Our 2016 Platform
The following was adopted as the platform of the 45th District Democrats at our legislative district caucus on April 17, 2016, at Juanita High School in Kirkland, Washington.
We, the 45th District Democrats, believe through broad participation and access to information, people who live in the 45th Legislative District can sustain good government and a healthy, vibrant community.
We are 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 people.
We value the publicly-owned 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 best available science.
We seek economic policies that are just, sustainable, and responsible. Our communities benefit from fair trade and jobs that pay a living wage.
- 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- Replacement of our state’s outdated and regressive tax structure with a fairer, more equitable system that is based on ability to pay;
- 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;
We oppose harmful trade pacts drafted in secret by corporate lawyers and lobbyists. We call upon Congress to reject the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Public Safety and Access to Justice
Law enforcement and our court system should emphasize prevention, restorative justice and rehabilitation. Incarceration alone will not keep our families and communities safe.
- A fair and fully funded justice system that does not put unjust fees on the backs of those on whom we currently load excessive court fees;
- An end to mass incarceration, systemic racism, and the militarization of our police forces;
- Abolition of the death penalty at the state and federal level.
We must respect the web of life, of which we are a part, and preserve it for future generations. 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, water, and soil clean.
- Policies such as Initiative 937 to develop renewable energy sources, including solar, wind, tidal, and geothermal, and reduce our energy needs through conservation;
- Tougher energy standards and 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.
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.
- 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.
We believe a free, universal public school system is the backbone of our democratic society. High-quality preschool should be universal and available to every child, and a tuition-free college education should be available to everyone in our state and our country.
- 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;
- Smaller class sizes for grades four through twelve, and increased pay for our hardworking public school teachers;
- Robust school curricula that includes civics, arts, social sciences, physical education, and vocational education in addition to STEM subjects.
We oppose charter schools and call on the Washington State Legislature to honor the Supreme Court’s ruling on League of Women Voters v. State of Washington, holding that charter schools are unconstitutional.
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.
- Efforts to protect human rights and the environment abroad through international organizations such as the United Nations;
- Increased funding for the Peace Corps, USAID, and the World Health Organization, to enable international development and build goodwill towards the United States of America;
- Greater collaboration with other nations on pressing issues such as implementation of the 2015 Paris climate accord, 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.
- Establishing a right to vote in the United States Constitution and implementing automatic and same-day voter registration throughout Washington State;
- Adding prepaid postage to return ballot envelopes without jeopardizing Washington voters’ ability to mail back a ballot as late as Election Day;
- Rigorous national standards for conducting elections that provide for sufficient polling places and drop boxes in all states, as well as a verifiable paper trail to facilitate audits and enable manual hand recounts of ballots.
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. Elected officials should strive to represent the will of their constituents.
- 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.
We believe healthcare is a basic human right, and we as a people must recognize we have a mutual responsibility to ensure accessible, timely and affordable quality healthcare for all.
- Continued implementation of the Patient Protection Act signed into law by President Obama;
- Expanding Medicare and Medicaid to all Americans;
- Allowing the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services to negotiate prices for medical devices and drugs, and allowing the Centers for Disease Control and National Institutes of Health to research the causes of gun violence.
We oppose Republican schemes to privatize or voucherize Medicare and Social Security.
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.
- A woman’s right to make her own reproductive health decisions;
- Public awareness campaigns and improved school curricula to educate everyone about the historic significance of slavery and our obligations to the sovereign Native American nations within our borders;
- Full equality for LGBT individuals, including the freedom to marry.
Immigrants strengthen America. Immigrants should be treated humanely and afforded a fair, safe, and timely path to legal status and citizenship. Immigration policy should be enforced by the federal government, not local police agencies, vigilantes, or private militia groups.
- Sensible policies for border management that respect the constitutional rights and civil liberties of all Americans and guests of the United States;
- Acceptance of asylum seekers and refugees from war-torn regions of the world;
- Comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level that provides a pathway to citizenship for new Americans, including enactment of the federal-level DREAM Act.
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.
- Paid sick leave, paid family leave, paid safe leave, and paid vacation leave for working men and women;
- Policies such as the federal Paycheck Fairness Act to close the gender pay gap;
- Access to vocational training and job readiness resources.
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.
- 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, libraries, 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 healthcare for all.
- Policies to ensure that no veteran is without a home;
- 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) or traumatic brain injury (TBI).
A nation that aspires to be a more perfect union should ensure that each of its citizens has a place to call home. As a people, we have a responsibility to take care of each other. As a society, we must provide housing for those without shelter or who cannot work, especially those with mental health issues (including chemical dependency).
- A rapid rehousing policy for families who need help to maintain school and community ties while finding new homes;
- Shelters as a transition to permanent housing;
- Robust workforce housing programs, especially those targeting workers earning between minimum wage (approximately 30% of Area Median Income, or AMI) and a living wage (60% of AMI).
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.
- Expansion of Sound Transit’s Link light rail system and express/local bus service in the greater Puget Sound region, including the 45th Legislative District;
- Increased funding to support maintenance and repair of our neglected rural roads and bridges, particularly in east King County;
- Enhancing our parks and recreation system with the construction of modern pools and community gathering places.
We call on the Washington State Legislature to work cooperatively with city and county governments to ensure they have the resources they need to serve the people of our state (including the Municipal Resources Services Center), and repeal draconian right wing initiatives that artificially inhibit revenue, like Tim Eyman’s I-747.