting an op-ed, letter-to-the-editor, or convincing language to reform our Party and stances on VMF issues,
    • participating in a commemorative or remembrance occasion,
    • being an extra pair of hands during in-person VMF events,
    • attending monthly online VMF meetings and sharing new information with fellow Democrats Abroad members in your country committee and personal network,
    • raising awareness of a political issue,
    • assisting with I.T.-related projects,
    • mentoring, engaging, or empowering other VMF members, or
    • following us on social media to learn of events and activities, it is easy:
    Connect with us on    fb.png twit.png Insta.svg  

    There are countless ways you can help the VMF Caucus!

    We take great pride in the fact that since our caucus' founding four years ago, we have been 100% volunteer-run and operated with an overall clear goal of supporting American citizens abroad exercising their right to vote, and we invite you to help with our missions as our vital work continues to grow. Thank you for being a valued member of our caucus. And if you've received this newsletter from someone else, consider joining us, then let us know your skills and level of motivation, and we'll make sure your volunteering contributions won't be wasted.

    Semper fi, Michael Ramos (DA Australia, IL voter, former enlisted USMC)

    ** IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT **

    You might be surprised to hear that there are over 20 states having elections right now. All states allow absentee ballots to be returned by mail, but with supply chains slowed down by COVID, mail may not be the fastest or best option for you. Many states allow ballots to be faxed, so please check your state's guidelines at Votefromabroad.org. (If you don’t have access to a fax machine, there are several online fax services that will send your ballot quickly and safely, or perhaps a copy store near you.)

     

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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