Friday, May 8, 2009

Letter from the Chair

Hello Democrats Abroad Members!

As your newly elected Executive Committee (ExCom) of Democrats Abroad Switzerland (DACH), we are excited to get started on the important work ahead. The purpose of this email is to introduce ourselves, inform you of DACH events in May and highlight our online member survey.

However, we first want take a moment to thank the dedicated outgoing ExCom members. During the past two years our membership has grown threefold and we were able to register more voters, raise more money, and participate in grass roots volunteer work that resulted in unprecedented Democratic victories in the US elections. Our outgoing ExCom officers and members at large are:

Caitlin Kraft Buchman – Outgoing Chair – Elected as Member at Large 2009-2011
Michael Copping – Acting Interim Vice Chair – Elected as Vice Chair 2009-2011
Emily Blitz – Outgoing Secretary
Robert Pillar – Outgoing Treasurer
Alan Gladstone – Outgoing Legal counsel
Jennifer Giroux – Outgoing Member at Large – Current Zurich Chapter Chair
Stéphane Mitchell – Outgoing Member at Large – Current Media Relations Suisse Romande
Karen Olson – Outgoing Member at Large
Maya Samara – Outgoing Member at Large – Elected as Chair 2009-2011

May Events/Activities

DACH has several interesting events and activities planned for the month of May. Next to each is a link to the complete details of the event including all logistical details.
• Wednesday, 13 May 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM, Geneva Documentary Movie Night with discussions on Global Economic Crisis at member’s home. (More info)
• Thursday, 14 May 7:00 PM – 9:30 PM, Zurich Documentary Movie Night on Economy at Chapter Chair’s home. (More info)
• Sunday, 17 May 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Basel Expat Expo. Stop by DA table #8 for cocktails w/ DA ExCom & Basel members between 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM Entrance is free! (More info or visit Expat Expo)
• Tuesday, 26 May 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM, Basel Global Issues Forum: Economy – Guest speaker, William R. White from OECD. Venue: The Economics Institute of Basel University. No entry charge. (More info)
• Wednesday, 27 May 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM, Geneva Global Issues Forum: Economy – Guest speaker, Ambassador Peter F. Allgeier, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative to the World Trade Organization. Venue: Intercontinental Hotel Geneva. Registration fee CHF 25 (students CHF 15) (More info)

Penny (or a T-shirt in this case) for your thoughts!
Your input is valuable to us. We would greatly appreciate your completion of the short attached survey expressing your opinions, ideas, and preferences on the types of activities and work that DACH should focus on over the coming months. The survey only takes a few minutes to complete and by participating, you will be eligible for a free drawing for one of three Obama T-Shirts! To take the survey, click on the link below and follow the instructions. The survey closes 30 May 2009 and results will be announced in next month’s DACH e-bulletin. Here’s the link to the survey:

You will find more details on 4 of the issues listed in the survey by clicking on the below links:
Medicare benefits for Americans abroad
Tax Increase Prevention & Reconciliation Act of 2005 (TIPRA)
Uniting American Families Act of 2009 (UAFA)
Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP)

Meet your new ExCom!

Maya Samara – Chair
Originally from New Hampshire, Maya has lived in Switzerland for the last 8 years. In addition to being a member of the DACH ExCom, she was also co-chair of “Geneva for Obama” during the last campaign, coordinating many voter registration and fundraising events and activities. She operates her own professional event planning business. Maya’s email:

Michael Copping – Vice Chair
Michael moved to Switzerland from California just over a year ago, although Vermont is his home state. He is a marketing consultant with a strong background in publishing and marketing strategy. Michael’s email:

Jessica Brooks – Secretary
Jessica hails from Baltimore, Maryland. She is in Geneva working towards a Master’s in International Affairs. She was active in her college Democrats group and she brings broad database and outreach skills that will help the DACH ExCom be organized and effective. Jessica’s email:

Marcus Courtney – Treasurer
A native of Montana, Marcus came to Geneva from Seattle, Washington, where he founded a union representing telecommunications employees. He was also heavily involved in legislative initiatives at the state level. A Geneva resident for just under a year, he works with a global union that represents telecommunications employees. Marcus’ email:

Daniel Crosby – Legal Counsel
Daniel brings more than 15 years of legal and international policy experience to the DACH ExCom. He will ensure technical compliance with our Bylaws while framing potential amendments that reflect and encourage DACH’s evolution. Daniel’s email:

Caitlin Kraft Buchman – Member at Large
Caitlin has been the leading force of DACH for the last 4 years as Chair. She is also an elected member of the Democratic National Committee, serving a 4-year term through 2012. Her contacts and experience are an invaluable resource for our ExCom and for DACH as we grow and prepare for the 2010 mid term elections. Caitlin’s email:

Tristan Zand – Member at Large
A physician and specialist in medical informatics with experience in the broadcast industry, Tristan is our ExCom’s technology guru. He’ll help DACH utilize the latest in communication technologies to increase our effectiveness across the country. Tristan grew up in California, although Switzerland has been his home for the last 20 years or so. Tristan’s email:

Jennifer Giroux – Chair – Zurich Chapter
Jennifer is a social scientist with an education in Anthropology and International Affairs working in Zurich. She has been extremely active with DACH, starting the first chapter of DACH for the German speaking part of Switzerland. Jennifer’s email:

We look forward to seeing you at one of the many events planned in May and hearing from you via the survey!

Maya Samara
Chair, Democrats Abroad Switzerland

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