2016 Platform of the DeKalb County Democratic Party

The DeKalb County Democratic Party finds strength in its community. We are your neighbors, your coworkers, your friends and your family. We will continue to fight for fairness, equality, and opportunity for all. We believe in a society, which has as its guiding principles:

To sustain a society and a vital democracy, citizens must have a living wage. All workers are entitled to fair pay and good working conditions for their labor.

We therefore enthusiastically support and will work to accomplish these goals:
• programs and policies that encourage job growth and pay a living wage jobs with benefits, therefore promoting community well-being.
• fair growth. The overwhelming majority of benefits from economic growth have gone to the most wealthy, while the poor and middle class have experienced declines. This is unacceptable, unfair and unsustainable.
• the right to organize, join unions, and bargain collectively for a living wage, a 40 hour week, overtime, and workplace safety.

The key to prosperity and the wisest investment we can make for the future in a competitive global economy is education. Quality public education is essential to providing equal opportunity for success. It is critical for the maintenance of a democratic society and to create opportunities for all its citizens.

We therefore enthusiastically support and will work to accomplish these goals:
• equal access to public educational services.
• vibrant early childhood education and public schools that offer a well-rounded curriculum in the sciences, humanities, civics, arts, and physical education.
• preserving and expanding the principle of exceptional, affordable, and inclusive life-long higher education through continued strong support of Northern Illinois University and Kishwaukee College.
• utilizing all of our County’s educational assets to help improve the quality of life for all through sustainable economic development of our local businesses and industry.
• adequate and equitable education funding through a combination of revenue sources rather than solely by property taxes.
• working toward greater federal funding of higher education by sources such as the proposed tax on speculative investments.

 With climate change in mind, we must promote sustainable environmental policies that protect our future resources, rich farmland and quality of life in DeKalb County.

We therefore enthusiastically support:
• the current DeKalb County Unified Comprehensive Plan as a positive step toward smart growth, preserving the heritage of family farming, and protecting land.
• regional approaches to land use, drainage, and transportation, with greater emphasis on mass transit.
• an increased commitment to public transportation to help reduce our carbon footprint and provide all residents of DeKalb County equal access to all our county has to offer.
• more land acquisition for public use and recreational green space for County citizens.
• the provision of more efficient government services throughout the County.
• land use that encourages pedestrian and bicycle transportation throughout the County.
• annual audit of existing recycling programs and policies to ensure set percentages of recycled materials are being reused
• the cultivation and processing of hemp as part of a regular crop rotaion
• timely maintenance and upgrading of infrastructure with the use of sustainable materials.

Our party recognizes the scientific reality of human-caused climate change and the imperative to quickly advance the use of renewable energy sources.

We therefore enthusiastically support and will work to accomplish these goals:
• tax incentives to encourage residential installation of energy-efficient devices and incentives to produce new residential and business construction that incorporates energy efficiency.
• the incorporation of energy-efficient systems into the construction of government and municipal buildings.
• continued support of development of wind and solar energy Infrastructure.
• improved access to sustainable biofuels.
• support for reduced-energy farming techniques
• insistence that landfill waste be used to generate energy in any way possible.

Our party has a long history of supporting justice for all. Racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity is a source of our country’s strength, and a competitive advantage in the global economy.

We therefore enthusiastically support and will work to accomplish these goals:
• a more inclusive society by promoting social, economic, and geographic mobility regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation.
• continued development of cooperation among all levels of government and educational institutions toward raising awareness of and support for cultural diversity
• rebuilding the social safety net to provide the residents in our county the necessary support they need to achieve the American Dream.
• legalizing, taxing, and regulating the possession and use of cannabis for adults.
• comprehensive criminal justice reform including review of excessive and mandatory minimum sentencing.
• Expanding access to mental health counseling and career training in prisons and jails in order to reduce recidivism rates.

 Available, affordable health care is a basic human right.

We therefore enthusiastically support and will work to accomplish these goals:
• universal access to affordable, comprehensive health care including a public option. The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) must be supported as a step toward this goal.
• expanding Social Security, so that every American can retire with dignity and respect.
• increasing Medicare, Medicaid and the State Childrens’ Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
• programs and policies that improve access to health care for veterans.
• negotiation of drug prices to benefit people rather than drug companies.
• the right of women to control their own bodies.
• better mental health care accessibility.

Decent affordable housing is a basic human right.

We therefore enthusiastically support programs, policies and organizations that:
• provide shelter for the homeless and abused.
• allow senior citizens in the county to stay in their homes.
• help homeowners in the county to keep their homes.
• promote home ownership by those of lower and moderate income.
• protect the rights of renters.
• assure accessibility to housing for people with disabilities.

The public safety of our citizens is a basic human right and the responsibility of our government and community.
We therefore enthusiastically support and will work to accomplish these goals:
sane, logical, and adequate regulation of guns, comprehensive background checks, and gun owner liability insurance.
• programs that will enrich public safety without violating constitutional rights to privacy and dissent.
• increased diversion of nonviolent offenders to evidence-based problem-solving treatment courts such as drug and mental health courts.
• community Watch programs
• after-school and intervention programs for at-risk youth.
• adequate training in mental health, diversity, crisis intervention and de-escalation for public safety workers with oversight and accountability of law enforcement and community policing.

 The DeKalb Democratic Party works to protect the votes of all individuals. We believe excessive money in politics has become a threat to our democracy.

We therefore enthusiastically support and will work to accomplish these goals:
• that corporations are not people, and do not have the same rights such as free speech.
• that money is not speech
• effective policies that encourage greater voter participation in elections at all levels of government including automatic registration and accessibility for people with disabilities.
• restoration and expansion of the full 1964 Voting Rights Act.
• requiring continued use of voting mechanisms that are verifiable through paper trails and audits.
• exclusion of government contractors as contributors to elections in both money and resources.
• campaign finance reform for elections at all levels of government.
• nonpartisan redistricting at all levels of government.
• establishment of election day as a federal holiday.

We support responsible budgeting through a mix of increased revenue and cost reduction.

We therefore enthusiastically support and will work to accomplish these goals:
• restoring the fair and equitable sharing of costs and services among the different levels of government.
• responsible spending.
• progressive and graduated state income tax.
• promotion of a federal financial transaction tax to curb speculation.
• a Constitutional amendment that requires that if the budget is not passed by May 31st, last year’s budget goes into effect.