Democrats Abroad is the official Democratic party arm for the 9m Americans living outside the US, with the Luxembourg country committee now under new leadership. There is also a Republicans Overseas group in the grand duchy.
Stoltzfus has been in Luxembourg for 15 years and since 2016 has Luxembourg citizenship. But she remains committed to US politics. “I’m from Pennsylvania. That’s a swing state,” she told Delano in an interview. She has been involved with the Democrats Abroad “on and off” for over a decade, but “the way things have gone in the past five years, I thought it’s time I really should get involved.”
Coming from a conversative area in Pennsylvania, Stoltzfus said she understands “both sides,” with her experience of living and working abroad also giving her a different perspective. “Everybody is excited,” she said, “especially for this year.”
Former US president Donald Trump has already declared his intention to run for president again next year. He is so far being opposed by former US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and entrepreneur and author Vivek Ramaswamy.
Other Republicans expected to vie for the presidency include Ron DeSantis, Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo and Tim Scott.
On the Democrat side, president Joe Biden is widely expected to announce his candidacy. He already has a competitor in the field, with self-help author and former Oprah Winfrey spiritual adviser Marianne Williamson giving a second shot at a run for office.
Voter turnout a priority
“One of the things we want to focus on is getting bigger voter turnout,” said Stoltzfus. “Election officials have a lot of leeway. It’s not even state by state, but sometimes county by county.” Democrats Abroad want to encourage all voters to check their registration status so as not to miss out because of faulty paperwork or rules that have changed since the last ballot.
That includes getting more younger people to sign up to vote. “At 18, they’re allowed to vote. If you make them aware what the issues are, that helps.”
Having only recently been elected, the new team is still putting together its programme for the coming year. “We’re developing a plan, to do events, do outreach.” That includes sending a survey to existing members to better understand what they expect and want from their organisation.
“I think there’s a lot of talent there,” she said of the Democrats Abroad’s roughly 300 members. But “everybody is very busy. That’s always the biggest challenge. The passion is there, and people want to do something, but everybody is so busy.”
With a background in marketing and communications, the new chair wants to make sure that the group is well organised, reached out to the community and to “get new members in as well and get them excited.”
The newly elected committee also includes vice-chair Patrick Canning, treasurer Matthew Fellmeth, secretary Dan Good, counsel Will Bakker and member-at-large Sheila Schrickel.
Some of the political divisions that plague the Democrats in the US are felt less within the expat community, said Stoltzfus. “It’s a small group. We’ve all worked abroad. You always have people with differing opinions, but it’s not quite as pronounced. If you went to Pennsylvania to talk to someone from farm country, where I grew up, and to somebody from Philadelphia, it would be a big difference.”
With 48 country committees throughout Europe, the Americas, Middle East and Africa, the Luxembourg group also hopes to connect with other regional teams.
“I think we understand it’s more critical than ever,” she said of the need to get involved.