2018 Yakima County Democratic Platform

The Yakima County Democratic Platform is a statement of locally held democratic values and positions on the most vital issues that we face today.  We pledge ourselves to uphold the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the subsequent amendments to the Constitution. We affirm liberty and justice for everyone residing in the U.S. according to the Constitution and public law.

Titles of the Planks:

  • Education and Youth
  • Immigration
  • Agriculture and the Environment
  • Energy, Climate Change and Transportation
  • Foreign Policy and the Military
  • Tribal Relations
  • Government, Taxation and Economic Policy
  • Internet and Media
  • Labor and Commerce
  • Law and Justice
  • Health Care, Disability and Social Insurance

 

Education and Youth

Thriving as a family, community and a nation is predicated upon the quality of our public education system and equal opportunity for lifelong learning.

We support:

  • Prenatal care, nutrition, parenting classes and 12 month aftercare for expectant parents.
  • A fully funded, effective teacher-student ratio in the public education system that is culturally responsive beginning in early childhood.
  • Freedom from weapons, bullying, harassment, and violence toward students, staff and community members.
  • Adequate due process for placement and retention of our teachers that protects their employment.
  • Meaningful parental involvement and support of our educational system.
  • Full inclusion of students regardless of sex, race, ethnic origin, religious affiliation or non affiliation, sexual orientation, gender or disability.
  • Effective programs for teaching students for whom English is a second language.
  • Salaries, retirement benefits, and healthcare benefits that attract and retain quality teachers.
  • School facilities that are well funded, maintained and certified as safe by the state.
  • Inclusion of Fine Arts and Physical Education in the Basic Education Act.
  • Age-appropriate, medically correct and research-based health education concerning issues of sexuality and alcohol/drug addiction.
  • Access to affordable higher education, including but not limited to financial aid, work-study, low interest loans and other such programs at low cost or no cost.
  • Access to advanced vocational and technological education.
  • Adequate public funding for community and technical colleges, universities and graduate schools.
  • Availability of student debt relief and lower state tuition.
  • Ensuring that college students whose parents or legal guardians affirm that they do not support them financially will automatically receive the same financial aid as students whose parents or legal guardians are deceased or have no income, without needing to go through any additional procedures such as writing an appeal to financial aid or emancipating themselves in court.
  • Students of Charter Schools and Home Schools must pass the same minimal competency tests as public school students.
  • Extending the free lunch program to include mid-morning snacks and after school snacks, consisting of local and fresh fruits and vegetables, regardless of income.
  • A curriculum that is based on the diversity of the students being served.
  • Public school mascots respectful of ethnically diverse communities.
  • Continuously raising awareness about ongoing issues within this plank.

We oppose:

  • Funding charter schools.
  • Teaching pseudo-science and alternate history in the classroom or textbook.

 

Immigration

Immigration is a civil process meant to ensure an adequate inflow of documented workers and families to the benefit of society and for humanitarian reasons, including immigration reform for existing undocumented workers.

We support:

  • A more comprehensive Dream Act for young adults to enter a path of achievement that can lead to citizenship.
  • Comprehensive reform of immigration policy to provide all immigrants with a more reasonable and streamlined pathway to available legal status and for some, potentially, to citizenship.
  • Provision for due process, including legal services, in all proceedings within the immigration system including the right to counsel especially for unaccompanied, undocumented children.
  • Clearing the immigration backlog so that legal entry is reasonably possible.
  • Stronger migrant worker rights including unjust replacement by guest workers under the H2A program.
  • An H2A program that recognizes guest worker rights as well as not abusing the criteria of the use of the H2A program.
  • The humanitarian treatment and admittance of refugees fleeing war, violence, economic unrest, natural disasters, etc.
  • Safe, healthy, adequate housing and sanitary facilities for all people.
  • More humane treatment of detainees and humane techniques by our border patrol agents, state and/or local police.
  • Continuously raising awareness about ongoing issues within this plank.

We oppose:

  • Policies that deny civil rights or educational opportunities for immigrants and children.
  • State or local police involvement in the enforcement of federal immigration laws through racial profiling and the abuse of discretionary arrest powers.
  • The activities of vigilante militia groups.
  • Deportation or detention of a person who has not been convicted of a serious crime.
  • The Nativist Movement and their distortion of U. S. History.
  • Attempts to establish English as the sole official language of the United States.

 

Agriculture and the Environment

We regard pure water, clean air, fertile soil and healthy forests as vital to the needs of future generations and to a sustainable agricultural economy. Yakima County, the agricultural heart of Washington State, produces more value in crops, products and processed food than any other county in the state.

We support:

  • Marketing assistance for Yakima Valley agricultural products.
  • Conservation of farmland, soil, water, forests and habitat for the benefit of people and nature.
  • Limitation on the amount of groundwater that an unpermitted domestic well may draw for the purpose of stock watering to what is reasonable for a small farm. (RCW 90.44.050)
  • USDA inspected humane slaughter facilities near the location of the animals.
  • Enforcement of anti-trust laws in agri-business.
  • Regulation of pesticide, herbicide, and other chemicals used for the health of humans, birds, pollinators and fish.
  • Adequate governmental support for research and extension programs to develop, improve and protect crops, pollinators, livestock and marine life.
  • Adequate research and inspection of food animals for disease, infectious threats and contributions to climate change and groundwater protection.
  • Fair marketing protection in order to compete with foreign producers.
  • Limitations on genetically engineered seeds and plants so as to preserve native plant diversity and protect farmers from liability for accidental drift of proprietary crop pollen.
  • Clear food labeling with full and complete disclosure, including chemicals, genetically modified organisms, antibiotics, steroids and drugs used in feed and for treatment and preventive care.
  • Flexible, negotiable and, where appropriate, purchased easements for growth management, to limit residential sprawl and to conserve our remaining natural resources.
  • More accessible recycling and reuse of waste in ways that do not further contaminate the environment.
  • Long-term policies that promote biodiversity, ecosystem and watershed protection, restoration of wild salmon and endangered species.
  • Sound stewardship of our resources as the first goal of forest management and, to this end, the full funding of forest restoration.
  • Producing sustainable fruits and vegetables by creating and maintaining community gardens.
  • Sustainable agricultural and irrigation practices.
  • Educating the public about the “at no cost” HEPA Filtration System.
  • The full and environmentally safe cleanup of the Hanford Facility.
  • The Yakima River Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan.
  • Continuously raising awareness about ongoing issues within this plank.

We oppose:

  • Coal trains.

 

Energy, Climate Change and Transportation

We believe that increased efficiency, flexible fuels, and advanced clean energy are vital to our future.   We support the 2016 Paris Climate Change Agreement as part of a national energy policy.

We support:

  • Elimination of all special accounting rules, industry unique loopholes, tax credits and subsidies to the coal, oil and gas industry.
  • Imposition of pollution fees on point-source emitters of vast quantities of greenhouse gas.
  • Investment in a modern power grid that is able to manage fluctuating distributed power generation.
  • Government fleet purchases of natural gas, flex fuel or biofuel trucks and buses.
  • Affordable and accessible transit systems and commuter paths for bicycles.
  • Installation of charging stations for electric vehicles.
  • A revenue-neutral carbon tax and the pricing of carbon emission permits for large point-source polluters.
  • Land use planning that decreases our need to drive, such as zoning for local neighborhood shopping.
  • Establishment of a local Public Utility District that will develop local clean energy generation for the energy market.
  • Advocating against new infrastructure that expands the production or the export of natural gas or oil and new pipelines, export facilities and related projects.

 

Foreign Policy and the Military

We should, where feasible, work with our allies and other countries to promote a peaceful world. We favor a realistic approach to the use of balance of power among great nations to achieve our security and attain our aims. Yakima citizens have answered their country’s call to duty and we are proud of the individuals who make up our military contribution to this nation.

We support:

  • Less executive power and more Congressional power over the decision to initiate any military action.
  • Signing the international ban on the use of cluster bombs.
  • Elimination of excessive, unnecessary and redundant defense programs and weapons.
  • Preparing our forces for the conflicts we can expect in the 21st Century.
  • Local military medical facilities for all veterans, as they were promised when they joined.
  • VA mental health treatment, including treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries.
  • Adherence to international law including the Geneva Conventions.
  • A workable definition of genocide and an international approach to its curtailment.
  • Negotiated treaties to reduce nuclear proliferation and to secure all uranium that can be weaponized.
  • Plans for an orderly and complete exit of all combat forces from Afghanistan.
  • A two-state resolution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict that ensures the security and the potential for a good future life for both states.
  • Sanctions and military options to prevent rogue states from endangering other nations.
  • Worldwide family planning programs and health programs to fight serious disease.
  • Ongoing efforts to eliminate the threat of all terrorist organizations, foreign and domestic, as well as organized crime. Recognition for those Muslim nations that work to prevent the radicalization of Islam.
  • The United States paying its full share of United Nations dues annually.
  • Enforcement of laws that protect any and all military personnel regardless of sexual orientation to be free from harassment of any kind, including sexual assault.
  • A local regional Veterans’ Hospital in Yakima County.
  • Guantanamo Bay Naval Base detainees’ rights to due process and that they be prosecuted in the US court system.
  • Continuously raising awareness about ongoing issues within this plank.

We oppose:

  • The Department of Defense reliance on private contractors for military services and intelligence gathering on U.S. citizens.
  • The use of depleted uranium in weapons.
  • The use of secrecy, psychological techniques and disinformation for the manipulation of public opinion.
  • The use of torture by the U.S. Government.
  • The imposition of unreasonably extended deployments on military and National Guard personnel.
  • Nations, regimes, or non-governmental groups who condone the abuse of women through cultural and religious practices that are a threat to their physical, emotional, or psychological well being.
  • The use of the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base as a detention center.
  • The policy of higher ranking military officials investigating and trying sexual assaults of the military branches.

 

Tribal Relations

Tribal governments are independent and self-determining as affirmed by treaties and by reserved rights. Local, state, and federal governments must respect the decisions of the Native American Nations and tribal governments and oppose attempts to diminish their sovereignty and cultures.

We support:

  • Treaties pursuant to the U.S. Constitution or tribal agreements approved by the President, to be upheld by the respective parties.
  • Concerted efforts to maintain and protect traditional species of marine, animal, and plant life.
  • Preservation and protection of sites of historic, cultural and religious significance.
  • Commitment to provide infrastructure and public services on a level equivalent to what other U.S. citizens enjoy.
  • Respectful and civil relations between Indian tribes and local communities, municipalities, the state and the nation.
  • Education of the public and all school children about the inherent, Constitutional, and treaty-based rights of Indian tribes.
  • Continuously raising awareness about ongoing issues within this plank.

 

Government, Taxation and Economic Policy

Our governments derive legitimacy entirely from the democratic will of the people.  Government best serves the people when public finance is fair and sound, the representatives of the people are not biased, and governance is open, transparent, and accountable to the people. Government debt should be limited to the building of public infrastructure and to closing the output gap in times of economic crisis. Governments must regulate commerce for human safety and health and to provide the framework for functional free markets.

We support:

  • A fair tax code that is equitable, both vertically and horizontally.
  • Treating the earnings of securities traders as ordinary income.
  • Capping or eliminating tax deductions and loopholes that distort markets or increase inequality.
  • Removing tax breaks for offshore holdings by corporations and individuals.
  • Reducing the Federal Estate Tax exclusion from $5 million to $3 million.
  • Corporate bankruptcy laws to prevent the circumvention of obligations to employees unless bondholders take equal losses.
  • Increased regulatory oversight of large financial institutions such as restoring the Glass-Steagall Act and Dodd-Frank.
  • Limiting speculation in commodity futures and securities markets.
  • Minor taxation of financial trades so as to slow market volatility.
  • Separation of banks of deposit from insurance and investment firms.
  • Limitation of the filibuster rule and the blocking of legislation and appointments in the U.S. Senate.
  • Facilitation of registration and voting in free, open and verifiable elections, for all citizens.
  • Amendment to the Constitution to allow for the regulation of campaign finances and to reserve corporations from the constitutional protection of human rights (overturn “Citizens United”).
  • Amendment of the Constitution for the popular election of the President.
  • The passage of the Washington State Voting Rights Act.
  • Continuously raising awareness about ongoing issues within this plank.

 

Internet and Media 

A free press is fundamental to democracy. The use of the electromagnetic spectrum should be regulated to serve public, not private interests.

We support:

  • Privacy of personal account user names and passwords.
  • Full enforcement of antitrust laws so that no market is dominated by too few.
  • Internet neutrality as the only way to serve everyone fully and fairly.
  • Shield laws for journalists.
  • Diversity of ownership and programming as the primary principle of broadcast licensing.
  • Media regulations that enable more minority, community service, non-profit and non-commercial press, radio and TV.
  • Protecting public radio and television from political pressure.
  • Cost effective rural access to modern high-speed broadband access and communications infrastructure.
  • Continuously raising awareness about ongoing issues within this plank.

We oppose:

  • False and misleading (wrong and inaccurate) information spread by newspapers and radio or television programs that call themselves news.

 

Labor and Commerce

A strong economy requires a large middle class with jobs that provide a family wage, safe work conditions, insurance and retirement benefits. Commerce requires transportation and communication infrastructure as well as reliable contract and financial transfer mechanisms.

We support:

  • The right of all workers and especially public employees to organize and to bargain collectively.
  • Rescinding the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 so that the postal service may return to fiscal soundness.
  • Full funding of the Export-Import Bank.
  • Multilateral trade agreements with provisions for fair labor conditions in partner countries.
  • Amendment of the National Labor Relations Act to base the recognition of a union on a statement of intent to organize that is signed by a majority of those represented.
  • Equal pay and equal benefits for equal work.
  • Every worker’s right to a safe, hazard-free workplace.
  • Prevailing wages for all work done on or in public buildings and publicly financed projects.
  • Reforms in the public bidding process to include responsible bidder language on fair wages, insurance, retirement and training.
  • Benefits transportable between employers.
  • The rights of workers who are locked out to receive extended unemployment benefits and retraining opportunities.
  • A workplace atmosphere free from discrimination based on sex, disability, religion, sexual orientation, gender, age, ethnicity, race, national origin, union activities or political preference.
  • Restrictions on the working hours of children under 17 years of age.
  • Protection from intimidation, retaliation and access to courts for “whistleblowers.”
  • Raising the Federal minimum wage to a living wage.
  • Paid Family Leave, Sick Leave and Vacation for every American worker.
  • Removing of the cap on income subject to Social Security tax.
  • More public awareness and education of atrocities in human/sex trafficking and slavery.
  • A comprehensive youth training program.
  • Continuously raising awareness about ongoing issues within this plank.

We oppose:

  • Any attempt to restrict or eliminate collective bargaining rights in the State of Washington.
  • Exploitation and extortion of migrant, temporary and contract workers.
  • Free-trade agreements with or most-favored nation status for countries that lack fair labor standards, or use child, prisoner or slave labor or engage in other exploitative labor practices.
  • Tip-credit minimum wage.
  • Use of permanent replacement workers during strikes.
  • Outsourcing of government jobs that supplant public employees with low-wage, low-benefit contract employees.
  • The exploitation and employer forced trafficking of low wage workers.
  • Any national “Right to Work” Act.

 

Law and Justice

Justice is served when all people are treated equally. We recognize that in the pursuit of civil order, we cannot abandon the legal principles upon which a free and democratic society relies.

We support:

  • A new approach to chemical dependency, based on treatment, education and mental health, as opposed to incarceration.
  • Drug treatment and community-based aftercare, including non-faith based and culturally responsive programs for addicts who need it.
  • Continue to recognize and fully implement Washington’s cannabis laws with appropriate access to and regulation of cannabis, to include descheduling of cannabis as a controlled substance.
  • Abolishment of the death penalty in favor of life imprisonment without parole.
  • Rapid and consistent follow-up from probation services for each and every violation.
  • Enforcement of laws that hold adults responsible for safeguarding guns around children.
  • A limit on volume buys of military grade weapons by an individual.
  • Gun ownership by law-abiding individuals.
  • Making a report of gun purchasers’ personal information at gun shows.
  • Legal representation for indigents in all phases of the legal process in mental, criminal and immigration cases, including plea-bargaining.
  • Provision of a skilled interpreter and immigration assistant or community advocacy representative prior to the signing of a document that impacts immigration status so that the full ramifications of the document are clearly understood.
  • DNA testing to free the innocent and convict the guilty in criminal prosecutions.
  • Elimination of mandatory state and federal sentencing guidelines and “three-strikes” sentencing.
  • Recognition of increased investment for expansion in early childhood, after-school and community-based programs such as early screening and detection for learning, social, emotional and intellectual support for positive integration into society.
  • The right to a civil trial by jury.
  • Increased government efforts, including data collection and legislation, to address adequate minority representation on juries.
  • The separation of religion and state for the betterment of the both.
  • Laws designed to ensure that prejudice does not prevent qualified persons from obtaining education, employment, promotion, housing, insurance or any other social good.
  • Marriage as a legal union of consenting adults, not restricted by sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Repeal of the Patriot Act and, until it is repealed, we implore all governmental entities to not implement its provisions.
  • Increased training of all law enforcement on how to recognize and treat veterans and all others who have seizures and mental health events in public places toward the goal of least restrictive management.
  • Federal background checks for gun purchasers online and purchasers at gun shows.
  • Continuous cultural sensitivity training of all law enforcement.
  • Continuously raising awareness about ongoing issues within this plank.

We oppose:

  • Self-protection or stand your ground laws that legalize shooting-first.
  • Racial profiling by law enforcement or judicial process.
  • The use of prison labor on any contract bid in the State of Washington that competes with private enterprise.
  • Organized prayer in public schools.
  • Public funding for religious charities or schools that require a profession of faith or act of worship as the precondition for participation.
  • Any dilution of the exclusionary rule of the Fourth Amendment of our Constitution.
  • The Federal Government’s collection of bulk cell phone and computer data from its own citizens without a warrant.
  • The use of drone technology to surveil U.S. citizens.
  • The privatization of the juvenile detention, jail and prison systems.

 

Health Care, Disabilities and Social Insurance

The protections and support provided by Social Security, Medicare, Affordable Care and Unemployment are partly or fully insurance benefits.  Every individual’s fundamental human needs of access to safe, healthy food, clothing and shelter must be provided with dignity and respect.

We support:

  • The rights of all citizens, the elderly and individuals with disabilities, to direct their own lives in housing, education and all other life choices.
  • Full implementation of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 and any modifications that improve coverage or quality-based pricing, to include the adoption of a single payer healthcare system.
  • A public option choice on the Washington State health insurance exchange.
  • Family planning and women’s reproductive rights.
  • Parity for mental and addiction healthcare.
  • Provision and planning for an effective response to major epidemics and infections.
  • Expansion of assistance to those with a disability who are not eligible for Medicaid.
  • Raising the benefit eligibility income cap placed on individuals with disabilities so they are able to keep government assistance, get married, retain access to therapy, medication, housing, transportation, insurance, etc.
  • An expanded Medicaid and Medicare program that includes comprehensive dental, vision and audiology coverage.
  • Efforts to address structural inequities and exclusionary governmental policies that exist in Central and Eastern Washington including the health care, educational and environmental disparities in our community.
  • Small business retirement marketplace, senate bill passed for Washington state “working poor” to have increased retirements, e., 401k income other than Social Security pensions.
  • Strengthening Social Security, protecting the fund and increasing benefits for lifetime minimum wage earners.
  • Continuously raising awareness about ongoing issues within this plank.

We oppose:

  • Denial of legal medical treatment or prescription purchase based on the personal religious beliefs of personnel.
  • The “substitute basket” method of cost-of-living adjustment calculations for Social Security.

 

 

Adopted by the Yakima County Democratic Convention

in Yakima, WA on March 24th, 2018.

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