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46th Legislative District Platform 2006 Adopted 4/22/06

OUR VALUES

We Democrats are the party of the people. We are devoted to justice and opportunity for all.

We are dedicated to:

  • Protecting human rights and individual freedoms
  • Living-wage jobs and fairness in tax policy
  • Health care for all
  • Fighting poverty and providing a safety net for those in need
  • Quality public education
  • Protecting the environment for future generations
  • Seeking peace, and using force only when necessary
  • Fiscal responsibility and competence in government
  • Integrity, openness and accountability in government
  • Good leaders admit their mistakes and right their wrongs.

We the people must take responsibility for the quality of our government.

CIVIL AND HUMAN RIGHTS

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 support:

  • Repeal of provisions of the USAPATRIOT Act that infringe on constitutional rights or freedoms
  • An end to warrantless governmental eavesdropping on communications within the United States
  • Strong antidiscrimination and affirmative action laws and policies to ensure that prejudices based on gender, race, age, ethnic or national origin, religious belief, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, gender identity, or political affiliation do not prevent qualified persons from obtaining employment, promotion, education, housing or any other social good
  • The right to marry for all persons regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Every woman’s right of reproductive choice, as well as programs to make abortions less necessary and less frequent
  • The right to medically assisted death with dignity, with suitable safeguards
  • Full rights of people with disabilities to equal access to public accommodations, employment, transportation, telecommunications, voting, and government services, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • The right of immigrants and foreign nationals to have access to consular officials if accused of a crime within the United States
  • The right of refugees to gain asylum in the U.S., and oppose any measure to return refugees to a nation where they face persecution
  • Greater legal immigration and options for undocumented immigrants to normalize their status
  • Increased due process rights in immigration proceedings

We oppose:

  • Prisoners and detainees in U.S. custody being subjected to torture as an interrogation technique here or abroad, or being removed to other countries where they may face torture
  • The use of military tribunals and the indeterminate detention of "enemy combatants"

ECONOMIC JUSTICE AND TAXES

We are committed to strong communities, opportunity, fairness, and shared prosperity.

We support:

  • Raising the Federal minimum wage to $7.65, adjusted annually for inflation
  • Rollback of the Bush tax cuts for the very wealthy
  • Restoring the Federal estate tax for estates of $5 million or more, and retaining the Washington state estate tax
  • A progressive income tax for Washington, and reduced reliance on property tax, sales tax, and business and occupation (B&O) taxes
  • Automatic sunsetting of special-interest state tax exemptions after 10 years
  • Including tax exemptions as revenue expenditures in the state budget
  • Repeal of arbitrary spending limits such as those prescribed by Initiative 601
  • Changing corporate bankruptcy rules to put pensioners on an equal footing with secured creditors
  • Requiring good corporate citizenship as a condition for any business seeking tax breaks, public financing, or government contracts. Good corporate citizens comply with International *Labor Organization standards and environmental and human rights laws
  • Exempting the first $30,000 of property tax valuation for all homeowners

We oppose U.S. businesses incorporating offshore to evade taxes

EDUCATION

Education is a basic right. It is the responsibility of our state and its citizens to provide a high-quality education for all children.

We support:

  • Full funding for public schools as mandated by our State Constitution
  • Full federal funding or repeal of the No Child Left Behind Act
  • Universal pre-school and kindergarten
  • A state educational system that prioritizes and funds:
  • Decreased class size to below the national average
  • Early learning and pre-kindergarten services, including Head Start, to assure that all students are prepared for school
  • After-school programs
  • Counselors and nurses in every school
  • Job training, vocational education, an apprenticeship programs for non-college bound students
  • Strong environmental education programs in schools
  • Regular energy and resource-use audits to reduce school operating costs
  • Strong programs for students needing extra help and for gifted students
  • Competitive compensation and benefits for all public educators
  • Upgrading school facilities, libraries, computer systems and other resources
  • Continuing education and training for teachers
  • Including fine arts education in the Basic Education Act
  • Passing school levies by a simple majority vote
  • Multiple WASL retake opportunities and remediation options, and alternative methods of assessment
  • Equal opportunities for women as mandated by Title IX
  • Making public college tuition affordable, and providing adequate financial aid for low income students
  • Making college tuition tax-deductible or a tax credit
  • Increased capacity to accommodate all who wish to pursue higher education
  • College loan adjustments for graduates who choose public service careers
  • Increasing government funding for basic research in science, medicine, engineering and technology
  • Sustainable use of public lands that produce revenue for Washington schools

We oppose:

  • Charter schools and private school vouchers because they drain resources from our public schools
  • Commercial exploitation through marketing to captive audiences of students in public schools
  • Aggressive military recruiting in the public schools

ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT

We Democrats know that our well-being and very survival depend on worldwide clean air, clean water, safe food and sustainable ecosytems, and that environmental protection will strengthen our economy.

We Support:

  • Basing environmental decisions on sound scientific facts
  • Acting to significantly reduce human impacts that cause global climate change, by:
  • Signing and strengthening the Kyoto protocols
  • Taking aggressive actions to minimize greenhouse gases and ozone-depleting chemicals
  • Assisting other nations in implementing appropriate technology, energy efficiency and alternative renewable energy systems
  • Increasing global conservation of energy and resources
  • Reducing our dependency on foreign oil by working for energy self-sufficiency
  • Using renewable, non-polluting, non-nuclear energy sources such as wind, solar, hydrogen, ocean, micro-hydro, geothermal and biomass
  • Reducing toxic waste and using sound science to clean up and dispose of existing waste
  • Making Hanford cleanup a top priority
  • Treatment and disposal of hazardous wastes near their origin.
  • Assessing the toxicity of chemicals prior to their manufacture and release in the environment
  • Reducing use of herbicides, pesticides and other toxic materials to decrease environmental contamination and protect our food supply and health
  • Increased funding and support of organic farming and sustainable agriculture
  • Promotion of local farmers’ markets
  • Incentives for businesses that conserve energy or utilize technologies that reduce pollution and keep toxic chemicals out of the environment
  • Reinstating the Superfund Tax to make polluters pay for cleanup
  • Reversing Bush’s gutting of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts and other environmental laws
  • Protecting and preserving environmentally sensitive areas, including wetlands, the Arctic *National Wildlife Reserve, and other wild areas
  • Maintaining the viability and diversity of plants and animals within watersheds and other ecosystems
  • Protecting the habitat of wild salmon and steelhead, including preserving Northwest forests and maintaining adequate river flows
  • Enforcing and strengthening our state’s Growth Management Act to protect against further urban sprawl that consumes farmland, forests, wildlife habitat and natural resources
  • Maintaining our National Parks and wilderness areas as pristine national treasures
  • Permanently protecting threatened wild and roadless areas from road building, logging, motorized recreation, and any other type of development
  • Expanding efforts to reduce residential and business waste and promote the reuse and recycling of materials
  • Continue development of recycled-material markets that meet strict environmental and worker health standards
  • Requiring electronic equipment manufacturers to recycle and safely dispose of computers, televisions and other e-waste

We Oppose:

  • Washington State’s being a depository for the nation’s radioactive waste
  • Shipping more waste to Hanford until the site is brought into compliance with existing regulations and the impact of past waste disposal has been fully remedied
  • Exporting banned chemicals and toxic waste to other countries
  • Selling public lands to developers or speculators
  • Mining, drilling, and any other activity likely to deface or pollute our National Parks, wilderness areas and other public lands
  • Privatizing professional staff in National Parks and National Forests

Offshore oil and natural gas drilling

  • Efforts to undermine land-use planning by indiscriminately treating it as a taking of private property

FOREIGN POLICY

America should work within the world community in a spirit of peace, cooperation, generosity, and democracy.

We support:

  • Resolving international conflicts and addressing terrorism through multilateral diplomacy and international institutions such as the United Nations
  • Compliance with all provisions of all international human rights treaties we are party to, including the Geneva Conventions and Torture Convention
  • Strengthening and fully funding our share of the United Nations
  • Withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq
  • Rebuilding the shattered infrastructure of Iraq, instead of prisons and military bases
  • International aid for family planning
  • Humanitarian programs that address the root causes of instability and terrorism
  • Strengthening international nuclear disarmament treaties, and compliance with the Anti-*Ballistic Missile Treaty, Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions, and Space Preservation *Treaty against space-based weapons.
  • Ratification of and compliance with the:
  • Kyoto protocols on climate change
  • International Land Mines treaties
  • International Criminal Court
  • Recognition that Palestinian and Israeli lives are equally precious and that both are entitled to peace, justice, and security. Further U.S. aid to the region should be contingent on:
  • Commitments not to use the aid for killing each other or for one to occupy the other’s territory
  • Dismantling of the Israeli “security” wall and return of all lands confiscated by the wall’s construction
  • Compensation of dispossessed Palestinians for their losses
  • Withdrawal of Israeli troops and settlers from the West Bank
  • The Cuban people’s right to political and economic self-determination
  • Normalizing relations with Cuba, including lifting the U.S.-imposed embargo and travel ban
  • Withdrawal from international trade treaties, such as the WTO, NAFTA, and CAFTA, that undermine basic human and labor rights, restrict our ability to protect the environment and public health, and override U.S. laws. Those treaties must be replaced by agreements that incorporate human rights, labor rights, pubic health, and environmental justice

We oppose:

  • Military action in Iran or any other country without clearly expressed authorization from Congress
  • Preemptive war
  • Efforts, covert as well as overt, to destabilize other national governments
  • Permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq
  • Using contractors not subject to the rule of law in the handling of prisoners
  • Development of new nuclear weapons
  • Exporting weapons systems that contribute to the international arms race
  • Procurement of unneeded weaponry and deployment of destabilizing weapons systems
  • U.S. training of foreign military or police forces that suppress human rights in their own countries
  • International Monetary Fund policies that compel privatization of vital government services, such as water, as a condition of refinancing national debt
  • Entering into the proposed Global Agreement on Trade in Services, which would privatize such necessities as education, water, firefighting, and electricity
  • Entering into the proposed Free Trade Agreement of the Americas

HEALTH CARE

Health care is a basic human right. Our government must recognize, as does the rest of the industrialized world, its responsibility to ensure the health and safety of its citizens.

We support:

  • Establishment of a nationwide, publicly funded, nonprofit single-payer universal health care plan, including affordable prescription drug coverage. Until then, we support:
  • Fully funded federal physical and mental health benefits for veterans
  • Increased access to the Washington Basic Health Plan
  • Legislation to make universal health care state law
  • Adequate funding for Medicare and Medicaid
  • Inclusion of dental, vision, mental health, contraceptive, substance abuse treatment and alternative therapies in all medical coverage
  • Emphasis on preventative care
  • The timely dispensing of all legally prescribed medicines by every pharmacy
  • Public funding of quality long-term care, including adequate training and living wages for caregivers and options for in-home care
  • Regulating tobacco as a drug
  • A strong Patient’s Bill of Rights
  • Removing politically motivated restrictions from medical research, including stem cell research
  • Repealing the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act section that prohibits negotiation of volume discounts on prescription drugs
  • Establishing programs to combat obesity

HUMAN SERVICES

A caring community provides a safety net of social services to meet people’s basic needs so they can attain their full potential, especially those on the margins of society: children, the elderly, and people who are impoverished, homeless, mentally ill, disabled, or living with addictions.

We support:

  • Welfare reform that will reduce poverty, not just the welfare rolls
  • Quality, affordable childcare, education, training and substance-abuse treatment to help working parents get off welfare
  • Galvanizing the political will to end homelessness and to ensure that all people have access to safe and affordable housing
  • Weighting affordable-housing subsidies toward those who need them most
  • Programs to enable more widespread home ownership
  • Lifting the cap on Social Security tax on income above $90,000, to avoid the future funding shortfall
  • Public assistance (General Assistance-Unemployable) and Medicaid to safeguard the vulnerable poor and people with disabilities who cannot reasonably provide for themselves
  • Family planning and science-based sex education to give individuals and families control over their reproductive decisions
  • Education and access to birth control and family services to minimize the need for abortion

We oppose privatizing Social Security or reducing its benefits

LABOR

We believe in the dignity of work and demand 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 working conditions.

We support:

  • Establishment of a living wage, starting in Seattle
  • Equal pay for equal work
  • A Workers’ Bill of Rights that includes:
  • Rights of association, assembly and free speech in the workplace
  • A safe and healthy workplace
  • Due process in the workplace, including “just cause” protections, progressive discipline and protection for whistleblowers and union activities
  • Democratic and fair elections within unions
  • Automatic (card-check) recognition of a union upon its obtaining a majority of the cards signed in a bargaining unit
  • Repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act, which tilted labor law in favor of employers by outlawing several forms of boycott, strikes, and political action on the part of unions
  • The right to mandatory arbitration of first contracts
  • The right to strike without fear of reprisal or permanent replacement
  • A streamlined appeals process in the National Labor Relations Board
  • Meaningful financial penalties for employers found to have engaged in unfair labor practices
  • Prevailing wage rates on all government contracts, and 15% set-asides for apprentices
  • Extended unemployment benefits and retraining opportunities for workers who are locked out or on strike
  • Safe and adequate housing, medical care, education, and sanitary facilities for migrant and seasonal workers and their families
  • Accurate unemployment statistics, counting persons whose benefits have been exhausted

We oppose:

  • Mandatory overtime
  • All so-called right-to-work laws
  • Captive-audience and one-on-one anti-union meetings

LAW AND JUSTICE

A good government provides for the safety and security of the general public with care, even-handedness and respect for the individual.

We support:

  • Reasonable security measures at airports, bus and train stations, border crossings and ports, to protect the public from terrorism without sacrificing important civil liberties
  • The U.S. Attorney General appointing an independent Special Counsel to investigate and prosecute any government officer responsible for having ordered or participated in violations of law
  • Impeachment of any member of the Executive Branch who has ordered violations of law
  • Legislation to prevent state and local governments from exercising their eminent domain power to take property on behalf of a private developer in order to increase their tax base
  • Legislation to prohibit predatory practices in payday lending
  • Greater emphasis on preventive and rehabilitative measures in criminal justice
  • Assuring each detainee his/her Constitutionally guaranteed right to counsel, habeas corpus, and a fair and speedy trial by an impartial jury, with adequate funding for the defense in cases of indigency
  • DNA testing to convict the guilty and exonerate the innocent
  • Redefinition of corporate rights and responsibilities, including a rollback of Constitutional protections afforded on the pretext that a corporation is a “person”
  • Subjecting corporate executives’ economic crime to imprisonment on the same basis as other nonviolent thefts
  • Including, in state and federal substance-abuse policy:
  • Drug education reflective of established scientific knowledge rather than outdated political dogma and myth
  • More drug courts
  • Greater emphasis on treatment and rehabilitation of drug and alcohol addiction
  • A reduced priority for minor drug offenses
  • Basing asset forfeitures on conviction of a crime rather than mere arrest or assumption of guilt
  • Universal gun registration and licensing, a completed background check before each gun sale (including at gun shows), required safe gun storage in the home, and prohibition of fully automatic weapons
  • Protecting individual liberty and restoring balance in our courts by confirming only judges who have a proven record of adhering to the law without promoting extremist views or personal political agendas
  • Accountability in law enforcement. To this end, each major city and county should establish, for investigating complaints of police misconduct, an effective review process that is independent, open, responsive, thorough, and includes meaningful civilian participation

We oppose:

  • Capital punishment, because execution of a human being in our name is unacceptable
  • Giving any legal effect to Presidential “signing statements,” executed when signing bills into law

MEDIA AND CULTURE

A free press is essential for democracy to flourish. All people should have the opportunity to participate in and experience the cultural life of the community.

We support:

  • Multicultural media and ownership
  • Government funding of politically independent public radio and public television
  • Fair compensation by cable companies for their use of the public right-of-way
  • Establishment of low-power broadcasting for educational and non-profit institutions
  • Increased funding for public libraries
  • Wider access to opportunities for participating in and experiencing arts and cultural events
  • “One Percent for Art” programs
  • Reinstitution of individual artist grants from the National Endowment for the Arts

We Oppose:

  • Concentration of media ownership
  • Political control of Public Radio and TV
  • Government-funded propaganda disguised as news
  • Government intimidation of the news media

THE POLITICAL PROCESS

A real democracy ensures that its voting process is fair, transparent and open to all citizens.

We support:

  • Vigorous enforcement of the right to vote for all citizens
  • Direct election of the U.S. President, and abolition of the Electoral College that unduly magnifies the role of small states and narrow pluralities
  • Making the general election day a holiday to encourage voting
  • Use of electronic voting machines only if accompanied by a verifiable paper record of each vote cast
  • Increased security for electronic vote-counting machines
  • State funding of public debates for statewide offices
  • Public funding for all countywide, statewide and legislative district election campaigns
  • Free radio and television airtime allocations for major-party candidates and ballot issues before each election
  • Reinstituting the media Fairness Doctrine in election campaigns to promote more balanced reporting by broadcast media, including cable networks
  • Limits on lobbyists’ use of corporate and special-interest funds to influence legislative votes and executive decisions
  • Full disclosure of the source of campaign funds, including separately controlled campaigns and issue advertising
  • Extending elective-office contribution limits to include contributions made to any PAC or other organization supporting a candidate

Instant runoff voting for non-partisan races (city councils, ports, commissions and judicial races)

  • Restoring felons’ right to vote once they have served their time
  • Requiring that Congressional bills, amendments and earmarks be publicly posted on the Internet for three days before a floor vote

We oppose:

  • Use of proprietary software in voting machines that cannot be verified or audited
  • Improperly removing or challenging registered voters from the voting rolls
  • Voter registration that requires expensive IDs
  • Any Secretary of State’s participation in a partisan election campaign, because it is a conflict of interest for the person overseeing elections

TRANSPORTATION

We believe in public transportation to ensure equal opportunity and a greater quality of life for all.


We Support:

  1. Development and funding of multiple forms of public transportation, to better serve the public and reduce single-occupancy auto use and greenhouse gas emissions
  2. High-density development and economical mass transit in urban areas, including light rail connections to Northgate and SeaTac airport
  3. Keeping roads, bridges and ferries in good repair, with replacement of the Alaskan Way viaduct and seawall as our highest transportation and public safety priority.
  4. Repeal of the 18th Amendment to the Washington Constitution so that state gasoline taxes may be used to fund mass transit instead of only highways
  5. Increasing Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards and applying them fully to SUVs and light trucks, and eliminating all tax breaks for such vehicles
  6. A luxury tax on new low-mileage-per-gallon or heavy automobiles and limousines
  7. Safe facilities for bicyclists, pedestrians and wheelchairs, including:
    1. Well-lit bus stops and shelters
    2. Sidewalks and marked crosswalks
    3. Secure storage of bicycles
    4. Bicycle lanes on arterials

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