THE PLATFORM OF THE YOUNG DEMOCRATS OF NORTH CAROLINA
WE BELIEVE in the American values of freedom, fairness, equality, and social justice. We believe the Democratic Party at its best embodies these values, and the Young Democrats of North Carolina exists to advance these principles and give the youth of North Carolina a vehicle for progressive change.
WE SUPPORT a courageous Democratic vision that embodies our values. We support a progressive platform that challenges our State and our Party to keep moving forward.
WE OPPOSE hate, injustice, prejudice, sexism, racism, heterosexism, fascism, communism, terrorism, and any groups that actively work to deprive people of their human rights.
WE BELIEVE agriculture makes important contributions to all North Carolinians. We believe agriculture is essential to the economic growth and sustainibility of the state. We believe in rural economic development that provides thousands of jobs and keeps food affordable.
- Policies that support agricultural research, education, and expanded markets for our farm products.
- Development of environmentally safe means of animal waste disposal.
- Preservation of farmland.
- Increased access to fresh and healthy food in underserved or socio-economically disadvantaged areas.
- Efforts to maintain the health of our agricultural infrastructure and the safety of our food supply.
- Cultivation of vibrant local or regional food movements, including farmer’s markets.
- Deregulation of any infrastructure that maintains the health and safety of our food supply.
WE BELIEVE that all people are created equal at birth. We believe neither our government nor its citizens can deprive a person of liberty based on their sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, racial characteristics, socio-economic status, national origin, disabilities, age, or immigration status.
- Full legal and social equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and genderqueer people.
- Upholding the freedoms of speech, religion, and the press as set forth in the First Amendment.
- Establishing a commission to study the residual effects of slavery on today’s society and provide tangible suggestions and solutions.
- Equal and compassionate treatment for those living with HIV/AIDS.
- Local, state, and federal employment non-discrimination laws that outlaw hiring biases on the basis of race, socioeconomic status, sex, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, creed, ethnic background, national origin, or disability.
- Gender parity and equality.
- Full enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- All forms of discrimination in the military.
- All efforts to undermine the separation of church and state as it is essential to defending religious freedom for all Americans.
- Any efforts by the government to further restrict marriage from persons based on sexual orientation, race, or religion.
CONSUMER PROTECTION AND FINANCIAL SECURITY
WE BELIEVE that government at all levels should protect citizens from unscrupulous business practices.We urge government agencies to continue their efforts to protect consumers and to promote confidence in a marketplace that is free from price fixing, unfair restraints of trade, deception, fraud, and other abuses of the free enterprise system. While we support policies and regulations that ensure fair and responsible practices on the part of the business community, we urge policy makers to avoid excessive regulation that unnecessarily inhibits free enterprise.
- Legislation to guarantee that affordable insurance will be widely available, while respecting claimants’ rights to fair compensation for injury and loss.
- Regulation of financial institutions and public utilities should emphasize high-quality service at a reasonable cost for all consumers, particularly for basic services.
- Efforts to strengthen income support programs (i.e., unemployment compensation, Social Security, veterans’ benefits, etc.).
- A regulatory environment that allows businesses to more effectively compete in the global marketplace, as well as necessary protection of North Carolina-based businesses from unfair trade practices or standards in other states and countries.
- Trade agreements that will not harm the environment, compromise our labor standards, or ignore the open markets of other countries around the world.
- Deregulation of financial infrastructure that would negatively affect North Carolina citizens and businesses.
WE BELIEVE in economic opportunity for all citizens and that government at all levels can play a positive role in supporting economic growth. A strong economy, bolstered by a fair tax system and a vibrant educational structure, is the cornerstone for stable and thriving communities and for the advancement of all citizens.
- Government administration and programs that operate in a fiscally responsible manner.
- A tax system that is progressive and reliable and that allows the state’s businesses to remain competitive; state tax laws that promote ease of compliance and low cost administration.
- Continued diversification of the North Carolina economy, especially the attraction and expansion of technology-oriented and knowledge-based businesses and industries.
- Programs to retain and improve the competitiveness of the state’s traditional economic engines: agriculture and manufacturing.
- Educational opportunity for all citizens – All public schools should receive adequate funding to deliver a quality, basic education.
- Increased government support for higher education to ensure that all North Carolina citizens may choose to pursue post-secondary education.
- All workers being paid a living wage, working in safe and healthy conditions, and having access to training that helps to prepare for or offset changes in the labor market.
- Employment laws and practices that prevent discrimination in the workplace because of race, gender, sexual orientation, creed, religion, disability, or socioeconomic status.
- Adequate unemployment benefits for all workers.
- Public assistance programs that require personal responsibility in return for receiving benefits.
- Small business development. Tax incentives should be designed to support businesses expanding their operations within the state just as incentives are offered to businesses and industries locating in North Carolina from outside the state’s borders.
- Increased funds for building affordable housing and for expanding the dream of home ownership.
- Building a widespread public transportation system throughout North Carolina as a tool to link rural and urban North Carolina and to generate economic growth.
- Continued development of statewide information infrastructures to provide the Internet and other means of communication to all areas of the state to promote the economic, educational, and social goals of North Carolina.
- Efforts to undermine the role of government in promoting equal access and opportunity to utilities, jobs, education, and infrastructure.
WE BELIEVE that under our state constitution, North Carolinians have a right to a high quality education. Our state must have an outstanding education system in order to produce an informed community, to promote economic development, and to build for an economic future characterized by high-skill and high-wage employment.
- Access to education; no one should be denied opportunities based on physical, emotional, mental or learning disabilities, or immigration status.
- Programs that combat illiteracy and promote mentoring. Public schools should offer a comprehensive education in the sciences, humanities, arts, and athletics.
- Programs to expand pre-school opportunities such as the “Smart Start” and “More at Four” initiatives to improve pre-school education and to involve parents/families in the education of their young children.
- Legislation that will raise K-12 teacher salaries across the state to the national average, and efforts to streamline bureaucracy to permit increased focus on quality teaching.
- Policies designed to enhance communication between schools and parents.
- Initiatives to encourage life-long learning among our citizens since education does not end with formal schooling.
- Principles of excellence, affordability, and inclusiveness in higher education. The government and public universities should focus need-based aid efforts on grants rather than loans to reduce student indebtedness.
- Creation of tax policies that support education and families by offering child and educational tax credits.
- Any and all policies that seek to undermine the long-term value of public education for short-term political gains.
WE BELIEVE that a clean and safe environment is critical to the well being of our communities, the prosperity of future generations, and ultimately the survival of human life. We are stewards of the environment and must act accordingly.
- The fundamental right to live in an environment where the generation and effects of pollutants are minimized. We urge particular attention to air and water quality issues.
- Use and development of economically sound, environmentally safe renewable alternative fuels for energy.
- Initiatives that require private and public institutions to recycle waste that is fit to be recycled, and encourages the expansion of recycling programs where feasible.
- National energy policy that decreases dependence on non-renewable energy sources.
- Logging and timber management techniques that foster reforestation and provide a viable habitat for our native wildlife.
- Constant vigilance to ensure the safety of existing nuclear power facilities and the development of efficient and safe means to dispose of or reuse nuclear and hazardous wastes.
- Strengthening laws against illegal dumping of toxic chemicals and waste, and call for aggressive prosecution of those who violate these laws. Those who illegally damage our environment should pay for the cost of clean-up.
- Strategic development of smart growth plans to preserve green space.
- Siting hazardous waste generation and disposal facilities in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.
- Rolling back federal or state measures which ensure clean air and water for all citizens and undermine the progress made on eliminating pollution through automobile efficiency and emissions standards.
GOVERNMENT AND ELECTIONS
WE BELIEVE that the Democratic Party is open to all persons and does not restrict membership based on ideology. However, we recognize the importance of encouraging participation by those persons whose principles generally are in accord with those of the Democratic Party as outlined in the Party Platform. The YDNC believes responsible government should serve all people and encourage their active participation in the political process regardless of their race, age, challenges, sexual orientation, religion, creed, or gender.
- Voting as both a right and a responsibility.
- The right of college students to vote at their college or university without impediment.
- Efforts to register historically underrepresented populations.
- Campaigning honestly and vigorously with a focus on the issues of paramount concerns to our communities, state, and nation.
- “Stand by your ad” laws that require candidates to clearly identify the sponsor of campaign advertisements.
Passage and enforcement of campaign finance reform laws to minimize the effect of money on the ability of a candidate to compete.
- Measures to increase communications and interaction with all parts of the Democratic Party. As young Democrats we especially encourage the Party to include the various auxiliary organizations that form the base of the Democratic Party.
- Impediments to the exercise of the right to vote.
- Voter suppression in the form of Voter IDs, reduced early voting hours, the elimination of same-day registration, or efforts to disproportionally suppress the vote of any group.
- The Citizens United Supreme Court Decision, which allows unbridled corporate funds into campaigns.
HEALTH CARE AND SOCIAL ISSUES
WE BELIEVE that without access to adequate health care, a person cannot contribute to society or support him/herself and his/her family. Therefore, we support a government that ensures health care access to all and promotes social responsibility.
- Access to affordable, quality health care should be available to all citizens, including Medicaid expansion as provided by the Affordable Care Act.
- Reforms that emphasize this principle, including prescription drug coverage for senior citizens.
- Mandatory insurance coverage of prevention and treatment of gender specific health concerns.
- Legislation that encourages medical research in the areas of gender specific health concerns.
- Medical research leading to the prevention and treatment of diseases affecting children.
- Contraceptive methods included in medical coverage.
- Access to family planning as a vital component of health care.
- A woman’s right to reproductive freedom, including abortion procedures as part of comprehensive health coverage provided by governmental and private insurance programs.
- Adequate funding for HIV/AIDS education and prevention programs.
- Persons with HIV/AIDS receiving sufficient funding for HIV/AIDS medications.
- Confidential access for teens to public health and mental health programs.
- Programs to assist small businesses provide health insurance to their employees.
- State and local health departments’ programs to provide quality prenatal care for all mothers during pregnancy.
- Aggressive teen pregnancy prevention efforts across the state.
- Sex education in our public schools that provides factual information on human anatomy and biology, birth control, and sexually transmitted disease.
- Policies that make the practice of medicine in rural areas an attractive option for health care providers.
- Discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, gender, height, weight, sexual orientation, age, national origin, creed, religion, disability, or socioeconomic status.
- Discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS both domestically and internationally.
PUBLIC SAFETY AND CRIME PREVENTION
WE BELIEVE that no citizen of North Carolina should live in fear of crime. We believe that eliminating poverty and providing free public education to all citizens are cost-effective public safety measures.
- Efforts to dramatically reduce crime rates throughout the state and embrace the rights guaranteed to all citizens by the Constitution. Our personal freedom should not be unreasonably compromised.
- All those who wear the badges of public safety and law enforcement.
- Encouraging the funding and organizational support needed by public safety agencies to effectively protect citizens.
- Strict policies on accountability for law enforcement officials (i.e., excessive force).
- Partnerships between schools and local law enforcement to combat illegal drug use and violence in schools.
- Expansion of peer mediation to all middle and high schools to reduce school violence and vandalism.
- Strengthening community policing programs.
- All violent crimes as hate crimes and violent offenders should be aggressively prosecuted; sentencing should be firm, fair and consistent.
- Reasonable regulation of firearms including background checks of all gun purchasers, mandatory firearm training and safety courses, and enhanced sentencing for crimes involving firearms.
- Elevating the rights of victims to at least equal status of the rights of criminals and the accused.
- Include rehabilitation of incarcerated inmates so they can successfully assimilate into society upon their release.
- Revamping the prison system to emphasize rehabilitation, education and job training.
- Reform of the juvenile criminal justice system, with emphasis on rehabilitation and separating juvenile offenders from adult offenders.
- A moratorium on executions to permit a thorough study of the accuracy and fairness of capital convictions.
- Mandatory registration of convicted sex offenders, as well as neighborhood notification where these offenders live.
- Legalization, regulation, and taxation of Marijuana in a manner similar to that of alcohol or tobacco.
- Profiling suspects on characteristics unrelated to a specific or anticipated crime.
- Execution of the mentally handicapped.
WE BELIEVE The Democratic Party is the party of action. Young Democrats should be active in the statewide and local electoral process. Besides electing and supporting Democratic officials and candidates, Young Democrats must live our principals and values through community-based activism.
- Any and all local, regional, and national volunteer efforts that support and uphold North Carolinians and contribute to the maintenance and improvement of the lives and communities of its citizens.
- Any policy that attempts to redefine volunteerism or charitable donations as suitable private sector replacements for the value of public infrastructures that help support our local communities.
Authored and Revised by Gabriel Seth Koch (Platform & Resolutions Chair 2011-2012; Vice President 2012-2013); Jeff Boykin (Platform & Resolutions Chair 2012-2013); and Sam Spencer (President 2011- )