Platform

2018 THURSTON COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PLATFORM

Adopted April 22, 2018 at the Thurston County Convention

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PREAMBLE

We, the Thurston County Democratic Party, believe that all powers to govern reside with the people. We are committed to be a party open to all who represent our values and principles, regardless of political affiliation. We strive for maximum participation in the political process, and the defense of civil liberties, human rights, and democratic decision making at all levels.

Thurston County Democrats, as citizens of the planet, adopt this platform as a call to address the challenges that humanity faces, including global climate change, war, poverty, and racial, social and economic injustice. These challenges require systemic solutions and a concerted rethinking of how we view our community, our world, and our role and place in each.

We need to treat ourselves, each other, and our planet with better care, wonder, respect, and dignity.  We must hold the well-being of all people, especially those marginalized by our current institutions, as our highest priority. Our actions must reflect a sense of stewardship that defines and preserves our cherished values.

We believe in the value of civil political dialogue and recognize our diversity as our strength. We will engage in courageous and crucial conversations with all people, especially those with whom we might disagree, in order to find the comprehensive solutions required to cooperatively address systemic problems.

We adopt this platform as a challenge, a responsibility, and an opportunity to ask ourselves: What can I do, with others in our community, to make our world a better place for ourselves and future generations, even though the outcome is not assured, and the way forward is not always clear or easy? We recognize that our persistence will be rewarded.

EARTH & ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE

We live in a region of great beauty and immense biological diversity that we must protect. The well-being of present and future generations unquestionably depends on the protection and restoration of interconnected natural systems essential to preserve and sustain ecosystem health. This principle shall be paramount in any policies that affect the quality of our living environment.

We all must be responsible stewards of the environment, from local communities, extending to our entire planet. We must proactively address climate change as a crisis that falls most heavily on our disempowered communities at home and abroad. All people, including future generations, have the right to clean air, water, healthy food, and enjoyment of a healthy and pleasant natural environment.

We support the restoration and protection of native wildlife and fish habitat, especially threatened and endangered species, and humane treatment of all animals.

We support retention of federal public lands and recognize their strong contributions to our recreation industries and our quality of life, jobs, and local economies, especially adjoining our rural communities.

We recognize the interrelated nature of environmental deterioration and the racial, class and economic injustices experienced by vulnerable communities. We support broad outreach programs when making decisions concerning the quality of the environment to avoid additional harm to such communities.

We support local, sustainable food production to reduce harmful chemical contamination of our food supply, protect soil health, sequester carbon, reduce adverse climate impacts, and promote diversified rural economies.

We support energy conservation and an immediate transition away from carbon-based energy dependency, toward more environmentally sound renewable energy use.

We support a tax on carbon, and investment in research, development, and job creation in green technologies and infrastructure, including more efficient transportation.

We support a ban of all fracking within the State of Washington and elsewhere, and oppose transportation of materials used for fracking through the Port of Olympia.

We expect our government at all levels to fully enforce laws to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable, and oppose opening public lands to carbon or nuclear fuel production. We call for inclusion of methane and carbon dioxide emissions in Environmental Impact Statements.

We support efforts to halt the unsafe transportation of coal and oil through any communities. We support the Puyallup Tribe in opposition to construction of a Liquified Natural Gas plant at the Port of Tacoma.

We must address the impacts of climate change immediately. We must confront the threat of Sea Level Rise in a way that considers fair distribution of the costs and the hazards. Policies should be based on best available science, and reduce risk for the whole community. The impact of climate change on LOTT should be decoupled from the Olympia Sea Level Rise Response Plan, and addressed independently as a whole waste and stormwater system. The county and all municipalities should develop effective and adequate Climate Change Response Plans that address all aspects of climate change, and require consideration of climate at the end life of projects, not just the time of construction.

We expect our government at all levels to fully enforce toxic waste reduction and the principle that polluters should pay for cleanup. Delays and funding diversions, including the use of tax exemptions and loopholes by polluters, perpetuate harm to adversely affected communities. We support full funding for regulators to be able to monitor compliance and carry out enforcement actions.

Hanford is the largest Superfund site in the nation. We call for aggressive safe cleanup of nuclear waste at Hanford that is protective of workers, restores the Columbia River shoreline to safe unrestricted use, respects treaty rights, and secures liquid waste held in the aging and failing tank farms.

We support the use of natural climate adaptation strategies such as habitat protection, healthy forest cover, and wetland, estuary, and riparian restoration. We support removal of the Deschutes dam and daylighting culverted salmon streams as necessary actions to prevent the collapse of the web of life in the South Salish Sea. We support full enforcement of Critical Area ordinances, and oppose new construction that destroys or endangers critical habitat or its restoration.

We support full access for women and girls worldwide to education, comprehensive health care including reproductive health, and political equality as essential to the environmental wellbeing of our planet.

We support elevated awareness and funding for environmental and sustainability education regarding individual and collective changes required to preserve the health and livability of our planet for future generations.

GLOBAL RELATIONS

The United States should lead by example and work within the world community in a spirit of peace, cooperation, generosity, and mutual respect to support human welfare, freedom, democracy, and justice.

We agree with the views of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”  We oppose injustice, and choose to put peace building, and fostering self-determination at the center of our foreign policy.

We must stop conducting unilateral and preemptive war. We must make diplomacy and nonviolent conflict resolution the primary organizing principle of our foreign policy. Military action will not effectively address the poverty, oppression, corruption, and scarcity of resources that breed violence.

We call for the repeal of the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force which the executive branch has used to justify nearly unchecked power to engage in military interventions, indefinite detention, and use of lethal force.

We insist that any military action we engage in has clear goals, is limited in scope, includes a clear exit strategy, and is based on an immediate and credible threat to the citizens of our country.

We support elimination of unnecessary and redundant military programs and weapons.

We call for provision of military aid only to those nations that prioritize and protect human and civil rights, and comply with U.S. foreign military assistance laws, and international laws and conventions.

We support expansion of our global influence through fair trade based on sound principles that include rights of indigenous people, labor rights, sustainable environmental practices, humanitarian and economic assistance, insistence on the rule of law, and adherence to the principles of universal human rights.

We oppose international trade agreements that undermine national sovereignty and a country’s ability to enact laws that protect the environment and ensure worker rights, safety, and livable wages.

We support a diplomatic approach to the Syrian conflict that acknowledges the strategic concerns of all states in the region. War will continue until these concerns are addressed honestly and realistically. In order to support peace initiatives as an honest broker, the United States must stop participating in proxy wars in the region, either directly or through allies.

We oppose the U.S. involvement in the bombing campaign of Yemen by Saudi Arabia.

We support the diplomatic success of the 2015 Iran Nuclear Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as a model for using non-violent engagement to de-escalate tensions and pursue negotiated resolutions to international conflicts.

We oppose slavery and the sale of products related to forced labor.

We call for the immediate closure of Guantanamo Bay, and the abolition of the use of torture and indefinite detention. We insist on adherence to the Geneva Conventions.

We call for cooperative and fully funded participation in the United Nations International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court.

We support the principle of self-determination and call for our government to withdraw support to nations that commit acts of ethnic cleansing and authoritarian suppression and persecution of ethnic and religious minorities.

We support equal human rights for Palestinians and Israelis, including the right of return of Palestinian refugees or just compensation for the loss of their land and their homes.

We affirm our commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as it applies to all people, recognizing the United State is a signatory and is therefore responsible to uphold and sustain these rights in both its domestic and international affairs.

We support the protection of the time-honored right to exercise freedom of speech through Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS), a strategy currently employed at the grassroots level to challenge the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and the decades-long failure of governments to realize peace with justice for all people of Israel and Palestine.

We support opening our country to migrants fleeing violence and persecution in their homelands, regardless of region or country of origin.

We support all non-proliferation treaties and elimination of all nuclear weapons.  

We support reform of the contracting practices of the military to ensure effective U.S. government control, with contracts awarded based on fair and competitive bidding, with preference given to U.S. companies.

We support fully funded non-privatized Veterans Affairs services to provide all veterans with full, timely, no-cost treatment at local military or VA medical facilities; retraining for those who are disabled; and active outreach to provide access to housing and services for homeless veterans.

We call for environmental cleanup, and justice for communities impacted by the development, deployment, and use of land mines and nuclear, biological, and chemical weapon systems.

We call for effective and more transparent legal oversight of our intelligence and law enforcement agencies, to ensure that our basic freedoms are not sacrificed.

TRIBAL RELATIONS AND SOVEREIGNTY

We acknowledge that we reside on occupied lands of the indigenous peoples of this region. We acknowledge that Indigenous people are still recovering from the historical trauma caused by colonization of ancestral lands, and affirm our commitment to the inherent sovereign rights of American Indian tribes and federal trust responsibility to Native peoples. In order to maintain a lasting and respectful relationship with Tribal Nations, we oppose all attempts to diminish tribal sovereignty, tribal culture, tribal natural resources, or the general welfare of tribes. We also recognize the growing Urban American Indian/Alaskan Native populations and the Federal Trust responsibility extends beyond Tribal Reservation borders.

We recognize that all Treaties signed under the authority of the United States are the supreme law of the land.

We call for upholding the Treaties, Executive Orders, and Agreements made between Tribal Nations and the Federal Government, which secured specific rights and privileges to sustain the future of Tribal Nations.

We call for upholding the principles of Indian Self-Determination throughout State government. We commit ourselves and call upon all levels of government to respect American Indian nations in their right to self-determination, and we oppose attempts to diminish tribal sovereignty, treaty rights, and culture.

Establishing and maintaining a meaningful government-to-government relationship with tribes includes consulting with tribes prior to proposing or supporting legislation or policies that impact Tribal Nations.

We support increased appointment of tribal members to state boards and commissions in order to provide an equitable and fair representation in these policy- and decision-making entities.

We support the rights of tribes to regulate and manage their own natural resources, including the right to hunt, fish and gather in their traditional accustomed places.

We call for fully engaging and including tribes in discussions and actions regarding climate change and water appropriation.

SOCIAL REFORM

We recognize that a strong, healthy society must incorporate basic rights, including guaranteed healthcare for all, social safety nets, educational opportunities and immigration reform. We call for action which will secure these rights for all members of our community.

Health Care 

We believe that quality healthcare is a basic human right, and as such, we support a government-managed, single-payer healthcare system at the state and federal level, such as: Medicare-for-all and Whole Washington (I-1600). We oppose all efforts to roll back improvements that have been achieved through the 2010 Affordable Care Act unless they are part of a transition to a universal single-payer healthcare system.

We oppose taxpayer-funded government subsidies to private for-profit health insurance companies.

We believe that mental health and substance use are legitimate medical concerns deserving of fully-funded treatment, rather than criminalization.

We believe that the practices of drug companies that profit from human suffering run counter to our Democratic values of equitable healthcare for all.

We believe that all people have a right to make their own healthcare related decisions as part of bodily autonomy and all people deserve access to high-quality and affordable reproductive and sexual healthcare.

We acknowledge that recognition of gender identity saves lives, and that access to gender-affirming care is a right regardless of income.

We believe that all people who may become pregnant have the right to decide whether and when to become pregnant and that they have the right to terminate that pregnancy. We also believe in supporting healthy pregnancy care and family planning.

Social Safety Net 

We believe that government has the duty to create and expand programs and dismantle existing systemic barriers to alleviate poverty and enable everyone to enjoy a dignified quality of life.

We support increased funding and resources to address homelessness and support programs which provide assistance for homeless individuals.

We believe that elected officials must support the non-privatized expansion and preservation of both social security benefits and retirement/pension plans.

We believe in systemic changes recognizing that persons with disabilities and their family members should receive protections and assistance in making their own healthcare related decisions, including methods of receiving care.

Education 

Democracy thrives only if we have a free, universal public school system that is safe, supportive and fair to all.

We support funding our public schools fully and equitably and to providing teachers and students the resources they need to succeed. We support policies that end the school-to-prison pipeline, and close achievement and opportunity gaps, provide effective oversight of pre-K-12 schools, provide public access to high-speed internet, and ensure all students have the opportunity to meet career goals.

School funding and educator pay must be independent of student testing outcomes.

We support programs to provide student access to healthy foods, and oppose commercial marketing in our schools.

We support strong programs of diversity, inclusion, and equity education and initiatives in our public schools that includes administrators, school staff, school boards, and students at all grade levels with their families, caregivers, and other community members.

We believe that publicly-funded, pre-kindergarten through secondary, and post-secondary education is a right and a fundamental investment in our nation’s future, and should not be dependent upon one’s economic station in life.

We support public efforts aimed at relieving students from educational debt. We support the forgiveness of student loan debts.

We oppose voucher programs and charter schools.

We oppose high stakes testing in our public schools, and their use in making major education decisions, including their use as a high school graduation requirement, in teacher evaluations, and in punitive measures take against schools.

We support publicly-funded childcare.

Immigration Reform 

We believe that we are a nation of immigrants and that the United States needs to create an immigration system that provides a path to citizenship for all immigrants.

We oppose the deportation of any individuals brought to this country as young children, or seeking refuge from poverty and war, and we oppose the breaking up of families by deporting the undocumented parents of U.S.-born children.

Family reunification should continue to be the foundation of our legal immigration system, and we should offer more English-language and civic education classes so immigrants can better assume the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.

We believe that no human being is illegal and advocate for the abolition of Immigration & Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.).

HUMAN RIGHTS

Our nation must acknowledge and address the systemic and structural racism, classism, and other forms of oppression woven throughout its political, economic, and cultural history, and that persists to this day.

We believe that we as a society have a responsibility for, and a collective self-interest in, identifying, challenging, and eradicating the underlying conditions that give rise to the glaring inequalities around us.  

We call for courageous conversations as part of a community-wide discourse to understand and seek to address the continuing manifestations of these conditions in our nation, our state and our local communities.

We concur with the United Nations determination that America owes reparations to the indigenous nations whose lands we have occupied and peoples and cultures our nation has sought to destroy, and to the descendants of the slaves who built our country.

Human Rights for Groups and Individuals

We respect and value all people, actively oppose all forms of discrimination, and believe that our society will be stronger when we are able to honor each other by recognizing our shared humanity.

We believe a society benefits when its richly diverse cultural heritage and experience are affirmed and celebrated and when all of its members are able to observe, participate in, and be fully represented in its private and public institutions, including its elective bodies.

We support policies that will strengthen all who reside here by affirming the value of all individuals. We support eliminating the systemic conditions that perpetuate inequality, oppression, and lack of equitable access to opportunities.

We call for civic organizations, including schools, government bodies, and community organizations to expand on efforts for discussing and creating action plans to address our nation’s history of slavery, white supremacy, colonialism, and genocide.

We affirm that all people in this country, regardless of their citizenship status, are entitled to the civil liberties in the Bill of Rights.

We support protections for privacy and security of all people. We honor the principles of habeas-corpus.

Human Rights in Criminal Justice

We demand training for law enforcement and corrections officers to respect the sanctity of life and prioritize de-escalation techniques, implicit bias training, and how to serve more appropriately people with mental health issues.

We acknowledge that law enforcement is a difficult job, and strive to support their efforts to be fair and safe in all situations they encounter.

We believe police forces should be demilitarized and held accountable for the improper use of deadly force and call for more training in the use of tasers, which are considered non-lethal but have caused deaths.

We support laws that would require more public and open process for investigation into incidents of assault and deaths involving police officers, to assure accountability in instances where there is unnecessary force used by law enforcement.

We support efforts to improve community-police relations by exploring strategies to provide citizen oversight and review of situations where human and civil rights, and civil liberties concerns arise regarding police practices.

We call for immediate and comprehensive action to end the disproportionately high imprisonment of young African American, Latino, and Native American wo/men, and to reduce incarceration rate of the United States which is the highest in the world.

We support criminal justice policies and programs that prioritize restorative justice and rehabilitation, with a focus on education and occupational training, over punitive measures.

We want prisons out of the private sector. There should be no opportunity for profiteering in our criminal justice system.

We believe that all ex-offenders should be provided with the opportunity to re-enter and be productive members of society, including reinstating their voting rights.

We oppose capital punishment for any reason.

We support the students throughout the nation who have marched for their lives and called for effective gun safety policies including universal comprehensive background checks, an effective database system, a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines, and funding for public research on gun violence. We support the adoption of additional gun safety policies that research shows will improve public safety. We further call for prohibiting domestic abusers from obtaining firearms.

We acknowledge the racist history of gun control legislation and the inequality of implementation of criminal law in respect to marginalized peoples, including Indigenous, African American, Hispanic/Latino, LGBTQA, Disabled and Houseless people.  We demand that further policy decisions regarding criminal law and its implementation center the voices of those communities who have suffered the most from police related gun violence.

We support the reinstatement of parole and early release for non-violent drug and property crimes.

POLITICAL AND ELECTORAL REFORM

Our society today is experiencing a crisis of confidence in our governmental institutions, and even in our ability to govern ourselves. The influence wielded today by individuals and corporations with great wealth and power have undermined the health of our economy and threaten our democracy.

We must remember that our government derives its legitimacy solely from the people and must answer to them. Government is the people’s instrument to achieve collectively what we cannot achieve individually. We are committed to a democracy that encourages maximum active participation and a voting process that is fair, transparent, verifiable, open to all citizens, and that restores our confidence in government.

We demand that our three branches of government obey and actively enforces the Constitution of the United States, which they swore to uphold.

We support overturning Citizens United which allows unlimited sums of money to be funneled into electoral politics, thereby decreasing public confidence in our political system by causing politicians to represent corporate interests over those of the people. We oppose the Supreme Court’s decision that corporations are persons and money equates to speech.

We support legislation to protect the integrity and transparency of federal elections by establishing disclosure requirements for all contributions. We oppose any legislation that would offer new avenues for unaccountable money to enter the political system.

We support public funding of elections to promote a more accessible and even playing field where all Americans can powerfully participate.

We support elimination of all forms of voter suppression and believe that government has a responsibility to make voting trouble-free.

We support all efforts to increase voter participation and confidence in our electoral system, including significant changes in the structures and processes of electing our representatives.

We oppose all attempts to suppress the right of any person to engage in active, lawful, political participation at any stage in the process, from supporting any candidate or issue of their choice, through threats either economic or physical.

We support a nationwide system of verifying votes such as paper ballots.

We support proactive and creative regulation of social media platforms aimed at the protection of the integrity of our society’s free exchange of information and ideas. We oppose undermining, infiltration, or manipulation of our shared web commons, and call for committed action by strategic actors to protect against technological interference in our democracy by destabilizing forces, foreign and domestic.

ECONOMIC JUSTICE & LABOR

All workers, at home and abroad, must have the right to organize and collectively negotiate their pay, benefits, organizational structure and working conditions. Organized labor is essential to the social, economic, and political health of our democracy. We believe that the monumental income and wealth gap harms the well-being of our country and has led to widespread cynicism, anger, poverty, and social instability.

We support policies to redress growing income and wealth inequality in our country, and ending policies that subsidize the rich at the expense of the poor and middle class and those that criminalize poverty and human survival.

We support public policies that encourage ecologically and environmentally responsible job growth within the United States.

We oppose laws, regulations, and exemptions that permit corporations and banks to avoid paying their fair share of taxes by such means as offshore tax havens and inversions.

We support the right of all workers to unionize and bargain collectively, including the right to strike, without fear of intimidation or retaliation. Workers may pursue their right to collectively and democratically organize their places and agencies of employment. We specifically do not support so-called “Right-to-Work” laws.

We support the expansion and full funding of legislation that provides oversight and stringent regulation of financial institutions in order to prevent, and to hold accountable those who cause or will profit from, future economic collapses such as the devastating recession of 2008.

We believe that public investment in the repair and expansion of our nation’s infrastructure will create high-paying jobs, support a skilled workforce for the future, help restore the middle class and is needed for the well-being of our nation.

We demand that all workers be paid a living wage that is above the poverty line and keeps pace with local increases in costs of living.

We support paid family leave for all, promoting a higher quality of life for families.

We support equal pay for work of equal value.

We support the restoration of and adherence to automatic Cost of Living Adjustments (C.O.L.A.) for retired public employees.

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