Interview with Bob Bragar of Democrats Abroad
The AABC’s interview with Bob Bragar:Immigration Attorney and Representative for Democrats Abroad in The Netherlands
September 22, 2016
De Huyschkaemer, Amsterdam
AABC: What is the role of Democrats Abroad (DA) in the Netherlands?
Bob Bragar: DA exists to represent Americans living outside the United States who would like to support Democratic candidates or have an affiliation with the Democratic Party. DA is technically considered a “state” within the Democratic Party. As such, we are represented as part of the Democratic National Committee, just as any other state. Our delegates cast votes at the Democratic National Convention to select the Democratic candidate for the presidency of the United States. I was elected and served as a delegate in support of President Obama back in 2008, and was a super delegate for Hillary Clinton this year.
According to the State Department, there are 6-8 million Americans living outside of the United States. The Federal voting system allows for individuals not living in the United States to vote. Democrats Abroad’s core mission is to help register Americans to vote and to ensure that our voices are heard in the halls of the Congress.
AABC: Do you feel that the interests of Americans living abroad are being considered/addressed in the election and U.S. government?
BB: Yes, but not enough. The constant challenge of DA is to knock on Congress’s door and say, “don’t forget about us.” Case in point was when Congress was going to pass the Affordable Care Act. They were going to include all Americans living abroad in the penalties section for failing to comply with ACA. We were able to successfully remind and convince Congress to exclude non-residents from the ACA penalties. Similarly, DA constantly lobbies on behalf of its constituents on matters ranging from tax reform, specifically FATCA, to social security and Medicare reform, as well as other matters that impact expatriates in very real ways.
AABC: As a representative, what are your views on the election?
BB: This election is extremely close. This is why we strongly encourage everyone to vote, even if you’re living abroad. This is one of the most, if not THE most, important elections in U.S. history. Do your part to be a part of this historic election.
AABC: How can Americans abroad make a difference in the election?
BB: VOTE! Get your friends to vote. I encourage everyone to call 10 American friends and remind them to register to vote if they have not done so already. The deadline for absentee voter registration is fast approaching. If you don’t register to vote before the second or third week of October, at the very latest, you will likely not be able to cast a vote in this important election. Don’t let that happen! Voting is an attribute of U.S. Citizenship and your civic duty. Be a part of the process.
“Vote Here” photo credit: katbaro on Flickr
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