Massachusetts Democratic Party Platform

STATEMENT OF VALUES

Massachusetts Democrats believe in the common good. We know that the strength of our democracy is dependent on the engagement of thoughtful citizens. That is why our party is organized around the basic notion that individuals working together can make a positive impact on their community. Massachusetts Democrats believe that government plays a vital role in the lives of individuals and communities.

PREAMBLE
  • Massachusetts Democrats have ambitious goals.
  • We want health care to be a basic human right;
  • We want everyone to be able to work for a living wage and have the right to organize;
  • We want a high-quality education to be accessible to every person;
  • We want to play an active role in addressing climate change;
  • We want everyone to have a safe and healthy environment, including open spaces;
  • We want to promote clean energy technologies, conservation and efficiency;
  • We want safe and crime free communities;
  • We want all persons to be treated as equals;
  • We want a transparent and ethical government;
  • We want taxes to be reasonable and expenditures to be fairly distributed;
  • We want roads, bridges, and public transportation to be safe and reliable;
  • We want strong national defense, security at home and abroad, and pledge to support veterans and all who have put themselves in harm’s way on our behalf;
  • We want strong diplomacy and support nonviolent conflict resolution as a first resort in our domestic and foreign relations and call for a reduced military budget that allows for investment in human needs;
  • We want voter equality and access to government for all; and
  • We respect and embrace the values of people across the spectrum of beliefs.
EDUCATION

Massachusetts Democrats believe that everyone should have access to high-quality educational opportunities from birth through adulthood. We believe that our education system should successfully prepare our children for life and work. Massachusetts Democrats are committed to investing in public education because we know that it is the cornerstone of our society, our democracy, and our economic future. Massachusetts Democrats Support:

1. High-quality, universal preschool and full-day kindergarten;
2. Closing the achievement gap for poor and minority students;
3. High school dropout prevention programs;

4. Smaller class sizes;

5. Professional development for public educators;

6. High-quality after school and summer enrichment programs;
7. Expanded learning time;
8. The preservation and enhancement of our school and public libraries;
9. Civics education as an integral part of public school curriculum;
10. Accessibility for special needs students and adequate funding;
11. Closer relationship between parents, guardians, teachers and administrators;
12. Innovative programs to encourage recruitment and retention of high quality teachers;
13. Public higher education;
14. College affordability and needs-based financial aid;
15. In-state tuition for all resident students who are admitted to Massachusetts public colleges and universities;
16. Adult Basic Education and English for Speakers of Other Language programs and
17. A safe, supportive and inclusive learning environment for all students and anti-bullying policies in schools that specifically enumerate protection for students who are targeted for harassment on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender variance or identity.
HEALTHCARE AND HUMAN SERVICES

Massachusetts Democrats believe that every person should enjoy good quality of life and good health and well being. We believe that high-quality and affordable health care should be available to all through a single payer government sponsored program like Medicare. We believe that every person and family should have access to what is needed to help them to grow and thrive while living successfully in economic independence. Massachusetts Democrats Support:

1. High-quality, accessible health care services including support services to children and families;
2. Full implementation of health care reform;
3. Eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities;
4. Providing services that support and promote individual choice and civil rights for all people with disabilities
5. Community based mental health and addiction recovery services;
6. Public health initiatives that help economically disadvantaged individuals and families to sustain health, housing, employment, and good nutrition;
7. Adequate funding for medical research to further advance preventative medicine and to find cures for chronic and debilitating diseases;
8. Women’s reproductive rights and woman’s right to choose;
9. Reducing unintended pregnancies; and
10. Veterans’ health services including those who suffer from physical and mental health issues.
ECONOMIC GROWTH

Massachusetts Democrats know that growing our economy is the most pressing issue facing our state. We believe in the importance of job creation and economic opportunities for all to strengthen our state’s middle class. Massachusetts Democrats believe that more jobs alone will not be enough. Therefore, we believe that investments in high-quality health care, education, housing, and infrastructure are essential components of our economic recovery and sustainability. Massachusetts Democrats Support:

1. Promoting innovation through science and technology;
2. A living wage for all workers;
3. Infrastructure and technology investments in all communities;
4. Affordable housing and rental assistance;
5. Foreclosure prevention;
6. Workforce development and job training with heightened attention to green economy; and
7. Full enforcement of consumer protection laws.

Labor Massachusetts Democrats believe that all working people – regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, race, religion, income, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, immigration or refugee status – should have the right to quality, family-sustaining jobs, and access to education and training to make them employable and therefore a contributor to a healthy economy and growing middle class. We believe that the best way to grow the middle class and promote economic equality is to encourage collective bargaining and increased unionization. Massachusetts Democrats Support:

1. The strengthening, enforcement and creation of law guaranteeing all workers the right to organize, bargain collectively and strike;
2. The enactment of the Employee Free Choice Act;
3. A decent living wage for all workers, the state’s Prevailing Wage Law and Responsible Employer Ordinance, the use of Project Labor Agreements, and a minimum wage that is indexed to inflation;
4. The strengthening, enforcement and creation of O.S.H.A. protections and other current and proposed laws and regulations to promote a safe, healthy and secure workplace for all workers;
5. The strengthening, enforcement and creation of laws to discourage and prohibit the outsourcing of Massachusetts jobs to states and countries with lower labor standards, and the use of public funds to pay for the services of union avoidance consultants;
6. Increased assistance for job training, workforce development and job creation programs and
7. The creation of laws and regulations making high-quality health care accessible to all Americans, and the right of workers to take time off work to seek medical care for themselves or their family members without risk of losing their jobs.
ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT

Massachusetts Democrats believe in safeguarding the health of our citizens, protecting natural ecosystems, and catalyzing green economic growth. We believe that people have the right to clean air, clean water, and a safe and healthy environment. We believe that promoting clean-energy technologies, energy conservation, and energy efficiency is critically important to lowering energy costs, enhancing energy security and reliability, growing green jobs, and reaping environmental benefits. Massachusetts Democrats Support:

1. Preserving our natural resources and protecting and expanding our open spaces;
2. Protecting our air and water;
3. Environmental justice for low income and minority communities;
4. Reducing toxic chemicals in the environment;
5. Providing clean, reliable, and renewable energy;
6. Energy conservation and energy efficiency;
7. Protecting our wildlife and natural habitats and prioritizing the preservation of open spaces and urban wilds by all means necessary, including state and municipal acquisition;
8. Reducing waste and increasing recycling in all of our communities;
9. Smart Growth development;
10. Increasing investments and promotion of public transportation throughout the Commonwealth;
11. Water and waste water infrastructure improvements; and
12. Promoting those strategies which will quickly stabilize atmospheric carbon dioxide at a maximum of 350 parts per million and protect against further climate change, in accord with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE

Massachusetts Democrats believe that the Commonwealth’s transportation system should be safe, efficient, reliable, and cost-effective. We believe that our system of roads, bridges, ports, airports and transit, should be well-maintained and built to promote economic development, connect workers with jobs, and knit together our communities. We believe that transportation investments should be made that promote the creation of housing development and employment opportunities, while preserving our natural and cultural landscapes. Massachusetts Democrats Support:

1. A multi-modal, system that equitably distributes the costs of building, operating, and maintaining the system;
2. Increasing public transportation alternatives;
3. Multi-modal solutions to improve mobility and relieve congestion;
4. Acknowledging the intersection between transportation and public health;
5. Investments in roads and bridges to address decades of neglect; and
6. A transportation system that is environmentally conscious and lowers our dependence on foreign and environmentally destructive sources of energy.
PUBLIC SAFETY AND CRIME PREVENTION

Massachusetts Democrats are committed to being tough and smart on crime. We believe that every person should live in a community that is safe and crime free. Therefore, we support investments in strategies to reduce recidivism and prevent crime. Massachusetts Democrats Support:

1. Strong enforcement of state and federal gun laws;
2. Addiction prevention and addiction recovery programs;
3. Strong victims’ rights;
4. Providing services and supervision for every person returning to the community from prison;
5. Leveraging technology to drive intelligence-led law enforcement efforts;
6. Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) reform;
7. Strong state laws and enforcement against hate crimes, child abuse, domestic violence, elder abuse, sexual abuse and abuse that is directed against people with disabilities; and
8. Strong intervention and child abuse prevention programs and services for youth and at-risk individuals.
REVENUE AND EXPENDITURES

Massachusetts Democrats believe in fiscal responsibility. We also believe that responsible investments today will provide positive outcomes in our communities for years to come. We believe that taxes and fees should be fairly distributed and reasonably assessed. Massachusetts Democrats Support:

1. Fair and equitable taxes and fees;
2. Sustainable and predictable state revenue streams;
3. Property tax reform to help cities and towns;
4. Revenues being committed towards strategic investments in our future;
5. Balanced budgets; and
6. Eliminating waste and finding savings and efficiencies within government.
ETHICS AND TRANSPARENCY IN GOVERNMENT

Massachusetts Democrats believe that public officials should be held to the highest standards of integrity and accountability. We believe that government should be open and inclusive. We know that restoring the public’s trust in government is critically important to the future of our democracy. Massachusetts Democrats Support:

1. Public hearings and other opportunities for citizens to weigh into the legislative process;
2. Utilizing technology which is accessible to allow citizens to more directly interface with government and public services; and
3. Comprehensive ethics and campaign reform.
JUSTICE AND CIVIL RIGHTS

Massachusetts Democrats believe in equal justice under the law for all. We believe that discrimination based on race, gender, sexuality, religion, age, and disability has no place in our communities. Massachusetts Democrats are committed to protecting individual’s rights to freedom of speech, religion, press, and due process under the law. Massachusetts Democrats Support:

1. Equal opportunities for employment, education, health care, and housing for all;
2. Government’s role in protecting individual civil rights;
3. Ending racial and religious profiling;
4. Marriage equality; and
5. Remaining a death penalty free state.
VOTING AND DEMOCRACY

Massachusetts Democrats believe that voting is a right not a privilege, and that every step should be taken to ensure that all eligible citizens vote in every election. This means that registration should be made as easy as possible, polls should be safe and accessible, and no citizen should be denied access to the polls. We believe every vote should be counted and that all ballots cast should produce an independent auditable record. Massachusetts Democrats Support:

1. Efforts to register, educate, mobilize, and turnout voters;
2. Eliminating voter participation barriers;
3. Same day registration, early voting and no excuse absentee ballots;
4. Increasing voter participation among underrepresented communities;
5. Eliminating barriers for women, minority, and disabled individuals to run for public office;
6. Easing barriers for limited English-speaking voters;
7. Well trained and voter-friendly poll workers who enhance the voter experience even for those who do not speak English; and
8. Voting systems that guarantee that every ballot is counted and secure and that provide an auditable paper trail.