Butler County Platform

Official platform of the Butler County, Iowa Democratic Party. Adopted by consensus at the Butler County Democratic Convention on March 12, 2016.

I. Statement of Principles

The Butler County Democrats believe the legitimate function of government is to accomplish goals which we cannot achieve as individuals.  The government must be truly representative and work for the good of all people, striving to achieve peace, opportunity, fairness and prosperity for all.

We demand that our governing bodies develop policies and laws that permanently protect our environment from wasteful and indiscriminate use.

We support an economic system that provides for basic human needs: nourishment, shelter, health, employment and education.

We believe in government that preserves and protects basic constitutional and civil rights and provides equal opportunities for all people.

We urge our government to stand with other nations to foster human rights, rule of law and civil society throughout the world.

II. Statement of Issues

A. Agriculture and Environment

  1. We support family farms through banning packer ownership of livestock and strict enforcement of anti-trust laws.  Corporate incursion into production agriculture must be prohibited in order to halt the destruction it is causing to rural society and the environment.
  2. We support environmental standards for the regulation of feedlots and hog confinement facilities and urge strict enforcement of these regulations, standards and enforcement to be set at the county level.
  3. We urge Congress at the Federal and State levels to increase assistance and incentives for development of alternative renewable energy sources as well as for improving energy conservation and efficiency.
  4. We support efforts to reduce reliance on coal and other fossil fuel energy sources.
  5. We oppose expansion of atomic energy facilities and support stronger regulations for current nuclear-powered facilities which could include phasing out these facilities.
  6. We support the Clean Water and Clean Air acts encourage strict enforcement of these programs with stronger fines and penalties for polluters.
  7. We support efforts to preserve farmland and reduce urban sprawl.
  8. We support diversified family farm agriculture that grows our rural communities.  Price supports and other Federal farm program monies should be limited for large corporate farms and directed toward smaller family farms.
  9. We recognize that fracking is not a long term solution to our energy needs, it is a short term solution that causes long term problems.

 B. Economy, Commerce and Labor

  1. We support responsible economic development programs that encourage businesses to bring jobs that pay well to Iowa and offer responsible incentives to companies to keep jobs in the United States. We insist on imposing disincentives to companies that renounce their US citizenship to evade US taxes.
  2. We support a living wage, starting immediately by raising the minimum wage to $15.00/hr. with annual Cost of Living adjustments tied to inflation.
  3. We call for Federal and State legislation to provide full protection of worker pension funds.  All retirement funds, including Social Security should be kept separate from other funds and used exclusively for pensions.
  4. We support removing the cap on all income, including capital gains, subject to Social Security withholding.
  5. We support enforcement of mandatory overtime pay for persons working more than 40 hours per week.
  6. We support the revision trade agreements and demand that future trade agreements protect public health, the environment, human rights and the rights of laborers for all parties to the agreement.
  7. We support efforts to strengthen unions by revoking the “Right to Work” act and by allowing collection of union security or “fair share” fees.
  8. We support taxing capital gains at the same rate as ordinary income.
  9. We support former Senator Harkin’s Wall Street Fair Share Act, making high volume, high speed financial transactions less attractive by imposing a financial speculation tax.
  10. We support restoring the separation of commercial banking and securities trading by amending the Dodd-Frank Act and repealing the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.
  11. We support capping usury interest rates at 36% so that payday lenders can’t charge up to 400% trapping people in a cycle of debt.
  12. We oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement and “Fast Track” policy to negotiate future trade agreements. 

C. Education

  1. We oppose diverting public monies away from public preK-12 schools to fund vouchers, tuition tax credits or private, for profit education businesses.
  2. We support robust funding for public schools, community colleges, public universities and Area Education Associations, including full funding of all mandated programs and special programs for all achievement levels.
  3. We oppose the renewal of the “No Child Left Behind” Act.  States must be given flexibility in measuring school’s progress and ways to improve student achievement.  Unless changes are made and the Act is fully funded, Federal sanctions against schools must be suspended.
  4. We support incentives for schools to purchase goods locally for lunch programs and additional funding to improve the quality of school lunches. We encourage schools to cook lunches from scratch rather than using frozen, prepared and precooked meal items.
  5. We support efforts to provide safe campuses without discriminating against people with mental illnesses.
  6. We support efforts to provide safe campuses by giving K-12 schools the ability to take appropriate and decisive measures against bullies and bullying in schools.
  7. We oppose Governor Branstad’s efforts to reform Iowa’s education system based on business principles.  We believe efforts at reform should be directed by professionals from the field of education.
  8. We support using the funds designated for the Teacher Leadership Program by the Branstad administration be instead designated for basic school necessities.

D. Government and Law

  1. We believe the special provisions of the “Patriot Act” should be revoked.  The right of habeas corpus must be reaffirmed.
  2. We oppose the use of the death penalty in our State and our Nation.
  3. We believe that campaign contributions above the reportable limit must originate within a political candidate’s area of representation.
  4. We urge our State Legislature and U.S. Congress to continue efforts to improve existing campaign finance reform laws. 
  5. We believe lobbying activities of ex-politicians and their staff should be limited and a waiting period should be put in place before an ex-politician can become a lobbyist.
  6. We urge news outlets to cooperate with election officials during a Presidential election and hold off naming a winner until polls have closed nationwide.
  7. We support enactment of laws that regulate unsolicited and unwanted e-mail communications on the internet.
  8. We support an independent ethics system to monitor all elected officials.
  9. We support legislation requiring security operations of all US seaports and airports at all levels be by Federal, State or Local government agencies and employees.
  10. All companies, public or private, doing business with government agencies must be entirely transparent regarding their operations, financial and administrative, including public access to all records.
  11. We support comprehensive immigration reform that provides a pathway to citizenship and ends deportations that tear families apart.
  12. We support the DREAM Act to allow educational opportunities for all students.   
  13. We support reform of bankruptcy laws to allow writing down home mortgage values to fair market value.
  14. We support reforms to the criminal justice system to eliminate inequities in sentences and refocus efforts on rehabilitation instead of building new prisons.
  15. We oppose privatization for profit of public services including Medicaid, state prisons, community-based correction services, post offices and schools.
  16. We support the Iowa Supreme Court decision upholding the civil right of all people to marry.
  17. We support a system of appointing, not electing, judges based on merit, not on partisan politics.
  18. We support a US Constitutional amendment abolishing corporate personhood and overturning Citizens United so that money is not speech.
  19. We hold Governor Branstad responsible for reinvesting the State’s surplus funds in stimulus packages for the economy and urge him to increase investment in local governments beyond current levels.
  20. We support efforts to lower property taxes for Senior Citizens and veterans.  
  21. We demand Senator Grassley to fulfill his constitutional duties to advise and consent to President Obama’s Supreme Court nomination.

E. Health and Human Services

  1. We support the Affordable Healthcare Act and encourage the addition of a government option with a goal of universal healthcare.
  2. We support regulations that would restrict commercial advertising of prescription drugs by pharmaceutical companies.
  3. We support stem cell research, short of human cloning, utilizing embryos that would otherwise be abandoned or destroyed, at medical research institutions in the State and Nation.
  4. We support increased state funding to provide family planning services including contraceptives for low-income women who would otherwise not have access, with the goal of reducing the number of unintended pregnancies in the state.
  5. We oppose efforts to repeal Roe vs. Wade and to oppose an amendment to the Iowa Constitution to remove a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions.
  6. We support increased funding for Iowa’s nursing programs and incentives to encourage nurses to practice in Iowa.
  7. We support a long term funding formula to assure adequate access to mental health services for youth and adults, immediate steps to improve the capacity of the mental health workforce, the implementation of a children’s mental health system and stopping the criminalization of mental illness.
  8. We support realistic laws for the medical use of a marijuana and cannabis oil.
  9. We support individual privacy to make a personal choice as to the time and manner of his own death.

 F. International Affairs

  1. We call for steps to be taken to end to the current conflicts in the Middle East and include the United Nations and other countries in resolving the situations.
  2. We support efforts to protect the nation from terrorist attacks without suppressing basic human and civil rights.
  3. Our government must never facilitate nor sanction torture in any form, in any place.
  4. We demand that our government restrict trade with any nation that allows child or slave labor based on U.S. standards.
  5. We oppose Republican plans to reduce foreign aid to developing countries and support efforts to focus this aid on Women’s health and education and other humanitarian uses.
  6. We support programs that support refugees from around the world based strictly on humanitarian grounds rather than religious tests.