Hi! I'm Josh and I am running for Legal Counsel
Member since 2010
Country/Countries: United Kingdom
I have lived and breathed Democratic values for as long as I can remember. I volunteered on my first U.S. Senate campaign at age 17, founded a Young Democrats club in high school, and co-founded a College Democrats club at my university.
My parents – both of whom were the first in their families to go to college – strongly valued my education and proudly supported my dream of going to law school. At the University of Michigan, I was an editor of the Law Review and graduated with honors. After a few years in the private sector, I sought to apply my skills to pursuing social and economic justice around the world, which led me to my current career at a major multilateral development bank. In addition to my day job, I also serve as Vice Chair of our Staff Council (i.e. our employee union).
My DA Story
Describe your volunteer work with DA and cite your greatest DA accomplishment.
Having served in various legal and financial capacities across the organization – including four years as DAUK Treasurer, a member of the Global Bylaws Committee and 2020 Global Presidential Primary Committee, and Chair of the Credentials and Rules Committees for both the EMEA and Global Conventions in 2020 – I have developed the experience and institutional knowledge to see areas where Democrats Abroad operates very well, and where we can “Build Back Better.”
My most cherished memory in Democrats Abroad was serving as one of the Pages to the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Over four days of meeting fascinating people, hearing inspiring speeches and getting very little sleep, I shared an experience with many of you that we will never forget. I was already hooked on the power and potential of Democrats Abroad before Philadelphia – but after that life-changing experience, I became wholly committed to this work.
Why are you running for this office?
As an international development lawyer, I know how to use my professional legal skills to advance progressive values and positive change. This is my passion and reason for running for Global Counsel. The role requires not only technical expertise and fair-mindedness, but also long-term strategy and blue-sky thinking for how our internal governance can make us more effective at our mission: mobilizing the overseas vote to elect Democratic candidates.
In my view, our governance structures – which were designed to support a small organization – are in need of some updates as we approach 200,000 verified members. We should explore ways to decentralize and empower leaders to make decisions locally, while continuing to provide global assistance to ensure successful implementation.
As an all-volunteer organization, our culture can impact our effectiveness at carrying out our mission. We as Democrats hold ourselves to the highest standards of mutual respect – failure to live up to these standards can discourage people from continuing to volunteer, thereby reducing our ability to get out the vote! I will maintain a cooperative and collegial attitude to establish a culture of respect, both in tone and through policies that set the standards that we expect of ourselves.
What I Will Do
How will your skill sets and experience contribute to DA’s success?
By day, I am an in-house lawyer for a major international organization – just as the Global Counsel is the in-house lawyer for Democrats Abroad. In-house lawyers have one client: the institution for which they work. As Global Counsel, I will not see my client as the ExCom or any one person within the organization, but rather Democrats Abroad itself.
The role of Global Counsel is multifaceted: the Counsel is responsible for establishing the bylaws of new country committees; drafting the Delegate Selection Plan; maintaining compliance with FEC rules, GDPR, etc.; and exercising a quasi-judicial role in mediating disputes. In addition to utilizing my own areas of expertise, I will build a team of lawyers to leverage different skills and not be afraid to hire outside counsel on occasion, particularly in situations that would boost the visibility of Democrats Abroad and have a significant impact on Americans living overseas.
How can Democrats Abroad best raise our profile among American voters abroad and better work to elect Democrats?
As the Global ExCom works to empower leaders at all levels of the organization, we must also be more outward-looking and present the public face of Democrats Abroad, both with American voters abroad and within the Democratic Party as a whole. The recent amicus curiae brief that we filed in the Trump v. Pennsylvania case following the election is a prime example.
Particularly in areas where expats have a distinct perspective to offer our representatives back home, we should also seek ways to boost DA’s profile and influence. This might include joining court cases with implications on Americans overseas, but also working with members of Congress and state legislators on voting rights issues (and absentee voting in particular). As HR1/S1 makes its way through Congress, Democrats Abroad has a unique voice to represent Americans living overseas who have personal experience with the trials and tribulations of our electoral system.