Our 2014 Platform

The following was adopted as the platform of the 45th District Democrats at the 45th’s 2014 legislative district caucus on March 9, 2014, at Redmond Middle School.

We, the 45th District Democrats, believe through broad participation and access to information, people who live in the 45th LD can sustain good government and a healthy, vibrant community.

We pledge ourselves to being the party of the people. We cherish our American heritage of opportunity and inclusion. We pledge ourselves to justice, equality and compassion for all and commit ourselves to government that serves and protects all its people, and to protecting that which is the commons.

We value the commons and seek to build community, drawing our citizens together in neighborhood and regional groups to solve problems based on shared leadership, common interests and resources.

Economic and Social Justice

We seek economic policies that are just, sustainable, and responsible to the community. Fair trade and keeping good jobs in our community is our goal.

We support:

  • Adoption of a plan to address our state and our nation’s infrastructure deficit by investing in a more modern electric grid, seismically safe bridges, mass transit, and other critical infrastructure;
  • Replacement of our state’s outdated and regressive tax structure with a fairer, more equitable system that is based on ability to pay;
  • Collective bargaining rights for our working men and women in all industries.

Environmental Protection

We believe our wellbeing and very survival depend on clean air, clean water, and sustainable ecosystems. Environmental protections strengthen our economy. We must respect the web of life, of which we are a part, and preserve it for future generations. We believe urgent action is needed now to combat the climate crisis, preserve the majesty and grandeur of our wild places, protect endangered ecosystems, and keep our air and water clean.

We support:

  • Policies to develop renewable energy sources, including solar, wind, tidal, and geothermal, and reduce our energy needs through conservation;
  • Stronger pollution penalties for violation of our state and federal environmental regulations, such as the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act;
  • An end to exports of dirty fossil fuels to other countries and the continued implementation of the voter-approved Initiative 937, requiring utilities to buy a certain amount of renewable power.

Agriculture

We are committed to policy directions that recognize and support farmers as the stewards of our state and nation’s precious agricultural lands. We must preserve family farms, strengthen rural communities, ensure the availability of high-quality food, and maintain the viability of the land. Sustainable agriculture that includes crop diversity and conservation, and environmental efforts that preserve agricultural land and natural resources, are critical to the viability of food, fuel, and forest production into the future.

We support:

  • Mandatory labeling of groceries that contain genetically modified ingredients;
  • Public and private efforts to protect arable farmland, such as the PCC Farmland Trust;
  • Reasonable tax credits for farmers to ensure that working family farms and orchards remain economically viable and valued by society.

Education

We believe a free, universal public school system is the backbone of our democratic society. We believe that high-quality preschool should be universal and available to every child, and that a college education should be available to every young adult in our state and our country.

We support:

  • Full and timely compliance with the Supreme Court’s McCleary decision, which holds that the Legislature is failing to uphold the state’s paramount duty to provide ample provision for the education of all children residing within Washington’s borders;
  • Restoration of Initiatives 728 and 732, providing for smaller class sizes and an annual cost of living adjustment for our state’s teachers;
  • Returning vocational education to all high schools and funding arts and social sciences in addition to science, technology, engineering, and math.

International Affairs

We believe security for America and for our world community is best attained through diplomacy and nonviolent conflict resolution. The use of military force should be a last response. As former President Bill Clinton said during his address to the 2008 Democratic National Convention, “People the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power.”

We support:

  • Efforts to protect human rights and the environment abroad through international organizations such as the United Nations;
  • Increased funding for the Peace Corps and for U.S. Aid, to enable international development and build goodwill towards the United States of America;
  • Greater collaboration with other nations on pressing issues such as nuclear proliferation, rainforest preservation, combating terrorism, and upholding human rights.

Fair and Free Elections

We are committed to a democracy that encourages maximum participation, a voting process that is fair, transparent and open to all citizens, and elections that are conducted transparently and openly.

We support:

  • Establishing a right to vote in the United States Constitution;
  • Same day voter registration to enable voters to register and participate through Election Day;
  • Rigorous national standards for conducting elections so that all states have fair elections.

Government for the people

We strive to limit the influence of money on our political processes. Campaigns should be publicly financed so that qualified citizens have an opportunity to run for office regardless of their income level or resources.

We support:

  • Amending the United States Constitution to establish that corporations are not natural persons and money is not equivalent to speech;
  • Publicly financed elections to mitigate corruption and the influence of money in politics;
  • Open data initiatives to make federal, state, and local government more transparent and accountable to the people of Washington and the people of the United States.

Healthcare

We believe health care is a basic human right, and our government should recognize its responsibility to assure accessible, timely and affordable quality healthcare for all.

We support:

  • Full implementation of the Patient Protection Act and a robust, working healthcare.gov website;
  • Preserving the promise of Medicare – we are opposed to privatizing or voucherizing Medicare;
  • Ultimately expanding Medicare and Medicaid to all Americans.

Human Rights and Civil Liberties

We believe the rights guaranteed by our Constitution and by international human rights law are at the heart of the American identity and should not be compromised for any reason. Their preservation requires our vigorous defense. We should abide by our treaty obligations to Native American tribes.

We support:

  • A woman’s right to make her own reproductive health decisions;
  • A public awareness campaign to educate everyone about our obligations to the sovereign Native American nations within our borders;
  • Full equality for LGBT individuals, including the freedom to marry.

Immigration

Immigrants strengthen America. Immigrants should be afforded full human rights and a fair, safe, and timely path to legal status and citizenship. ICE is the agency we rely on to enforce immigration law, not local police agency nor vigilante or private militia groups.

We support:

  • Sensible policies for border management that respect the constitutional rights and civil liberties of all Americans and guests of the United States;
  • Implementation of the Washington State DREAM Act;
  • Comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level that provides a pathway to citizenship for new Americans, including enactment of the federal-level DREAM Act.

Labor

We believe in the dignity of work and the right to fair wages and benefits in return. We insist on the right of all workers to join labor unions, to bargain collectively and to take part in setting their wages and working conditions. Washington State’s labor laws need to be used as the model for the United States’ national labor laws. We support legislation and policies such as the Federal Paycheck Fairness Act to close the gender pay gap.

We support:

  • Paid sick leave, paid family leave, paid safe leave, and paid vacation leave for working men and women;
  • An increase in the minimum wage so it is closer to a true living wage and continued upward annual adjustment in accordance with increases in the cost of living;
  • Access to vocational training and job readiness resources for all students.

Media Reform

An informed citizenry, a diverse free press, and equal access to the Internet are essential for democracy to flourish. Unchecked media consolidation and concentration threaten the health of our political discourse by allowing a few gatekeepers to set the agenda.

We support:

  • Stronger media ownership rules (including cross-ownership rules to prevent media monopolies) to serve as a check against media consolidation and concentration;
  • Making copies of newspapers and magazines, including alternative-weeklies and publications that cater to minorities, available in our public schools and social agencies.
  • Requiring holders of television and radio station licenses that transmit over the public airwaves to completely fulfill their community service obligations.

Taking Care of Our Veterans

All service members are entitled to equal treatment regardless of their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. Full funding of the VA budget to ensure treatment for service related mental and physical injury is an integral part of our responsibility to provide health care for all. Military recruitment in schools should take the same uniform rules as applied to all employers.

We support:

  • Policies to ensure that affordable housing is available to homeless veterans;
  • Reform of the federal Department of Veterans Affairs to end the backlog that is preventing veterans from getting the care that they need and deserve;
  • Stronger health and human services at the state and federal level to help veterans cope and heal from conditions like post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Transportation and Community Planning

We support transportation and land use policies that ensure equal opportunity and a greater quality of life for all. Decisions regarding transportation and land use should support the principles of sustainability, affordability, and safety.

We support:

  • New revenue authority for Sound Transit, so it can bring before the voters of Central Puget Sound a Sound Transit 3 ballot measure to fund Link light rail expansion and improved Express bus service;
  • Protecting King County Metro bus service from harmful service cuts;
  • Enactment of a statewide transportation package that is multimodal and takes care of our transportation needs, including the replacement of structurally deficient bridges and tunnels.

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