2017 Draft Utah Democratic Party Platform
1. EDUCATING FOR THE FUTURE
Utah Democrats support the right of all children to a quality public education. Public education is the number one issue for Utahns. We find it unacceptable that Utah has the lowest per-pupil spending in the nation. Utah Democrats believe education is an economic equalizer. We believe that a robust and accessible school system from early childhood education to post-secondary certifications and degrees will make our state a more desirable place to live and work.
A strong education system starts with support for teachers, schools, and districts that leads to local solutions to local problems. A long-term funding solution is critical to the future of education in Utah. We must make higher education more affordable to Utah families and invest in technical and vocational programs that create opportunities for people of all ages to pursue a better career and life.
Utah Democrats universally recognize that providing adequate financial resources for education is an investment in the future of our children, our state, and our nation. We place education improvement as our highest priority.
2. CREATING A HEALTHY UTAH
Utah Democrats believe healthcare is a basic right of all Utahns and the private and public sectors should have the combined responsibility for ensuring all Utahns have access to quality, affordable healthcare, including preventive care. Utahns should have the freedom to choose their own legal medical care, including procedures, medicines, and physicians.
Degraded air quality negatively affects the health of seniors, children, those with respiratory problems, and all Utahns. Utah Democrats support policies that address our “worst air” designations throughout the state.
3. GROWING OUR ECONOMY
Utah Democrats believe in the genius of the capitalist economic system that has generated enormous wealth spread across a large middle class, both in the United States generally and in Utah. We support public investment policies that encourage business innovation that creates more jobs for Utahns, as well as educational resources that provide a well-educated workforce.
At the same time, we want to make sure wealth creation “lifts all boats” by supporting policies that assist workers in receiving living wages for their labor, assist in job retraining, and provide higher education opportunities for Utahns. We also support policies that protect consumers from unfair business practices and ensure worker safety in the workplace.
4. IMPROVING GOVERNMENT
Utah Democrats believe in an inclusive electoral process that encourages political participation by all and is not dominated by a few. Therefore, we support campaign donation limits, full disclosure of campaign contributions, open primary elections, fair redistricting, same-day voter registration, and the elimination of straight party voting.
Utah Democrats believe in accountable, transparent, and open government that encourages public participation and reflects the will of Utah citizens. We support open legislative caucuses and decision-making processes.
Utah Democrats support a tax system that places as little burden as possible on working families. We understand the need for taxes as revenue for government services that are essential to the functioning and improvement of our state. Therefore, we favor a tax system that ensures that all pay their fair share of taxes.
5. SUPPORTING UTAH’S VETERANS
Utah Democrats believe our veterans should be given the best mental and physical health care available and helped to adjust to civilian life. We support services for homeless veterans that provide housing and job training.
6. PROMOTING PUBLIC AND PERSONAL SAFETY
Utah Democrats believe all people have a right to be safe in their homes, neighborhoods, and communities. We call for adequate funding to support programs and tools for law enforcement officers, emergency responders, and others who have put their lives at risk and have been injured in the line of duty.
Utah Democrats believe the use of deadly force in law enforcement should be a last resort when all other options for a peaceful resolution have been exhausted, or for the protection of officers and the public.
Meaningful punishment that includes incarceration is a necessary component of public safety; however, most offenders who are incarcerated will one day return to our communities. Utah Democrats recognize the need to fund effective intervention and treatment programs to prevent repeat offenses.
Utah Democrats support the constitutional right of citizens to possess firearms for lawfully defending their families and property and for sporting purposes. We support common-sense measures to reduce gun violence, enhance public safety, and enforce existing gun laws, as well as training on the safe use and storage of firearms.
Utah Democrats believe domestic and foreign terrorism is best fought, by and large, through law enforcement and intelligence agencies at all levels. We believe that information regarding credible threats to our security should be gathered within the constraints of the United States Constitution and should be shared with law enforcement agencies and the military as necessary. We believe that by sharing intelligence concerning terrorism with local police agencies, most acts of terrorism could be stopped before they can be carried out.
7. PROTECTING OUR NATURAL RESOURCES
Utah Democrats believe public lands are national treasures and should remain in federal stewardship. Public lands greatly benefit the Utah economy through recreation, tourism, and well-regulated grazing, mineral extraction, and timber harvesting. Currently, recreation and tourism in Utah, such as hunting, camping, skiing, and fishing, is growing every year and is adding billions of dollars to our economy. That economic benefit must be protected. Utah Democrats are skeptical that public lands transfer to the State will achieve better management of public lands.
Utah Democrats believe human-caused climate change is occurring and is a major issue that affects all Utahns as a result of its negative impacts on our health and our economy and on the world our children will inherit. We believe this issue should be addressed as quickly as possible.
8. RESPECTING FAMILY AND INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS
The party welcomes all, regardless of their views, to join the Utah Democratic Party and support Democratic candidates. Specifically, many Utah Democrats are pro-choice, while many are pro-life, and many are somewhere in between. We believe families should have information and access to health services that help them with their child-bearing decisions.
The following issues will be discussed by the Platform Committee over the next year: