The Platform of the Massachusetts Democratic
PART I: FAMILIES & CHILDREN, DIVERSITY & COMMUNITY
Families and Individuals.
We seek to strengthen the families and individuals of the Commonwealth in
all their diversity. To this end, we support policies that ensure equality
of opportunity, enrich our children, foster economic security, and promote
Inclusion, Diversity and Affirmative Action.
We celebrate the diversity of our Commonwealth and country, and we oppose
discrimination in any form it takes. We are proud to stand as the Party
of, and the Party for, all people, without regard to race, gender, religion,
language, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, economic
circumstance or other characteristics. We have been, and will be, the Party
that is the defender of individual rights, while remaining the strong champion
for the common good. We restate our support for Affirmative Action, to ensure
equal opportunity for all citizens.
No Child Left Behind.
We believe that young people are our most precious resource, and we see
inherent worth and promise in every child. Ours is truly the Party that
seeks to “Leave No Child Behind.”We endorse, therefore, the goals established
under The Children’s Defense Fund initiative of that name, to ensure every
child a healthy start, a head start, a fair start, a safe start, and a moral
start. To realize these objectives, we propose new commitments to reducing
class sizes, making early childhood education universal, and expanding after-school
opportunities. We reaffirm our support for Healthy Start, Head Start funded
to enroll every eligible child, and WIC. We call for increased professionalism
and accountability in our foster care system, improved adoption procedures,
and vigorous enforcement of child support. We support a range of options
for preventing teen pregnancy, including comprehensive health and sex education,
school-based clinics, abstinence, peer counseling, and career services.
Family & Medical Leave and Help for Parents and Children.
We believe that mothers and fathers deserve the full backing of our society,
including in the workplace. We support the existing federal Family & Medical
Leave Act, but recognize it does not go far enough in meeting the needs
of all working families because many cannot afford to take unpaid time off
or work for employers not covered by its mandate. Paid family and medical
leave would ensure that workers are not forced to choose between work and
their own health needs or the care and wellbeing of their families and children.
We support full-day kindergarten and afterschool programs that aid children
and young people while helping parents better balance sometimes conflicting
responsibilities to family and work.
We reaffirm our support for The Equal Rights Amendment to the constitution
of the Commonwealth on the 25th anniversary of its ratification, and the
principle enshrined within it. We support legislation to end unjust gender
discrimination in insurance terms and rates. We advocate policies to end
genderbased discrimination and disparities in the workplace, and to improve
pension security for women. We call for equal emphasis on women’s health
concerns in health research and safety testing, and for insurance coverage
We believe that commitments to the financial security and physical well-being
of older Americans are core values of our Party, and we oppose all proposals
that would undermine or dismantle Medicare and Social Security. We strongly
support the range of programs funded through The Older Americans Act, as
well as other federal and state efforts, to help elders maintain lives of
dignity and independence, and to remain in their own homes and communities
if they wish. We recognize and seek to alleviate the crisis in home health
care services that jeopardizes the safety and well-being of tens of thousands
of seniors, persons with disabilities, and others in the Commonwealth. We
recognize that seniors are too often the targets of telemarketing fraud,
and we urge the passage of legislation establishing tough standards for
telemarketers and stiff penalties for violations.
Persons with Disabilities.
We reaffirm our support for The Americans with Disabilities Act and other
laws to prevent discrimination on the basis of disability, and for efforts
to bring the Commonwealth into full ADA compliance. We believe state assistance
should be made more readily available for community-based care, and should
not be inappropriately biased toward institutional settings. We seek to
remedy the shortage of housing that is both affordable and accessible to
disabled Americans. We endorse efforts to improve access to basic services
like transportation, and to fundamental rights like the ballot box, through
more accessible voting equipment and other means. We believe that personal
assets spend-down provisions of CommonHealth with respect to nursing home
care for the disabled and elderly should be made less onerous.
We support equal treatment of domestic partners in health insurance, pension
access, and inheritance, and we support the provision of domestic partnership
benefits in the private and public sectors, including for both state and
federal employees. We oppose actions that would define marriage solely as
a relationship between a man and a woman, and that would ban the recognition
of any other relationship as marriage or its legal equivalent. We oppose
efforts that would ban the provision of any benefits to gay and lesbian
families that are now granted exclusively to married couples under Massachusetts
We reaffirm our support for the social and economic integration of immigrants,
and we support a legalization process that is pro-family, pro-work, pro-responsibility,
and pro-citizenship as an essential element of America’s continued vitality.
We reaffirm our support for legal immigrants and their right to public benefits,
and we adamantly reject political modes of expression that make scapegoats
of immigrants. We support programs expediting the acquisition of English
language skills. We oppose attempts to impose English-only standards in
We thank the men and women of the Commonwealth who have served our nation
in peace and in war, and remember those who have given their lives as members
of the United States Armed Forces. We reaffirm our commitment to ensuring
veterans’ access to quality medical care through the facilities and programs
of the Veteran’s Administration. We support additional coverage for the
treatment of veterans’ illnesses such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,
Gulf War Syndrome and other diseases resulting from agents of war, including
specifically through exposure to Agent Orange.
Youth and Civic Involvement.
We believe in the energy and idealism of young people as a force for social
change and justice in the world around us. We strongly support initiatives
to connect young people to the community at large and curricula that seek
to instill in students the civic values that underpin our diverse democracy.
We encourage volunteerism among high school and college students. We restate
our backing for programs like AmeriCorps that offer young people a way to
come together to serve the needs of their communities.
Responsibility to Community.
We recognize the ongoing value and importance of volunteerism and service
to our communities, our Commonwealth, and our nation. We assert the responsibility
of each of us to support and participate in volunteer organizations, community
service programs, and initiatives designed to promote community improvement.
We acknowledge and commend the work of grassroots citizen groups who have
been responsible for so many advances in so many just and important causes
of concern to our Party.
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