Platform

Garfield County 2016 Democratic Platform

… a living document. May 15, 2015

 

We recognize that the state, the nation, the world and all  it’s people, though diverse in many ways, are connected not just by commerce and communications, but in their aspirations, basic needs, and basic human rights. Therefore, we consider the Garfield County Democratic platform in the light of addressing local issues within a global context, mindful of the realities and practical considerations of our current situation.

Therefore, the Platform proposes positions and actions in the following areas:

1) CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENVIRONMENT

2) WOMEN’S RIGHTS

3) HEALTHY DEMOCRACY

4) ECONOMIC POLICY

5)   SOCIAL JUSTICE AND CIVIL LIBERTIES

6)   HEALTH CARE

7)   NATIONAL SECURITY AND FOREIGN RELATIONS

8)   IMMIGRATION

9)   EDUCATION

 

 

CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Garfield County Democrats say:

We are convinced the conclusion of 99% of qualified scientists that humans are responsible for much of current climate change is irrefutable. We recognize that human-caused global warming is a multiplier of many significant risks to the world.  We are already seeing mass species extinction, increasing drought, food insecurity, civil wars and terrorism, spread of disease, unstable destructive weather and inexorable sea level rise that will require more than just symptomatic treatment.

Therefore:

1) Globally, we support the Paris Climate Agreement.  We recognize that the sum of the promised individual national reductions is inadequate.  More aggressive action is needed.  America must accelerate it’s leadership in the rapid reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

2) Nationally, we support the EPA and the Clean Power Plan it has produced.  We support market-driven incentives such as a price on carbon pollution.  We support eliminating fossil fuel subsidies and increasing those for renewable energy. We demand the end of exemptions of extractive industries from the Clean Water Act. We support stronger CAFE standards in the automobile industry and subsidies for public transportation including high speed rail.

3)  In Colorado, we support efforts to convert as expeditiously as possible from fossil fuel energy to renewables.  We encourage incentives to individuals and communities in executing the conversion. We encourage Governor Hickenlooper to continue developing our unique Colorado plan to exceed the requirements of the EPA. We demand that Attorney General Coffman withdraw Colorado’s participation in the current lawsuit against the EPA. We support local control of oil and gas development within local boundaries as we believe the legal rights of the split estate owners cannot outweigh the health risks to surface owners or the detrimental global effects of greenhouse gas emissions to the entire world.  We demand the state fund and follow the findings of a comprehensive, independent review of the health and environmental effects of  fracking.

4)  Locally, prolonged drought and decreasing water supplies in the Colorado River Basin pose a major threat to economic drivers such as outdoor recreation and agriculture. We support land use planning which considers these coming changes.We support incentivizing energy and water conservation.  We support strict enforcement of clean air and water regulations. We support subsidies for affordable public transportation. Inevitably, our fossil fuel economy will disappear as the reality of global climate change is finally acted upon.  Therefore we support education not only about the risks of man-made pollution to the environment and climate, but for preparing our citizens to participate in the carbon-neutral economy.

 

WOMEN’S RIGHTS

Garfield County Democrats say:

Gender discrimination around the globe deserves special attention.

Therefore:

1) Globally, we condemn the consignment of women to second-tier status, including       discrimination in rights of citizenship, property, access to education, and their subjection to gender biased “justice systems” and societally approved physical abuse. We condemn the sex-slave trade and religious or ignorance-based rites and practices such as genital mutilation and marital rape. We affirm our belief that education and the liberation of women to control their lives and persons will lead to a decrease in many of the ills which plague the world.  We demand America and the world address these concerns through foreign aid, co-operative international law enforcement and aggressive diplomacy.

2) Nationally, we note major structural and explicit discrimination against women in health care, areas of education and employment, and in support as single parents.  Therefore, we demand inclusion of unique female health concerns in routine health coverage.  We demand equal pay for equal work.  We encourage the removal of outdated stereotypes in employment and education.  We support affordable day care for working Americans.  We demand a stop to sex trafficking.  We encourage support of Planned Parenthood.

3) In Colorado and locally we demand positive steps to achieve the ends above.  We demand better protection from abusive significant others, including removal of access to firearms. We encourage support of women’ shelters.  We expect the BOCC to reinstate it’s previous support for the local Planned Parenthood franchise.

 

HEALTHY DEMOCRACY

Garfield County Democrats say:  Our representative democracy is threatened by the influence of massive sums of dark money and by legislation and practices which erode the principle of equal value for each citizen’s vote.  It is also endangered by public servants whose extended tenure or incumbency becomes a disservice to the Republic.

Therefore:

1) Globally, we recognize different forms of government and respect those governments which do their best to operate within the accepted norms of sovereign nations and afford their citizens basic human rights. Nonetheless, we recognize that the autocracies and repressive regimes which exist represent a risk to international peace and stability.

2) Nationally, we support reforming the undue influence of money in our elections.  We dispute the notion that corporations are people and that money is speech. We  demand a  constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court decision in “Citizens United”. We support  campaign finance reform to eliminate or at least bring into the light the dark money used to influence our politics. We support public financing of campaigns. We demand non-partisan redistricting after the national census.  We support expansion of voting opportunities for all citizens by way of a national Voting Holiday, mail-in ballots, automatic voter registration or other means to remove obstacles to legal participation. We support eliminating the Electoral College and electing the President by popular vote.  We support term limits for elected officials and Supreme Court Justices.

3) In Colorado, we support changing the party Presidential caucuses to primaries; we want citizens eligible to vote in the general election to participate in these primaries.

4) Locally, we desire the expansion of the BOCC to 5 members, with election of representatives from within their equally apportioned districts.  We demand public accountability from county and municipal officials of their membership in or influence by closed organizations which are de-facto industry or partisan lobbying groups, such as the Association of Governments of Northwest Colorado and ALEC.

 

ECONOMIC POLICY

Garfield County Democrats say:

Skewed personal and national wealth distribution in the world is a contributor to social injustice. Structural problems with the global and U.S. financial systems were major contributors to the Great Recession; they still pose risks. The lower socio-economic tiers of American society, including the lower middle class and working poor will continue a downward drift without sensible tax reform, education reform, protective regulations, and a strong basic social safety net.

Therefore:

1) Globally, we support First World non-exploitative assistance for developing nations to produce carbon neutral economies, to promote peace among nations and to advance human rights and prosperity.  We support trade agreements which are mutually beneficial, but which protect workers’ rights and American sovereignty.

2)  Nationally, we support a livable minimum wage and/or minimum income; we support expansion of Social Security taxes to the full range of personal income; we support a progressive income tax that asks proportionally more of those who have benefitted more and which treats all income equally; we support elimination of tax shelters and tax havens which prevent payment of taxes otherwise owed to American society.  We demand protection from too-big-to-fail financial institutions and poorly regulated exotic financial instruments, by means of reserve requirements, return of Glass-Steagall requirements, and other necessary actions. We support a robust Consumer Protection Agency and demand an end to legalized usury.  We demand a nationwide upgrade of outdated, crumbling infrastructure and installation of new, clean climate, grid-protective high tech infrastructure: This will create jobs now, promote cybersecurity, help protect our coasts against inevitable sea-level rise and support the industries and jobs of the future.  We support affordable education for all, beginning in pre-K, as an essential for a robust economy.

3) In Colorado and locally, we support increasing economic diversity by encouraging companies of the future, especially clean energy and high technology, given our abundant solar and wind resources and educated workforce.  We support taking steps to bolster and protect traditional stable drivers of the economy such as tourism, recreation and agriculture from expected climate changes. We discourage prolonging the ultimate demise of fossil fuel extraction; instead we encourage discontinuation in a manner supportive of workers and communities now overly dependent upon the industry, to include occupational training.

 

SOCIAL JUSTICE AND CIVIL LIBERTIES

Garfield County Democrats say:

Social justice and civil liberties are intimately related.  Long-standing prejudices and inequalities, often based on tribal identification, have been perpetuated throughout human history.  Gross differentials based on wealth, societal advantages, fortuitous circumstances of birth and location have been somewhat moderated by the erratic development of “civilized” civilizations.  Hard-won pacts and enlightened philosophies have identified and codified certain human rights and privileges as civil liberties. However, we recognize that racial, gender and economic inequalities still plague the world, even in the United States of America. We recognize that civil liberties may come under attack when inordinate fear reigns and they are sacrificed for security.

Therefore:

1) Globally, we support institutions and actions which further the ability of all people to enjoy basic human rights to the fullest extent.  The highest principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, not the political compromises necessary for their signings, are our guideposts. We especially call for the end to genocide, to de facto slavery, to so-called honor killings and ritual genital mutilation, and to the criminalization and marginalization of the LGBT community.

2) Nationally, we support the Bill of Rights; we support equal application and protection of the laws; we support the strict separation of church and state. We contend that the Second Amendment may be constitutionally interpreted to allow certain restrictions for public health and safety. We specifically support same-sex marriage and oppose discrimination on the basis of sexuality. We call for ending the structural racial, gender, religious, and ethnic discrimination still evident in American society.   Active measures with monitoring are necessary in the criminal justice system, employment, housing, financial system, education and voting rights, to name but a few.  We call for the elimination of solely religious-based precepts from laws, activities, and decisions by government and government officials at all levels. We call for elimination of the death penalty, for elimination of solitary confinement for extended periods, and for the substitution of monitoring and rehabilitation programs for the imprisonment of non-violent drug offenders. We call for ensuring competent counsel for those who cannot afford such for themselves and for the end of  racial disparities in sentencing for essentially identical crimes. We demand adequate treatment and support for the mentally ill in appropriate facilities, rather than their imprisonment. We call for the end of for-profit prisons, as they perversely incentivize incarceration over rehabilitation.

3)  In Colorado and locally, we support the above even if they are not implemented nationally.

 

HEALTH CARE

Garfield County Democrats say:

Access to affordable, high quality health care should be available to all Americans.  The ACA, popularly known as Obamacare, is a step in the right direction, but high deductibles and co-pays still make health care too expensive for too many citizens. Adequate health care is unavailable to too many people in the developing world.

Therefore:

1) Globally, we support economic aid by First World Governments and NGOs to improve the medical care in underserved regions of the world. We support international cooperation to prevent the increased risk of pandemics due to climate change.

2) Nationally, we support a single payer system such as Medicare for all, or improvements to the ACA which achieve similar cost-savings and availability. The system must be permitted to negotiate drug prices. Removing excessive insurance industry profits and restrictions from the provision of health care will allow America to “promote the general Welfare”, as we have promised for 228 years. We support the classification of traffic fatalities and firearms fatalities, a total of about 60,000 annually, as medical issues.  We demand adequate funding for the CDC and NIH. We demand improvement in mental health treatment.

3) In Colorado, we support a single payer system.  We advocate passage of Colorado Care, Amendment 69, in the general election.  We support removal of Garfield County from the expensive “resort” area classification under the ACA.

4) Locally, we propose that the BOCC fund completion of the Battlement Mesa Health Impact Assessment. It is our opinion that it was suspended prematurely.

 

NATIONAL SECURITY AND FOREIGN RELATIONS

Garfield County Democrats say:

National security is a primary function of the federal government.  Rational allocation of resources to this area goes beyond missiles, ships, airplanes and armies. The influence of the so-called “military-industrial complex” can be moderated and the squandering of national treasure and precious lives reduced by using the entire arsenal available to our defense establishment, to include diplomacy and sophisticated, realistic threat analysis. A 2010 Pentagon paper identified climate change as a multiplier of various threats to world stability, including famine-forced human migrations, civil wars, conflicts over resources, competition for control of the Northwest Passage and it’s superior position for dominating the militarization of near-Earth space. Cyber warfare and space are the looming new venues for “the continuation of politics by other means,”

Therefore:

1) Globally, we support the use of diplomacy and international agreements for peaceful development of the Arctic.  We support  the use of international bodies for conflict resolution.  We support concerted, continued action to curtail the international arms trade and to eliminate nuclear arsenals.  We support co-ordinated international action to minimize the effects of climate change. We support international coalitions to defeat international terrorists.

2) Nationally we support the maximum use of diplomacy, international organizations and agreements, our tremendous economic influence and morally-guided considerations before resorting to force. We support efficient force structures and personnel consistent with defeating realistic threats; we propose our war-fighting preparations be such that they are obviously defensive rather than offensive in nature. We support universal service and a military draft without discriminatory deferments for privileged classes, so as to lessen the American appetite for war.  We have a healthy respect for the threat of global terrorism. We understand this threat cannot be eliminated. We refuse to compromise American principles; we support the Geneva Convention and basic human rights.

3) In Colorado and locally we support international trade and cultural exchanges to promote  international cooperation and understanding. We support functional operational integration and cooperation of law enforcement and emergency services with federal agencies.

 

IMMIGRATION

Garfield County Democrats say:

Our current immigration system is broken.  It implicitly encourages illegal entry to fill low-wage jobs, but in so doing subjects those workers to living in a shadow economy with substandard wages, exposure to high risks, family disruption with deportation, and abuse and exploitation at the hands of their employers. Virtual indentured servitude is a frequent occurrence even in the legal work programs, with workers being bound legally to their sponsoring employers.  The system doesn’t provide enough flexibility to encourage especially talented educational visa-holders to become productive American citizens and job producers. The deportation process is capricious and the holding facilities are substandard.  Especially important is the coming massive increase in world-wide immigration as food insecurity and violence caused by climate change force mass movements of populations. We must conduct expert analyses and make realistic plans to minimize and accommodate these disruptions.

Therefore:

1) Globally, we support conversion to a carbon-neutral economy.  We support actions to protect economic immigrants as well as asylum-seekers. We condemn de facto slavery of economic immigrants and guest workers world-wide.

2) Nationally, we support a leadership role for America in the fight against climate change.  We support foreign aid and developmental support for poor countries, so their citizens will feel less economic pressure to migrate.  We support comprehensive reform to produce a system which respects the human rights. We demand a path to citizenship to realize the potential of immigrants to contribute to American society, especially the children who are brought to America by parents.  We demand the termination of abusive incarceration of deportees, including closing the prisons for profit, if necessary.

3) In Colorado and locally, we support the education of all immigrant children. We support laws and programs to provide basic support and fair treatment for those who are trapped in the shadow economy. We support government and private programs to integrate immigrants into American society.

 

EDUCATION

Garfield County Democrats say:

A quality, fact-based education which develops critical thinking is essential for each individual in this global economy to be able to participate most effectively for his or her own benefit and the benefit of society.  In too many places, such an education is denied on the basis of socio-economic status, gender, race, or ethnicity.  The patriarchal construct of many societies denies education to girls especially.

Therefore:

1) Globally, we support US government and NGO foreign to help the citizens of developing nations gain access to quality modern educations without discrimination. Education of women is especially important for economic development and for population stability. We support educational exchanges between nations to foster the spread of ideas and to better relations among the world’s people.

2) Nationally, we support affordable education for all, beginning with at least free pre-K, possibly up to post-secondary level, including college. We support federal funding assistance to local schools so that high quality facilities, high quality instructors and up-to-date technology is available to all.  This funding must be adequate to address the requirements of special needs, at-risk and second language students. It must cover the cost of federal mandates; it must allow schools to maintain small class size.  We support increasing the availability of dual immersion bilingual programs. We support increasing the diversity of schools which are, de facto, segregated. We support evaluation of students and teachers by multiple means which are based on fairer criteria than standardized test results. We support the Dream Act.  We support the rights of teachers to organize for collective bargaining.  We do not support unconstitutional government funding of religious schools.

3) In Colorado and locally, in addition to the above, we support decision-making for public education at appropriate levels.  This means the school board and superintendent for most issues, principals for in-school issues, and teachers for in-classroom issues.  We recognize that oversight of each decision-making level will occur, including by the state and federal governments.  We demand the untangling of contradictory mandates, especially the Tabor Amendment, which is strangling our children’s educational opportunity just as it limits the performance of other essential government duties.