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Connecticut Democratic Party Platform

PREAMBLE

Connecticut Democrats reaffirm, now more than ever, our commitment to rebuild prosperity and restore opportunity for all people. From town councils to the state legislature to the United States Congress, and from city halls to the Governor’s Office, Connecticut Democrats will listen and lead. We will be on the side of people striving for good jobs at fair wages, quality health care, educational excellence, prudent fiscal management, and an equal opportunity to achieve the American dream.


The foundation of our Platform is one that measures our success by the success of the communities in which we live.  The values of our platform include: an accessible and thriving education system from birth through workforce and beyond; an economic recovery shared by all; safe state infrastructure; equal protection under the law; and an overall good quality of life.

To achieve our goals, the principles of fairness, equality and ethical practices guide us.  We will pursue new technologies and infrastructure to create jobs.  We will champion fair wages, work and health benefits to stimulate growth and innovation. We will deliver superior education for our youth across the state to ensure a sustainable future.  And we will do it through prudent fiscal management.

Connecticut Democrats reaffirm, now more than ever, our commitment to rebuild prosperity and restore opportunity for all people.  From town and city councils to the state legislature, from the United States Congress to city halls and the Governor’s office, Connecticut Democrats will listen and lead.  We will be on the side of people striving for good jobs at fair wages, quality health care, educational excellence, wise financial management, and an equal opportunity to achieve the American dream.  The following principles contain meaningful action items for the people of Connecticut:

Education

A quality public education is the surest path to prosperity, giving all students the opportunity to fulfill their dreams and contribute to our economy and democracy.  We are committed to ensuring that every person in Connecticut has access to a world-class public education so we can make sure Connecticut continues to prepare students for the future.  This requires investing in excellence and funding every level of our education system, from early learning through post-secondary education.  It means we must lift achievement overall, and crucially, close the achievement gaps in Connecticut’s schools in order to ensure that every child, regardless of ethnicity, family income, race, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, gender identity, or zip code, benefits from high quality educational opportunities.

Connecticut Democrats challenge ourselves and our fellow residents to stand up for a state-wide solution for high quality early childhood education.  The benefits to our children and our state in the long-term range from increased literacy to reduced incarceration, from increased graduation rates to reduced addiction rates.  This is the most worthwhile investment we can make in the future of our state and as Democrats we are proud to champion this issue.

Cost-sharing measures are necessary as our state considers effective investment of resources and accountability measures.  We recognize these may involve regionalization of some services and resolve to be sensitive to these considerations in legislation and public policy.

Connecticut Democrats salute the public school teachers of our state, whose dedication and skill represents the essential elements of educational excellence.  We pledge to work collaboratively with teachers, school administrators, and parents, in developing measures to continuously strengthen public education in every community in the state.

Connecticut Democrats also know that our State’s long-term prosperity depends on a system of public higher education characterized by excellence at every level, access for students of all backgrounds and ages, and responsiveness to the needs of our rapidly changing society.  We support the goal of making our institutions of higher education models of the nation in teaching, research, and service.  We will work toward the ultimate goal of making community colleges tuition free and assuring that students at these and other public higher education institutions can emerge degrees in hand unencumbered by a lifetime of debt.

Income Growth and Economic Security

The economy must serve the needs of the many, not create profits for a few.

The fight for a living wage continues here in Connecticut. Today, we resolve to continue pushing our legislature and business community toward a $15 per hour minimum wage.  As a practical number this has been effective in other areas of the country and neighboring states, and as a tenet it is emblematic of our efforts to lift the working poor by recognizing that in a state flourishing with wealth, the chasm of income inequality runs deeper and wider than any other state.  We resolve to continually focus on lifting the working poor and working class and remain confident that all businesses will be lifted by increasing the economic security of the working people of Connecticut.

We also understand that we are joined on the path to higher wages by businesses, and that they are supported by a working class organized either by their fundamental right to collectively bargain or the value of their skill set in relation to the demands of the market and industry.  We will support efforts to protect unions and their ability to organize workers.

It is critical that businesses understand the value added to their prosperity by a working class supported with benefits covering all aspects of health, retirement, paid family medical leave, and leisure.

The balance between the working and business classes is rooted in a practical and rational tax policy for individuals, small businesses, and corporations.  The Democratic Party will revise and implement tax policy with consideration of our short-term risks and long-term aspirations to provide a foundation for working families to succeed and prepare businesses for success in Connecticut.

Small Business and Economic Development

Small businesses are major drivers of our economy within communities across Connecticut.  Our focus on creating a living wage and supporting the working and middle class is in direct alignment with ensuring that small businesses are provided with the tools and resources to flourish.  Encouraging small business development and entrepreneurship is a major boost to “Main Street” across Connecticut and we should embraces these efforts wholeheartedly.

Health Care

Connecticut is privileged to be led by one of the most experienced Democratic congressional delegations in the nation.  As a result of this experience our representatives have been able to be on the front lines of legislation reinforcing the Affordable Care Act, expanding Medicaid, and protecting Medicare, to the benefit of Connecticut residents and citizens across the country.

It is our duty as Democrats to follow the power of their example by acknowledging the momentum our country is on towards a single payer system that provides complete coverage, not a patchwork, and comprehensive coverage defined as coverage of all services requiring a healthcare professional including women’s health, mental health, dental health, reproductive health and transgender health care.

Demonstrating to our representatives and fellow residents our vision for the future of medical care is a bold and progressive step to reject the core Republican principle that if you can’t afford health care than you don’t deserve it.  We are proud to advocate alongside our congressional delegation for health care as a fundamental right and expanding the fight for health justice to the entire country.  Our party shall not rest until every person in Connecticut has comprehensive health insurance that covers every health need.

Environment

The tranquility of our landscape, from the brackish wetlands on the shoreline, to the narrow tracks of the Appalachian Trail, to the trickling waterfalls of the Quiet Corner are well appreciated by citizens on all points of the political spectrum.  And so, we will continue to advocate for the preservation of our lands, forests, farmlands, and waterways, culminating in the understanding of our agriculture heritage, place in the larger environment as it pertains to the health of the Long Island Sound in our region, and clean water and air for all people.

As the energy industry evolves towards alternative sources we must maintain an open yet regulated approach to natural gas and enforce recent legislation meant to protect our citizens from the dangers and waste that can result from fracking.  In addition, if land development is required it must be done with regard for preserving ecosystems and contain foresight for the communities that will be impacted.

One of Connecticut Democrats’ greatest examples of bipartisanship has been working with Republicans and business leaders in expanding green energy initiatives. This has been so successful because our business community benefits from one of the most profitable emerging industries in the region and globally, while Democrats get to uphold several of our primary values such as ending our dependence on fossil fuels, protecting our communities from the harmful and undeniable impacts of climate change, and energizing the green economy in our state to the financial benefit of homeowners.  We shall champion the development and use of renewable energy.  We should continue to identify opportunities for bipartisanship on issues impacting the green economy, as well as making it known to environmentally conscious companies that we are open for business.

Criminal Justice Reform

The time for legalization of Marijuana has come. Doing so will raise revenue, which can be used to benefit those suffering from the disease of addiction to prescription pain medications and other opioids.  Connecticut should follow “Best Practice” from other states to detect and prevent impaired driving.  However, this is not enough. We must immediately move towards early release of non-violent drug offenders, starting with those incarcerated for Marijuana offenses.

Connecticut should continue its progress as one of the national leaders towards reducing our state prison population. More efforts need to be made on overall sentencing reform to ensure that we are doing everything we can to avoid the channel of young men of color being sent to prison at disproportionate rates.  We should also take steps to eliminate hurdles that prevent formerly incarcerated individuals from receiving adequate training, getting good jobs, and voting in our elections.

In the face of violence and discrimination it is critical that a legislative solution be enacted if the citizens of a district feel a state’s attorney is allowing injustice to persevere.

Women’s Rights, Racial Justice, and LGBTQ Rights

Domestic abuse and sexual abuse is a scourge upon the state of Connecticut. We shall strive to enact laws and education which better protects those most vulnerable among us.

Sexual harassment and assault, both inside and outside the workplace, impacts the lives of many Connecticut families.  Connecticut Democrats are resolved to continually work to support policies that protect victims.

Racism is still a strong force in the United States and has become more evident under the current federal administration.  Public institutions inadvertently or intentionally violate the rights of people of color.  The Connecticut legislature must continually act, through law and deed, toward eliminating institutional racism.  We recognize and engage the specific challenges facing women, and in particular women of color.

LGBTQ rights are frequently targeted in spite of years of reflection, development, healing, and progress by members of the Democratic Party.  We should continually push to knock down barriers that restrict civil rights and ensure that sexual discrimination legislation includes the LGBTQ community.  As Democrats we resolve to dedicate legislative solutions and state resources to these issues and challenges.

Guns

Connecticut Democrats are proud to stand behind common sense gun violence prevention measures. As a result, Connecticut has one of the lowest gun death rates in the country.

Gun violence in our urban centers needs to be addressed. This can be supported through incentivized proactive measures such as buybacks, and reinforcing “no questions asked” protections where appropriate in order to get guns off the streets.

Connecticut can do more. There is progress to be made in the areas of Domestic Violence and Extreme Risk protections as these scenarios are a source of mass shooting violence and gun suicide.

Infrastructure and Transportation

Connecticut Democrats understand the important role a robust transportation system plays in revitalizing our state’s economy.  We believe that there must be a forward-looking, comprehensive plan for strategic investments in infrastructure.  We recognize that we will not resolve our transportation needs overnight and Connecticut’s transportation system has critical and immediate needs that must be met.  That is why Connecticut Democrats led the fight to support the creation of a lockbox for transportation funding, to ensure that dollars raised for the purposes of investing in infrastructure are spent on infrastructure, for the good of our taxpayers, allies in labor, businesses, and the future of our state and economy.

Expanding alternative modes of transportation, such as rail and busways, is critical to any long-term planning as we work to ease congestion of our highways.  Connecticut has the opportunity to take advantage of the rapid bus system that is under construction as well as the wealth of water assets that could be utilized as part of a port system.  Transforming Connecticut’s infrastructure system must include stakeholders representing all of our communities and must take into consideration the opportunities to protect and take advantage of our natural resources and assets, improve our citizens’ quality of life, and plan for our future economy.

Our proximity to urban centers, united by our investment in high speed rail, will bring jobs, increase tourism, and demonstrate to young people that they can build a professional and personal culture right here in Connecticut and our trains will carry them on this journey.

One of the challenges facing the success of our students and our state’s long-term ability to draw in new business is the availability of high-speed broadband networks.  Equity of internet access will be a valuable asset in these efforts.

Voting Rights

The sanctity of our elections and voting systems must be upheld and free from malicious influence.  Voting is a fundamental right that must be protected.  Current voter ID laws need to remain intact. In addition, we should protect Election Day registration, continue supporting the Citizens’ Election Program, uphold our commitment to the National Popular Vote, and support No Excuse absentee and early voting.

Immigration

Connecticut Democrats resolve to do everything we can to protect Dreamers, refugees, and other residents from any anti-immigration aggression.  This should include stabilizing and expanding upon the 2013 Trust Act.  We believe that all members of our community, including immigrants, should be treated equally, with respect and dignity in their homes, workplaces, places of worship, within the legal system, and throughout the state.  We honor the valuable contributions made by immigrants over the years to the community values of hard work, innovative discovery, business expansion, and devotion to family.  We also believe that undocumented immigrants, who are particularly vulnerable, should be afforded every opportunity to achieve permanent status.

Free Press

The support of Connecticut’s free press to our political process has been one of the defining hallmarks of politics in this state.  The press has effectively been a counter-check to power and a resource to Connecticut’s people, and we as Democrats resolve to never threaten them, even when we inevitably become subjects in their pursuit of the truth.

 


 

Epilogue

Public service must rise above that of self-interest.  We will foster a government that speaks directly and honestly to its constituents, a government in which our citizens can trust and actively participate.

We will foster opportunity and security for all people.

We are fiscally responsible and accountable to the public.

We support fair and responsible state budgets that ensure basic human needs are met throughout the state.

We commit ourselves to improving the quality of life for all the people of Connecticut.

We want all Connecticut residents to have quality and affordable healthcare.

We champion and advance human rights and all laws and privileges shall be upheld, regardless of a person’s age, ethnicity, race, country of origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disability, or political affiliation.

We commit to a woman’s right to choose, and a couple’s right to marry as guaranteed by Connecticut law.

We will be responsive to the needs of the private sector to attract jobs and enhance smart growth in Connecticut, including private-public partnerships.

We support a sound energy policy that helps consumers, local governments, and businesses.

We are a people of many faiths, practices and beliefs, and we believe that respect for diversity and all traditions will create a stronger society as a whole.  We as Democrats will continue to strive to uphold individual dignity and embrace the value of diversity, while working to preserve and promote the sense of kinship that unites us all in our daily struggles and successes.

For Connecticut’s Future

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