Principles

Democratic Principles and Actions

Contents:

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Shelter, Food, Health Care and a Living Wage
Securing the Basic Necessities of Life

Democratic Principles

All Oregonians have the right to accessible, affordable comprehensive health care.

Wages paid in Oregon should represent a living wage providing sufficient income to pay for shelter, food, health care and other necessities for individuals and families.

All Oregonians have the right to have adequate, clean, safe, and affordable shelter.

All Oregonians have the right to have an adequate diet to sustain life and health (food security).

State of Oregon services to assist in meeting the minimum standards of shelter, food, and health care should be available and accessible in all parts of the State.

Individuals have the right to define for themselves what constitutes a family without governmental interference. Once consenting adults constitute a family, that family should be fully supported and recognized by government, business, and society without discrimination to support of the goals of having adequate shelter, food, health care and other necessities.

Legislative Action Items

Create an affordable, accessible, and comprehensive health care system that provides preventive health care, mental health care, dental care, addiction treatment, prescription drugs, and reproductive health care.

Ensure that the Oregon minimum wage is a living wage adequate to meet the minimum requirements of shelter, food, health care and other necessary services for families and individuals.

Amend ORS 414.312 to expand the prescription drug purchasing pool such that it includes all Oregonians as proposed in SB 329 of the 2005 Legislative Session.

Create a comprehensive health care system that reaches all Oregonians in all parts of the State

Provide support throughout the State to individuals and families by facilitating programs aimed at ending homelessness through short-term shelter programs, transitional housing, and whatever additional case management/support is needed to achieve housing independence

Ensure that a comprehensive health care system includes the right of individuals to make their own reproductive decisions without restrictions.


 

Human Rights
Guaranteeing Equal Rights for all People

Democratic Principles

Human rights are the backbone of a society and must be afforded to every human being.

The United States of America, being a full member of the United Nations, must actively support the Human Rights Council of the United Nations and abide by its determinations.

Human rights in the United States must apply to its citizens and visitors within its borders and to every person who comes under the jurisdiction of the United States authorities and its contracted entities during wartime and peace time.

All people in Oregon have the right to be treated equally, with due process, without discrimination.

The United States government must lead by example and abide by its signed treaties and conventions, with no exceptions.

Amendments to the United States Constitution must never limit human rights.

Legislative Action Items

We support legislation to guarantee protection from discrimination based on perceived and actual sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

We support legislation to guarantee equal legal status, including all rights, protections and responsibilities, to all committed relationship partners, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

We support federal legislation that extends the Right of Habeas Corpus to any individual held against his or her will by the United States Government or any contracted entities of the United States Government. We oppose any legislation that permits otherwise.

We support legislation that adds to the Statutes at Large of the United States Congressional documents, language that defines "prisoner" to be any person held against their will by the United States Government, its allies or its contracted entities, during wartime or peace time.

We support federal legislation requiring the United States Government, its military personnel and its civilian contractors to strictly adhere to the Geneva Conventions with special regard for: Section 1; Article 17, Captivity: "No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted, or exposed to any unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind."

As Democrats we support federal legislation expanding the definition of "protected class"in hate crimes to include sexual orientation and gender identity.



Public Education
Taking Responsibility to Prepare the Next Generation

Democratic Principles

Every person is entitled to an excellent public education so that each person can compete in the global economy, become engaged and active as a member of the community and pursue a happy, healthy personal and family life.

The future of Oregon requires and every person deserves a high quality, seamless public educational system from early childhood throughout life through technical-vocational, post-graduate studies and life-long learning; a system that addresses the diverse needs of each person.

Optimal class size, well educated and prepared teachers, personal safety, adequate and safe facilities, well ordered and varied curriculum and adequate instruction time are all essential to provide a high quality education.

Parenting support programs and early childhood education are essential to ensure that all children arrive at school ready to learn.

High quality and responsive Community Colleges are essential to provide the highly trained workforce Oregon needs to compete and the personal and community life that makes Oregon a great place to live.

Oregon's students deserve well supported public colleges and universities to ensure a high quality affordable education.

Legislative Action Items

Provide for financial stability, adequacy and equity for all Oregon public school, community college, and university students, based upon fully funding a K-12 school year of at least 175 full instructional days with smaller class sizes, funding for all in-state students, restoring lower tuition and vital programs in community colleges and universities.

Provide for the breadth and depth of services Oregon's students need including parenting and early childhood education, Head Start for all who qualify, and pre-school programs, along with adequate counseling, citizenship (civics), art, physical, music, vocational and special education and library services at every school.

While recognizing the unique needs of each student, provide educational access for all through equity of services and courses available without regard for distances from the university, central offices, cultural, social, economic and language backgrounds of students while recognizing the unique needs of each student.

Provide, at all education levels, for the replacement of antiquated public education facilities, repair of existing facilities, and new construction to meet changing needs of our population.

Provide for a state level education stability (rainy day) fund adequate to support education at all levels during economic bad times and filled during good times.

Restore and expand federal and state scholarship, grant (including Oregon Opportunity Grant) and loan programs so that students from all economic backgrounds can attend and graduate from public vocational, community college and university programs. Resist unfunded mandates.


 

Revenue Policy
Paying a Fair Share and Endowing Future Generations

Democratic Principles

The tax and revenue system should be fair and provide stable and adequate revenue to fund the services needed today and for the growth of tomorrow.

Paying taxes to fund public services is a civic responsibility of individuals and businesses.

The tax code should be progressive, with the largest contribution coming from those with the greatest financial means.

Tax provisions should not show a preference for unearned income such as capital gains and dividends over wage and salary income.

Government policy and services are needed for the common good, and to maintain community standards, grow our economy, ensure quality education, and promote savings and investment.

Budgets are moral documents, and should reflect our values by focusing on building stronger, safer communities.

Legislative Action Items

Repeal the corporate tax kicker.

Repeal the double-majority requirements that restrict the right of voters and elected representatives to adopt legislation related to raising revenue.

Sunset and periodically review all tax expenditures and loopholes for businesses and individuals to verify that they are still serving a valid purpose and repeal or reform if needed.

Increase the corporate minimum tax.

Repeal the change to a single factor formula for calculation of corporate income tax. Require that initiatives include a fiscal impact statement and identify the revenue source.


 

Business and Economic Development
Creating a Sustainable Economy that Enriches Everyone

Democratic Principles

We recognize the genuine value of work to the individual, to the family, and to society. All Oregonians deserve access to quality education and training to be able to have access to the workforce and be productive members of society.

Oregon’s schools, universities, health care system, social services system, natural resources, physical infrastructure and governmental offices all provide direct and indirect support for our business community; therefore our community has an obligation to support these areas of public investment.

Oregon should be a model where individual workers, businesses of all sizes, and non-profit organizations work together to insure a State with strong infrastructure, supportive governments that enforce necessary regulations, and a general atmosphere favorable to a diverse, flourishing, and sustainable economy throughout Oregon.

Individual wage earners, local small businesses, and large businesses based in Oregon and elsewhere are all partners in the Oregon economy. All must pay their fair share of what it takes to run Oregon and its economy.

Oregon as a State must welcome all new businesses and entrepreneurs that will provide living wage jobs without degrading the viability and livability of our State.

Economic development should be cultivated at the local level with support from the state government to develop a sustainable and diverse economy that brings jobs and individual opportunities to all throughout the state.

Legislative Action Items

Create legislation and policy to reward businesses that develop and use alternative energy or in other ways lessen their environmental impact upon the State.

Pursue family friendly legislation encouraging businesses to provide day-care, flextime and telecommuting.

Support legislation and policies to secure a sound, balanced and profitable economy by encouraging small business.

Ensure that economic development funds are provided in a balanced manner throughout the State.

Support legislation that further improve efficiency and effectiveness in state government to ensure relevance and fairness.

Create new initiatives that support the diversification of the Oregon economy and focus on sustainable businesses.


 

Forest, Field and Range
Supporting Oregon's Small Farmers, Ranchers and Foresters as They Provide from the Land

Democratic Principles

Natural resources are critical for clean water, breathable air, biodiversity, wildlife and recreation, as well as economic productivity. Science and sustainability should dictate the management of our diverse natural resource ecosystems.

Oregon's natural resources are our heritage and our future. Our working lands and waters should be managed for sustained, productive use.

All rangelands in the state should be restored to good or better range condition. Economic return from state lands must be tempered by the recognition of the economic value of protecting vegetation, wildlife, and water resources.

Forest, farm, range, air and water resources are finite. Management policies must protect these resources to insure the continued availability of crops and products for food and shelter.

All lands in the state that are most suitable for agriculture, shall be protected for that purpose.

Legislative Action Items

Forestry legislation must mandate science-based management, with the long-term health and productivity of the forest taking priority over short-term production and profitability.

Water resources should be managed for the sustainable allocation of water.

Legislation must protect critical forest, range, and farmlands from development that will jeopardize the needs of future generations. If development removes lands from their productive status they cannot be restored. Farmlands are particularly at risk and must be protected.

Less than 4% of the old growth forest in the United States remains today. While a need for forest products increases, these last remaining genetic banks must be preserved. The legacy of healthy National Forests begun in 1905 by Teddy Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot must continue.

Small farmers need legislation to defend them from economic pressures to change land use. Tax relief and benefits to following generations who retain farm use of the land should be encouraged.

Forest restoration should be a legislative priority including rewards for private landowners in retaining and fostering healthy forests.


 

Labor
Ensuring that Hard Work is Rewarded and Includes Retirement Security

Democratic Principles

To ensure the highest wages, the best benefits and the safest working conditions, we support workers' rights to form a union with card check recognition, unions right to assess non-member workers for cost or representation directly benefiting them, and we oppose the use of public funds against union organizing or during labor disputes.

We oppose privatization of public sector jobs and outsourcing of all public and private sector jobs and services. Any labor policy which trades human misery for increased profits is unacceptable. We support protection of all children, nationally and globally, against exploitation in the workplace. We oppose importing products made by forced and/or sweatshop labor.

We support international fair trade agreements, which include union organizing and non-exploitation of workers and children, treaties based on wage parity, workers rights, environmental protections and ongoing efforts to assist organizing independent unions in foreign countries. We oppose the WTO, NAFTA, FTAA, GATT, CAFTA, Fast Track and treaties and agreements that go against democratic principles and supersede local and national laws.

We believe that the official minimum wage should be a family wage and should apply to all workers including guest, migrant and seasonal agricultural workers. We oppose the replacement of permanent and full time workers with increasing reliance on temporary and part time workers.

We urge all employers to develop adequate retirement and health care plans for their employees. We oppose job discrimination based on any non-merit factors.

Legislative Action Items

We support protection of Social Security and oppose any effort to privatize it. We support proposals to direct budget surpluses to save Social Security first and we oppose the use of SSA funds for anything other than authorized Social Security Programs.

We oppose any attempt to repeal or dilute Oregon's minimum wage laws, and all other efforts to erode Oregon's minimum wage such as tip credit and training wages; we reaffirm our support for expansion and full enforcement of the Davis/Bacon Act and Oregon's Prevailing Wage Rule laws, including all publicly funded projects.

Enact legislation that allows for the "card-check" method for workers wishing to have union representation in their workplace; we support the right of all workers, including agricultural workers, without exception, to organize without penalty or interference from the employer.

Create legislation that prohibits the elimination of pension responsibility and collective bargaining contracts through the bankruptcy courts.

We call for legislation preventing employers from hiring permanent replacement workers during a strike, lockout, or labor dispute. We oppose outsourcing government jobs, including signing contracts that outsource as sub-contract positions.

Enact legislation strengthening criminal penalty provisions of the Oregon Safe Employment Act, to include criminal penalties for employers whose violation of health and safety standards results in death or injury of a worker.


 

Election Reform
Opposing Privatization of the Vote and Guaranteeing Transparent Elections that
Reflect the Will of the People

Democratic Principles

The election process must be transparent and voters must have proof that the election results accurately reflect the will of the people.

Efforts must be made to engage all eligible voters in the election process. Any attempt to disenfranchise voters, including burdensome ID requirements, voter suppression tactics, or refusal to restore voting rights to ex-felons, has no place in our system.

Privatization of any aspect of elections (voter registration, casting and counting of votes) has no place in a democratic system.

All eligible voters must have the opportunity to vote and have their vote counted as cast with a procedure that must produce a voter-verified paper ballot, which will be the official ballot of record.

Elective office must be available to all candidates regardless of their personal wealth or that of their associates. We support campaign finance reform that works towards these goals.

Political parties must have the right to decide who can vote to nominate candidates representing those parties.

Legislative Action Items

Create legislation directing the Oregon Secretary of State to develop, use and maintain public ownership of open source software in all aspects of elections, including election management, creation of ballot definition files and vote tallying, and to provide funds for these activities.

Direct the Oregon Secretary of State to require mandatory, scientifically sampled, hand-counted, election results accuracy test of actual paper ballots cast before certifying election results for all federal and state office. If statistically significant discrepancies exist between the tabulated election results and the hand-counted sample, more comprehensive hand counts shall be required.

Establish ID requirements that meet but do not exceed the current requirements of the Help America Vote Act. First-time voters in Oregon, when registering by mail, must present one acceptable form of ID bearing name and current address but may not be asked for ID thereafter.

Create legislation authorizing a local option for Instant Runoff Voting, or other ranked choice voting methods, as the City of Ashland is currently seeking.

Create legislation to require voter verified paper ballots for all federal elections. Create federal legislation restoring the Fairness Doctrine.



Public Safety, Justice and Civil Liberties
Preserving Our Personal Freedoms, While Ensuring our Safety

Democratic Principles

Governments are obligated to keep us safe and secure and to protect constitutionally guaranteed rights and freedoms.

We support the constitutional separation of church and state, and reaffirm the critical value of religious freedom.

We celebrate the diversity of our multi-cultural America and support equal treatment of all peoples within the US. We oppose discrimination based on factors including but not limited to age, disability, ethnicity, gender, marital status, political activity, race, religion, crime victim status, sexual orientation, gender identity or economic status.

Preventing and treating conditions that lead to crime and other threats to public safety often cost less and are more effective. Building strong and healthy communities and individuals must be given priority in funding and development.

Oregonians will continue to respect the government to government relationships with federally recognized, sovereign Indian tribes of Oregon.

We respect the individual's right to privacy and self determination.

Legislative Action Items

We support the restoration of privacy rights by resisting executive efforts to compile databases of private information, wiretap, request records from telecommunications companies and otherwise invade privacy without search warrants or court orders. We support the repeal of the portions of the USA PATRIOT Act that infringe on constitutional rights.

We support privacy rights including protection from identity theft and the misuse of government and corporate records of private individual information.

We support the Smart on Crimeinitiative to evaluate crimes, criminal sentencing criteria, and methods to reduce recidivism and the increased availability of Drug Courts to reduce recidivism and help people move from dependent addiction to functioning members of our communities.

We support a substantial increase in the number of State Police Officers and the restoration of funding for prosecutors and public defenders to reduce all crime and especially methamphetamine use and availability, including strict limits on the world wide production of precursor chemicals.

We support regulating lending practices to prevent predatory terms that destroy the financial stability of families and individuals.

We support protection of the rights of the mentally ill to be treated in the community in which they live; and that the criminal justice system not be used to incarcerate the mentally ill.



Government Reform
Demanding Honesty, Integrity and Competence in Government

Democratic Principles

Legislative decisions should be based upon what is best for the common good of the citizenry, uninfluenced by for-profit corporations and their messengers.

Citizens play a role in government beyond casting votes in elections. This ongoing relationship requires government decisions and activities to be open and visible to the people.

Oregon citizens should retain the abilities, through the initiative process, to create law and to amend the Constitution. Constitutional changes should meet a higher standard for adoption.

Oregonians will continue to respect the government to government relationships with federally recognized, sovereign Indian tribes of Oregon.

Citizens have a right to expect that the government, its programs, and services are professionally and efficiently managed.

The Legislature and government should look forward to, and fully account for, the long-term economic and environmental impacts of policy and financial decisions.

Legislative Action Items

Create voter-owned elections whereby candidates for Oregon office can opt into a publicly financed system that gives them adequate funds with which to run a campaign. Matching funds shall be provided to publicly financed candidates if opponents' funds raised exceeds publicly financed amount.

Adopt Rules in the Oregon Legislature that eliminate secret meetings, require bills to receive a public hearing, and allow a majority to bring a bill to the floor. Restore the role of Parliamentary Advisor as accountable to the Bodies, rather than the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate.

Institute annual legislative sessions.

Institute campaign finance reform limiting corporate donations to candidate and initiative campaigns.

Enact lobbying reform, including strong limits on gifts and strong disclosure requirements at both the state and federal levels.

Require Oregon Constitutional Amendments passed by initiative process receive a super majority of ballots cast.



Ecology and Natural Resources
Providing for Our Needs, While Preserving the Earth

Democratic Principles

Global warming is a reality. What we do in our own "back yard" has a cumulative impact on the whole planet. Therefore we support development and implementation of alternate technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.

We must protect our limited air, land, and water resources. Policy must be shaped by objective, valid and reliable science.

In the long run environmental health and economic prosperity are not in conflict with each other; rather they are interdependent.

We inhabit one earth, and must recognize humans are but one part of a complex system; we must sustain the Earth for future generations.

We believe protection of the environment is possible even if it requires personal, economic and social commitments.

Oregonians should be connected with their ecological heritage and future through the Oregon educational systems and other resources.

Legislative Action Items

While impacts of legislation on private landowners have been the subject of discussion, legislation must also address the impact of private landowner actions on the environment and community values we all share and depend on.

Legislation should support adequate funding to state agencies to effectively implement state and federal environmental laws (CWA, CAA, RCRA, etc.).

Environmental legislation must require that priority be given to human health and environmental factors.

Legislation to improve, not just maintain, the quality of our air, land, and water is a top priority.

The federal Endangered Species Act recognizes that habitat, not just indicator species, must be protected. Oregon should continue to foster a legislative agenda for state lands that protects habitat diversity.

Global warming threatens the earth, and the United States must participate with the rest of the world in a sound international treaty to reverse the trend.



Energy and Transportation
Practicing Conservation While Tapping Human Ingenuity to Fuel the Future

Democratic Principles

Energy independence is necessary to ensure the safety of our country and our citizens, Oregon can and should become a leader in the Nation in the production of clean renewable energy and of alternative fuels, while creating jobs and providing opportunities for farmers, ranchers, and rural communities.

A continued focus on energy conservation, renewable energy production and use as a sustainable long term strategies will enable our state, our country, our planet, to prosper without jeopardizing resources for future generations.

Investment in transportation infrastructure including mass transportation should balance the needs of people of all ages, ability, and socioeconomic status, in both urban and rural Oregon, with the needs of businesses, providing more choices for all.

Oregon has the right to protect the health and safety of its citizens by enforcing strict vehicle emission standards, regulating fuel quality, and setting efficiency standards for appliances offered for sale in the state.

Transportation public policy should strive to minimize the impact on the environment, while providing transportation options that are efficient and cost effective.

All Oregonians have the responsibility to "share the road" with other users, such as motorcycles and bicycles in a manner that is safe and respects the transportation choices that others make.

Legislative Action Items

Invest in the infrastructure needed to create a successful industry in Oregon based on the development, production and use of alternative fuels such as biodiesel and ethanol, and on renewable energy technologies, including high energy yield windmills, geothermal, low-impact hydro, and solar.

Create and expand proven low-cost, effective mass transit systems as a matter of urgency to meet expected increased demand by our growing population, increasing gas prices, and dwindling world oil supplies. Those systems should be appropriate for each city, and include systems for commuters, passengers and goods transportation.

Provide financial, regulatory, and other incentives for energy conservation programs for citizens, businesses, and public institutions, such as implementing "green building" practices to minimize energy use in new construction, updating heating systems and appliances to the most efficient models, and encouraging retail and industrial energy use mainly during off-peak hours, when the overall rate of energy use is lowest.

Develop incentives for the use of energy efficient vehicles and alternative fuels that reduce polluting emissions.

Adopt "green sustainable building" standards from existing standards for all structures funded in whole or in part with state funds.

Continue using the public purpose funds dedicated to conservation and renewables programs without diverting the funds to other uses, and continue supporting the Energy Trust of Oregon in its mission to develop sound energy efficiency and renewable investments for Oregon ratepayers.



Foreign Policy and National Security
Engaging the World through the Strength of Diplomacy, Justice and Rule of Law

Democratic Principles

We believe that our national government should:

Engage the world through diplomacy and cooperation; fulfill its treaty responsibilities and other obligations under international law.

Participate in world climate protocols by ratifying the Kyoto Protocol treaty.

We are a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. We have an obligation to both enforce the law and to respect the basic human rights of all immigrants. We support comprehensive immigration reform that secures our borders, includes a path to citizenship, and contains a guest worker program.

Participate in United Nations reform efforts without threat of withholding dues.

Focus on conflict resolution as the basis of national security.

Continue to support political initiatives in Iraq that reflect the goal of Iraqi sovereignty.

Legislative Action Items

Ratify the International Criminal Court to strengthen its capability to bring terrorists to justice and prosecute individuals for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

Bring US troops home from Iraq within six to twelve months; renounce US interest in permanent US military bases in Iraq; schedule a prompt and orderly withdrawal of US troops from combat positions; accelerate reconstruction spending and grant most reconstruction contracts to local companies employing Iraqis; reduce the Baghdad embassy to normal size and authority.

Focus on conflict resolution as the basis of national security in Israel/Palestine and restore America's role as a neutral broker by insisting that Israel and Palestine comply with UN resolution 242 as required in the roadmap.

Seek ratification and enforcement of Conventions on Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination; on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women; on Rights of the Child; and Against Torture.

Ratify the Mine Ban Treaty to outlaw use of anti-personnel land mines and lead the world in disposal of mines from old minefields.

Support additional Protocols to the Convention on Civil and Political Rights: add enforcement mechanisms; outlaw the death penalty; and prohibit child soldiers, sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.