San Juan County Democratic Party Platform
Adopted by a quorum of Precinct Delegates, April 19, 2008
County Convention in Friday Harbor
Declaration of Principles
We, the Democrats of San Juan County, believe in the principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. These are fundamental democratic principles to which we subscribe:
Liberty - freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom to petition the Government for redress of grievances, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure.
Justice - due process of law, trial by jury, basic human rights - including economic justice.
Equality - equal rights, equal opportunity, fairness.
Cooperation - domestic tranquility and civility, pursuit of happiness, peaceful resolution of disputes, provision of humanitarian aid.
Community - promotion of the general welfare - including universal health care, public good, fiscal responsibility, responsible stewardship of the Earth and its biodiversity.
Security - common defense, public safety, multilateral partnerships, mutual alliances, security of all people worldwide.
Open Society - government transparency, open elections, public participation in the process of governance, right to vote and have it validated; provide the foundation of our work as a local political party.
In promoting these principles, we place enduring value on the individual qualities of honesty, integrity, fortitude, ethics, forward vision, and open communication essential to sound democratic process.
In accordance with these principles, we recognize that that we are a community of people whose purpose is to promote the general welfare, public good and the liberty and justice, which allows all of our citizens to reach their full potential.
We believe we can only reach those goals through a government based on the consent of the governed, a free and open democracy where all persons are treated as equals and with rights and privileges and responsibilities.
Further, we believe that a Democracy cannot be sustained when all economic power is concentrated in the hands of a few, who through their power can manipulate the government to their own benefit to the detriment of the many.
We believe that we are stewards of our environment and must for the salvation of humankind and the welfare of our children and their children insure that the planet survives in a manner that can sustain them.
We further believe that it is the duty of the community, through its democratic institutions, to insure that the least fortunate among us are not left behind.
2 Our platform is an affirmation that ultimate political power belongs to the People. We affirm the rights guaranteed by the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and charge our government with aggressively protecting, upholding, and championing these rights. We recognize that a democracy can only flourish with an open government, carefully scrutinized by knowledgeable citizens and a free, independent and diverse media.
4 Support for the GMA: We support application of the principles of the Growth Management Act in long-term land use planning. We support compliance with the both the spirit and the letter of the decisions of the Growth Management Board.
5 Community Development and Planning: We advocate sustainable funding and full legislative and administrative support for the SJC Community Development and Planning Department that ensures the agency can effectively implement the comprehensive plan, long range planning, and enforcement that will protect our quality of life and environment.
6 Planning for Future Water and Waste: We demand that local governing bodies take all necessary steps to provide adequate facilities to support planned growth, to provide adequate clean water, to treat sewage, and to dispose of solid waste.
7 Recycling and Solid Waste: We support the implementation of policies and procedures that promote and increase recycling of materials, and minimize sold waste for disposal without the expectation that funding will be generated entirely from waste disposal fees.
8 Affordable Housing Initiatives: To ensure a diverse population, we must provide affordable housing opportunities for people from all economic levels. We support land use policies that provide for and assure affordable housing in the town and the county. We support legislation authorizing funding for affordable housing in San Juan County.
9 Permanently Affordable Housing: The San Juan County Council shall prioritize permanently affordable housing as a solution to the affordable housing crisis; and the State of Washington should recognize that land held in perpetuity for permanently affordable housing is not comparable to land that can be sold at fair market value, and therefore should be taxed accordingly - similar to a "current use assessment" such as is applied to land held in forest, agricultural or open space classifications.
10 Public Health is a High Priority: The overall health of a community is measured by the resources it makes available to its citizens to ensure their individual well being. We urge the SJCC to fully fund a comprehensive outreach program through our Public Health Department.
11 Ethical Business Practices of Contractors: We support a county policy that requires county officials to examine and consider the business practices of any person, business, or entity with which it intends to contract or do business. The county should not hire or contract with any person or entity with a history of unfair or unethical business or labor practices.
12 Ferries: Ferries are an integral part of the state highway system. We support funding and resources that are fairly allocated throughout the state. We believe that Washington State ferries domestic runs should be accessible as a safe, affordable and efficient public service to any and all individuals regardless of their residency status. We further believe that federal customs and border inspections of Washington State ferries passengers on domestic routes should cease.
13 Barge Landings: We support the construction and maintenance of public barge landings at appropriate sites on each of the major islands.
14 HUMAN RIGHTS AND CIVIL RIGHTS
15 Protection of Civil Rights: Our civil liberties are the foundation of our democracy. We are committed to protect our civil liberties and to the preservation of the rights guaranteed by the Constitution and Bill of Rights. We oppose any effort to erode our constitutional rights, including the right to vociferously protest against government actions. Efforts to reduce crime and its negative effects on society and to protect against the threat of terrorism do not justify the erosion of our constitutional rights.
16 Enforce the UN Declaration of Rights: The United States should enforce the principles embodied in the United Nation's "Universal Declaration of Human Rights - Article 25", which provides that "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of [themselves] and of [their] family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond [their] control."
17 The Rights of Women: The right of women to equal protection under the law and to enjoy the full rights of citizenship must be vigorously defended. Congress should pass the Equal Rights amendment. The right to reproductive choice is an absolutely essential component of these rights. The Democratic Party must lead the effort to obtain these rights for women all over the world.
18 Prohibition against Discrimination: We oppose discrimination of any kind and support laws that prohibit discrimination and programs that provide victims with access to courts to overcome such injustices.
19 Affirmative Action: We support affirmative action programs that provide victims of past discrimination with the opportunity of equal access to education, employment, promotion, housing and other necessities of life.
20 Civil Unions: We believe that governments should recognize the civil union of couples regardless of their gender or sexual orientation, and that these civil unions should afford all the legal protections, rights and benefits of marriage. These benefits, protections and rights are to be extended to include immigrant couples and families.
21 Separation of Religion and Government: Freedom of religion includes the individual’s right to practice religion or not practice religion. It is not the role of government to support either practice or any entity that supports either practice. We support the separation of religion and government. We oppose organized prayers in public schools, religious symbols in government buildings and institutions, and public funding of religious charities, schools and institutions that require a profession of faith or act of worship as a condition of participation.
22 Confidentiality of Medical Records: The evolution of technology should not be permitted to erode the privacy rights of citizens. Medical and all other personal records and information should be protected from unauthorized disclosure.
23 Patriot Act: We support the repeal of the Patriot Act and support a careful and open review of the needs of government to protect the nation against terrorism while protecting our basic rights.
24 Department of Peace: We support the creation of a cabinet level Department of Peace.
26 Expanding Head Start: We support funding an expanded head-start program capable of enrolling all eligible children.
27 Stable Funding for Schools: We support a funding mechanism that will provide stable and consistent public financing of high-quality basic education for all children and ensure equality between districts and schools. We demand that all children have competent, well-compensated teachers, up-to-date textbooks and state-of-the-art school facilities and equipment. We believe public school funding should be devoted only to public schools and home schooling programs, and we oppose any program that diverts resources from these programs. We believe a simple majority vote should be sufficient to pass school levies.
28 Privatization of Schools: We support our public schools and oppose the privatization of schools by voucher payments, tax credits and other methods of diverting public funds from public schools to private schools.
29 Commercialization of Schools: We oppose the commercialization of our public schools and urge school boards to avoid corporate contracts that expose children to commercial advertising and its culture of consumption.
30 HEALTH CARE
31 National Health Insurance: We believe health care is a basic human right and that it is a necessary and proper role of government to ensure that all citizens have access to high quality and affordable health care when the free market has failed to provide for it. We support a nonprofit, single-payer national insurance program to cover the costs of all medical and health care needs of citizens. This program should cover standard medical procedures, long-term care, diagnosis, treatment and care for medical, dental, mental health and substance abuse treatment. We support using the marketing power of the government to moderate medical costs and lower the costs of prescription drugs.
32 Funding Public Health Facilities: We support national and state funding of public health hospitals and clinics in cities and community medical clinics and hospitals in rural areas to ensure that all people have access to medical care.
33 Family Planning: We believe that women have the right to control their bodies and therefore have the right to make personal decisions regarding reproductive choices. We believe that women should have the right to choose whether to have abortions and should have the right of access to safe, legal abortions. We believe that family planning services should be accessible to everyone without government interference.
34 Social Services for People with Special Needs: We support sufficient funding to make social services available to people with special needs, including the mentally ill, the mentally and physically handicapped.
35 Dignity in Death: We support legislation (with appropriate safeguards) both at the state and federal levels that will assist the terminally ill, with the support of their physicians, to make end-of-life decisions.
36 Use of Budget Surplus to Fund Health Care and Retirement Systems: Any future budget surplus should be used to guarantee access to Medicare and Medicaid and to ensure the solvency of Social Security, rather than be refunded to rich citizens and corporations.
37 Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Abuse: Drug and alcohol dependence is a serious personal and social problem. We believe treatment should be available for all persons who suffer from substance abuse. We support the establishment of drug courts that provide addicts with the opportunity to engage in treatment in lieu of criminal prosecution.
38 Maintaining Residential Habilitation Centers: We support the full operation, maintenance and use of the Fircrest School and all Residential Habilitation Centers to provide care for developmentally disabled citizens.
40 Protection of the Environment: We believe that people have the right to clean air, water and land, and that it is the necessary and proper role of government to protect these natural resources. We believe that government should neither make, nor violate any law, rule or regulation that endangers or contaminates, or allows anyone to endanger or contaminate, our air, water and land.
41 Sufficient Funding and Staffing of Enforcement Agencies: We demand sufficient funding and staffing of government agencies charged with protecting our air, water and land to enable them to fully enforce all federal and state environmental laws and regulations.
42 Protection of Our Food Supply: We demand that federal and state governments enact laws and regulations whose true purpose is to protect our food supply rather than the economic interests of businesses. We demand sufficient funding and staffing of government agencies charged with protecting our food supply to enable them to perform independent inspections of all animal food processing plants.
43 Policies for Fuel Efficiency: We support federal and state funding and incentives for conservation programs and for developing sustainable energy sources, such as solar, wind, geothermal, hydrogen (including hydrogen fuel cell technology), and biomass. We demand that Congress mandate substantial increases in fuel efficiency of motor vehicles available for sale in the United States to 40 miles per gallon by 2008. We believe national, state and local governments should purchase fleets of highly efficient motor vehicles with super low emissions; this would increase the market for such items and reduce their cost to consumers. We support tax incentives to encourage citizens to purchase highly efficient, clean-burning vehicles and to discourage purchases of inefficient, high-emission vehicles.
44 Protection of Sensitive Areas from Drilling: We oppose further development of environmentally sensitive areas such as our nation's outer continental shelf, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Georgia Straights within US boundaries, and any other wilderness area for oil drilling or exploration.
45 Reduction of Pollution: We support mandatory measures to reduce carbon, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide emissions. We support economic incentives for energy conservation and clean energy systems, including a requirement that at least 20% of all electricity be from renewable or alternative sources.
46 Support for Radioactive Cleanup: We demand that the state (1) require that radioactive waste at Hanford be cleaned up, (2) prevent new waste from being dumped at Hanford, (3) end the dumping of radioactive waste in unlined soil trenches, (4) require the cleanup of high-level waste tanks and the waste that has leaked from them, (5) prevent Hanford from being used as a National Radioactive Waste Dump, and (6) to prohibit unsafe disposal of Washington state’s nuclear waste in other countries.
47 Retain Corporate Clean Up Tax: Corporations and other entities that pollute our environment should be held responsible for all cleanup costs and should be given substantial sanctions for violating the laws. We support the re-imposition of corporate taxes to establish and maintain clean up funds. We oppose any effort to place such costs on the backs of the taxpayers.
48 Support for Clean Air Act: We support strict enforcement of the Clean Air Act and oppose any attempt to reduce its standards. Air Act. We demand all utilities be required to install state-of-the-art equipment that substantially reduces air pollution. We demand an immediate commitment to, and substantial increase in funding of implementation of our Clean Air Laws to ensure proper enforcement and compliance.
49 Clean Water: We support a national program to protect the waters of the United States from oil spills, through strong safety requirements for tankers and freighters. We demand an immediate and substantial increase in inspectors, investigators and lawyers sufficient to ensure proper enforcement of our clean water laws. We further support the proper management and planning of sensitive coastal areas to limit effects of runoff. We demand an immediate commitment to, and substantial increase in funding of implementation of our Clean Water Laws to ensure proper enforcement and compliance.
50 Protection of Aquifers: We strongly urge the immediate imposition of laws preventing the removal of water from underground aquifers or the pollution of waters in or from aquifers in the extraction of gas from the ground.
51 Water Resources Belong to the Public: We oppose the privatization of natural water resources.
52 Protection of Ground Water: We support the establishment of government agencies authorized and fully funded to establish standards for use of ground water and to enforce such standards in order to prevent the contamination, overuse, depletion of aquifers.
53 Protection of Public Land: We support a public policy that would require that public lands be managed as a public trust.
54 Recycling: We support the development and maintenance of recycling systems that encourage recycling and prevent contamination of our air, soil and water. We support the use, whenever possible, of safe, biodegradable materials in manufactured goods, and the enactment of laws to encourage their use.
55 Global Program for Global Warming: We support ratification of the Kyoto accords on global warming and pollution. We support the immediate and aggressive implementation of a comprehensive international program to address the threat of global warming caused by the emission of greenhouse gases. The United States should be a leader in this process.
56 Support for Mass Transit: We support the development of mass transit systems and the use of public and private funds, including tax and other financial incentives for their development. We support the upgrade and expansion of our national railway lines, high-speed passenger service, and light rail systems. We also support programs that support and encourage the use of bicycles.
57 Labeling of Food: We support complete, legible labeling of all contents of genetically modified foods and all consumables, including alcoholic beverages.
58 Protecting Natural Resources: For many years, laws have permitted private businesses to obtain oil, gas, forest, and mineral resources from public lands with little remuneration to the public, while allowing businesses to pollute the land, water, air, and crops, and to deplete natural aquifers. We support tough laws to protect our natural resources from such waste, pillaging and destruction. We demand a halt to laws and regulations that authorize the government to virtually give away our natural resources and to permit businesses to spoil our land, water, forests, and air. We demand that strict mining standards be established and enforced. We support laws that require the immediate clean up of sites where our natural resources have been removed.
61 Sustainable Forest Practices: We support laws that require and encourage sustainable forest practices. We support full protection of all old growth forests from harvest, salvage logging, and road building on public lands.
62 National Forests: We support the protection of all roadless areas in our National Forests.
63 Loggers Should Bear Costs of Roads: We believe that taxpayers should no longer be required to pay the costs of building and maintaining logging roads on public lands; we believe the location and construction of new logging roads should be strictly regulated and controlled by the government.
64 Regulation of Large-Scale Animal Farming: Unregulated large scale animal farming has resulted in the discharge of animal waste into our natural water supply, contaminating our rivers and streams, polluting the water and air, and creating serious danger to the health of humans, animals, and the environment. We support strict regulations that protect the environment from dangers inherent in large-scale animal farming.
65 Regulation of Fish Farms: Food fish farming should be strictly regulated to avoid contaminating local fish stock and threatening local species.
66 Overuse of Antibiotics: The overuse of antibiotics in animals threatens the health and safety of everyone. We support regulations banning both the indiscriminate use of antibiotics in animals raised for food and farming practices that create artificial conditions requiring the use of antibiotics in animals.
67 Support for Salmon Recovery: Support the recovery of abundant, healthy and self-sustaining populations of wild salmon.
68 Steelhead in Washington State Waters : We support the recovery of Wild Salmon and Steelhead runs and urge the State and Federal governments to make decisions based on science, to enforce the laws intended to protect our water, natural resources and fish, and to provide the necessary funding to recover self-sustaining and harvestable salmon runs.
69 Restrictions on Genetically Modified Food: We oppose the growth, use, and marketing of genetically modified seeds, foods and organisms without strict testing performed by independent scientists.
70 Support for Organic Farming: We support programs that encourage organic farming and protect its status.
71 Support for Family Farming: We support preserving family farm agriculture and urge the government to develop innovative long-term policies that preserve family farming and create economic systems that support successful family farm agriculture. We support limits on subsidies to large agribusinesses.
72 End Certain Exemptions to Protection Laws: We support the repeal of military exemptions for actions that violate the Endangered Species Act, the Marine Mammals Protection Act, and the Migration Bird Treaty. We believe the maximum threshold for sound transmitted into the oceans should be no louder than 145 decibels, which is considered safe for human beings.
73 Opposition to Exportation of Dangerous Chemicals: We oppose the exportation of pesticides, insecticides, fungicides and herbicides that may not be legally used in the United States.
74 DOMESTIC POLICY
75 Priorities: Our strength as a nation should be measured not by the size of our military arsenal, but rather by the health, welfare, education, productivity, and character of our citizens. We should curb wasteful and excessive military spending and support the social needs of our citizens.
76 End the Culture of Fear: We condemn the culture of fear fostered by the current administration to manipulate public opinion.
77 Protection of Social Security and Medicare: Social Security and Medicare are essential programs for millions of Americans. The government should make modifications now to ensure continued long-term solvency of these programs. We support laws that would prohibit the use of Social Security contributions for any purpose other than funding Social Security. Since the risks inherent in privatization are not consistent with the purpose of the program, Social Security and Medicare should not be privatized. Any governmental program to support private retirement accounts must be funded outside of the Social Security Program.
78 Family Planning: We support the funding and encouragement of responsible family planning that is consistent with the sustaining capacity of the environment and a decent quality of life.
79 Expanding Child Care: We support making quality licensed daycare centers available to parents through funding by government and private industry.
80 Media Violence: We deplore the presentation of gratuitous violence by all media. We discourage all media from portraying violence as the means of resolving conflicts. We urge the media to present all actual consequences of violent acts.
81 Funding Public Broadcasting: We support funding of National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting Service by the federal government.
82 Preventing Media Monopolies: A democracy must have open debate of issues and access to different points of view. We strongly support the adoption and enforcement of stringent restrictions against the single ownership of multiple media outlets in the same area and limitations on the total number of media outlets that a single entity can own or control in the nation.
83 Stop Using Tax Money for School Vouchers and Faith-Based Organizations: Tax money must not be used, directly or indirectly, to support any organization, whether a school or a charitable organization that promotes a religion, or practices discrimination in the composition of its administration, or in it's hiring practices or delivery of services. Proposals to use "vouchers" for religious schools and diversion of tax money to "faith-based" organizations exempt from discrimination laws represent egregious examples. Such organizations must be supported by voluntary private donations never by taxes.
84 Tax Reform: We believe that taxes are the reasonable dues paid by members of a responsible and benevolent society to support institutions and programs that provide for its basic needs, promotes its economic development, and ensures a high quality of life. The present tax code reflects the corruption of the political process that rewards large campaign donors with tax breaks and subsidies that serve the interests of large businesses, corporations, financial institutions, and wealthy individuals at the expense of ordinary citizens and important social programs. We demand an end to the system of corporate welfare and subsidies. We believe the taxes that people and entities pay should reflect their ability to support the social needs of society.
85 Repeal the Tax Cut for the Wealthy and Corporations: The tax break for the rich and corporations was based on the assumption that there was a "surplus that should be returned to the people." Since there is no surplus and the government is engaged in deficit spending and cutting important social programs, tax cuts for the rich and corporations should be rescinded and the money should be made available for necessary social programs, payment of debt, and building the nation's infrastructure.
86 Anti-Tax-Haven Laws: We support laws that would prevent American citizens and American and multinational corporations from using overseas tax havens to avoid paying taxes. To ensure that corporations report all of their income and to prevent them from shifting their American profits on paper to tax haven countries, corporations should no longer be permitted to defer reporting their foreign profits on their U.S. tax returns.
87 Support for a State Income Tax: Our state tax laws are regressive. We support the elimination of the sales and B&O taxes and urge the Legislature to institute a state personal and corporate income tax.
88 Congressional and Legislative Ethics Boards: Congress and the Legislature should enact strong ethics rules and fully fund standing agencies with all necessary powers to investigate violations.
89 Terminate the Anti-Ballistic Missile Program: We oppose the research, development and deployment of a "missile defense shield" in the face of scientific data collected over many years indicating that such a system is not technically feasible and because of concern that it might stimulate a new arms race. The United States should immediately stop spending money on the anti-ballistic missile system and should use those funds to pay for needed social programs and to improve the infrastructure of the country.
90 End Military Pork-Barrel Spending: We strongly support budgets that provide our military personnel with better pay and living conditions and that provide them with the finest equipment needed to protect this nation and its allies. We are adamantly opposed to spending money on weapons and programs that are not wanted or needed by the military. We abhor spending money on military projects solely because contractors are located in the districts of members of Congress.
91 Require Audits of the DOD: We support laws that would require the Dept. of Defense to undergo and publish the results of annual audits to account for our tax dollars.
92 Public Control of Essential Industries: To ensure that the public's interest is protected, we support public ownership of utilities (including power generation and distribution) and strict government regulation of essential industries, such as health care, oil and gas pipelines, transportation, banking, and telecommunications. History has shown that deregulation of these industries has reduced competition, increased prices, and created "boom and bust" cycles damaging to the industries and their customers. Funding for public utilities and for public projects for renewable energy sources, energy efficiency, reduction of emissions, and new facilities, should be provided by tax-exempt bonds.
93 Preservation of Public Interest in Exclusive Economic Zone of the United States: We believe the waters and natural resources within the 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone of the United States is held by the government in trust for people of this nation. We oppose the creation of private property rights to the waters or other natural resources within the EEZ or the expansion of corporate or other private activities within that zone that deplete or threaten its resources or reduce the quality of the water within the zone.
94 Remove Incentives for Relocating Businesses: We oppose laws that encourage and support the relocation of U.S. businesses to foreign countries.
95 Keeping Guns from Children: We support legislation whose goal is to keep guns out of the hands of children.
96 Balancing the Right to Bear Arms against the Right to Regulate Firearms: We recognize that the constitutional right to bear arms is deemed as important to some citizens as is the right to free speech or freedom of religion to others. We support reasonable firearms regulations, provided that they are thoroughly researched and carefully written to ensure a particular benefit to society.
97 Ban on Some Firearms: We support laws that ban the possession of armor-piercing bullets by persons other than law enforcement, and that ban the production and possession of assault weapons and of semiautomatic rifles with the capacity of more than 10 rounds of ammunition for civilian use.
98 Background Checks of Persons Purchasing Firearms: We believe that the sale of firearms should be subject to background checks of all buyers and support the immediate closure of the "gun show" loophole. To ensure that firearms do not get into the hands of convicted felons, the government must develop a system to provide immediate background checks.
99 Medical Marijuana: We support the regulated sale, possession and use of marijuana for medical purposes.
100 Electoral Processes
101 Public Funding of Elections: We support public financing of political campaigns, and laws that promote open and fair debate of issues in the public forum. Since artificial entities with large financial resources have shown an ability, through lobbyists, large campaign contributions, and other forms of legal bribery, to dictate government policy and the laws and regulations enacted by government officials, we believe that only individual citizens should be permitted to make campaign contributions to candidates and political parties. We believe that elections should be publicly funded. Since the airwaves belong to the public, all licensed broadcasters should be required, as part of their privilege of using public airwaves, to provide free air time to all public candidates and to carry political advertisements for candidates at low rates.
102 Funding of Judicial Races: We believe that in order to protect the integrity of the courts, all judicial elections should be publicly funded. Lawyers who appear before a judicial candidate or appear before the court for which a candidate is running for election as judge should not be permitted to make campaign contributions to that candidate.
103 Integrity of Judicial Appointees: No appointments to judicial positions, especially the United State Supreme Court, should be approved unless the candidate has a clear record demonstrating his or her willingness to put aside personal political and religious convictions, and to rule on the basis of sound legal principles based on a thorough knowledge of the law. If a candidate does not fully meet these criteria, the appointment must be denied and opposed by all possible means, including filibuster.
104 Empowering the Federal Election Commission: Both major political parties have violated campaign finance laws, partly because the Federal Election Commission has been prohibited from routinely auditing parties and because of the appointment of strongly partisan members to the commission. The Federal Election Commission must be depoliticized and must be given broad powers to investigate fund-raising activities of political parties, the manner in which money is obtained, collected, and used, and it must have broad powers to ensure that the intent of the law is carried out.
105 Disclosure of Lobbyists' Expenditures and Campaign Contributions: We support strict regulations on lobbying that include immediate and complete disclosure on the internet of all expenditures, gifts and contributions by lobbyists. All campaign contributions of any kind to members of Congress and the State Legislators should also be posted immediately on the internet.
106 Support for Strengthening Internal Revenue Service Section 527: We support strengthening Section 527 of the Internal Revenue Service's disclosure and enforcement rules and the enactment of additional legislation prohibiting candidates for federal office from soliciting, coordinating or receiving campaign funding with Section 527 "stealth PACs."
107 Election Reform: The Democratic Party should lead the effort to thoroughly review registration and voting practices throughout the U.S. and institute, with federal funding where needed, new policies, regulations and technology. Until such time as all states have adopted voting by mail, election day should be made a national holiday to increase voter participation.
108 Secure Voting Systems: Our individual votes are the lifeblood of our democracy. We support voting systems whose accuracy can be internally verified and that provide paper ballots for verification
109 National Presidential Primary: We support a national primary day on which all states hold their presidential primaries.
110 Eliminate the Electoral College: We support the election of the president by popular vote and the elimination of the federal Electoral College.
111 ECONOMIC JUSTICE AND LABOR
112 The Dignity of Labor: We believe in the dignity of labor and that working people are the backbone of our nation’s economy.
113 Worker’s Benefits: We believe that worker’s benefits should be provided on a pro-rated basis for all employees, including part-time and temporary worker, in both the public and private sectors.
114 Employment and the Workplace: We believe our nation’s goal should be full employment. We strongly support the right of workers to organize, bargain collectively, and strike in order to obtain fair compensation for their labor and safe working conditions, without fear of reprisal or replacement. We support full funding and staffing for OSHA and state agencies and the power to enforce the right of workers to a safe and healthy workplace.
115 Right to a Living Wage: We believe that a living family wage strengthens the family and the social and economic vitality of the community and we support laws that guarantee workers a living family wage.
116 Job Training: The relocation of manufacturing jobs outside of the United States has created a service-oriented economy with an ever widening wage gap between upper and lower economic classes. Workers in a service-oriented economy require greater skills to obtain good paying jobs. Instead of investing in programs that provide needed training for workers, corporations pressure the government to authorize the importation of skilled labor from other countries. We strongly support increased federal and state funding for employment education and training of workers in this country.
116 Protection of Retirement Funds: Congress should enact comprehensive laws to protect workers' retirement funds. We support legislation that would place a 20% cap on company stock in a company's pension plan and would prevent companies from having control over stock in their employee's pension funds.
117 Overtime Pay: We oppose laws that will prevent workers from receiving overtime pay when they work over 10 hours on any day or over 40 hours in any week.
118 FOREIGN POLICY
119 Condemnation of the Invasion of Iraq: We believe the invasion of Iraq by the United States was unlawful and was not in our national interest. The Bush administration used the fear and chaos generated by the events of 9/11 as a cover and excuse for carrying out a political agenda that included the invasion of a sovereign nation that neither posed an immediate threat to the United States and our allies nor supported terrorist actions against us. The invasion of Iraq has caused the death of thousands of innocent people, including our soldiers. Because our national resources are being sent to Iraq we lack the resources to protect our country from terrorism and to pay for the basic needs of our citizens. While we strongly condemn this invasion, we support the men and women of our armed forces who have been placed in harm’s way by our government.
120 Global Trade: The WTO must be subject to public scrutiny at all stages and open to public input. Negotiations and decisions must accommodate related worker rights and environmental concerns and accords.
121 Trade Agreements: We do not support international trade agreements such as NAFTA and GATT as they are presently written. We have seen that such agreements are negotiated in secret with terms and conditions dictated by corporate representatives. Such agreements contain "takings" clauses (such as NAFTA's chapter 11) that permit corporations to sue sovereign nations for passing environmental and other laws or regulations that may adversely affect corporate profits. Such agreements threaten the constitutional power of Congress and state legislatures and place ultimate power in the hands of administrative boards with no accountability to the public. No international agreement should prevent sovereign nations, states and communities from establishing more stringent standards to protect health, safety, and environment. We also believe the Trade Promotion Authority, known as fast Track" should be rejected. All trade agreements should be required to incorporate international wage and basic environmental standards.
122 United Nations: We believe the United States should immediately pay its UN dues in full.
123 Recognition of International Tribunals: We believe the United States should support international tribunals and should abide by decisions of the World Court.
124 Nuclear Disarmament: We must pass the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty at once. During this brief period, before many other nations develop a nuclear capability, we have an historic opportunity to rid the world of all nuclear weapons. We must start the process of achieving universal nuclear disarmament and a permanent ban on all nuclear weapons.
125 End Development of Tactical Nuclear Weapons: We oppose the development of tactical nuclear weapons, such as "bunker busters"
126 Adopt the Anti-personnel Land Mine Treaty: The United States should adopt and support the international anti-personnel mine treaty.
127 End Support for Repressive Regimes: We believe that this nation should not support regimes that repress the freedom of their people or make war upon their neighbors. Our international political, economic, trade and other agreements with other nations should be tied to their human rights policies and should be subject to Congressional scrutiny.
128 Improvement of Relations with Muslim Nations: We support a policy of cooperation with Muslim nations with education and support for economic development as a means of eliminating terrorist activities.
129 Increase Foreign Aid: A massive non-military foreign aid program should be supported and funded by the United States and its allies to end the suffering of people in the third world, by assisting countries in developing public health and school systems, population control and economic programs to meet the needs of their citizens.
130 Forgive Third World Debt: Because the staggering third world debt is causing great human suffering and destruction of national economies, foreign aid must assist third world nations in retiring this burdensome debt, rather than continuing to force "structural adjustments" upon them as dictated by the IMF and World Bank. Loans should be conditioned on the adoption and implementation of laws and policies that protect human rights, workers' rights, and the environment.
131 Expand the Peace Corps: The United States should expand the Peace Corps in its effort to assist third world countries.
132 Worldwide Education and Child Nutrition: Feeding and educating needy children around the world could be done for $6 billion a year over what the UN currently spends, and an appropriate share for the U.S. would be $1.5 billion a year. This would not only address the children's food needs, but would encourage them to attend school. It's not only humanitarian, it's a positive start to making the world safer for everyone.
133 End Limitations on Foreign Aid: We oppose policies, rules and regulations that prohibit or in any way limit assistance and funding to any government or other agency or entity on the grounds that the recipient supports or provides birth control, education about birth control, or abortions.
134 Support for Family Planning: We urge the U.S. government to take a leadership role in promoting and financially supporting family planning and birth control worldwide and a woman’s right to choose.
135 Improve Relations with Russia: We are in danger of alienating Russia and losing the opportunity to form a strong and healthy alliance with that county. We encourage foreign policies that assist Russia and its former republics in forming more open and democratic political systems and more viable economic systems. We should not impose tariffs on Russian products, we should not expand our military presence so as to encircle Russia, and we should not abandon the ABM treaty.
136 Normalization of Relations with Cuba: The United States should take immediate steps to end the economic blockade and restrictions on travel to Cuba, and should normalize relations with Cuba.
137 Water Supplies Should Not Be Privatized: We believe that water is a natural resource that belongs to the people, that people have the right to access to clean water. We oppose the privatization of water resources.
138 No Unauthorized Pre-emptive Wars: We oppose preemptive war except when sanctioned by the UN or when the threat to a country is so imminent, immediate and substantial that there is no clear choice but to attack.
139 Endorsement of SMART: We call on all Democratic Party Candidates to endorse a SMART [Sensible Multilateral American Response to Terrorism] by (1) Strengthening international institutions and cooperative diplomacy to prevent acts of terrorism and resolve international conflicts, (2) Reducing the threat of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction by renouncing the development of new nuclear weapons and by strengthening international disarmament treaties; and (3) Eliminating wasteful military spending and using those resources to fund programs that provide adequate international peacekeeping and redevelopment, strengthen local emergency responders (such as fire, police and public health departments), and meet urgent domestic needs such as health care, jobs and education.
140 CRIME AND PRISONERS
141Moratorium for the Death Penalty: In recent years, the convictions of many death row prisoners have been reversed due to the later development of exculpatory evidence, provided in many cases by DNA testing. Because of grave concerns generated by the number of people who have been sentenced to die that have subsequently been shown to be innocent, we propose a moratorium on the execution of defendants in order to examine the death penalty and how it is applied in this country.
142 Drug Policy: Drug abuse is a major problem in our county and in our nation. It is the demand for drugs that drives the drug trade. Since billions of tax dollars spent on the "War against drugs" have failed to reduce the demand for drugs and the supply of drugs, alternative approaches and policies should be pursued to eliminate the demand for drugs, such as providing treatment and addressing the social issues that create that demand.
143 Judicial Discretion in Drugs Cases: Because of the large number of persons incarcerated for long periods of time for nonviolent drug offenses, and the need to conserve resources for violent offenders, sentencing laws should allow judges to have greater discretion in punishing nonviolent drug offenders.
144 Education for Prisoners: Since recidivism among prisoners who graduate from college while in prison is greatly reduced, while the expense to society of housing prisoners is great, we support funding continuing education and college education programs for state and federal prisoners.
145 Rights of "Enemy Combatants" We believe that all prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay, including those designated "enemy combatants," should be permitted to have representation of counsel and access to courts to challenge the legality and conditions of their custody and incarceration.