2012 New Hampshire Democratic Party Platform
New Hampshire Democratic Party Platform
New Hampshire Democrats stand for policies that ensure a strong economy, healthy communities, strong families, and common sense government. Democrats are committed to spurring job creation, rebuilding our infrastructure, and bringing fairness and opportunity to our economy and our civic life. We pledge a government that efficiently carries out its core functions, while never exceeding its authority.
I. Building a Strong Economy
Jobs and Job Security
Democrats support policies that foster a vibrant and diverse business climate and economy. Anchoring those policies is our support for educational, including higher educational, opportunities for New Hampshire residents. Our goal is to ensure that our workforce – already the best in the nation – has the training and skills necessary to compete in an increasingly globalized economy. We oppose policies that attack workers’ rights to organize and bargain collectively for wages, benefits, and safe and fair working conditions. We reject anti-worker measures that harm public and private sector employees.
Democrats believe in smart investments that sustain our existing businesses and attract new and innovative companies and jobs to New Hampshire. We support policies that expand access to broadband for all and related communication technologies, job training, business investment incentives, and ensuring access to credit for companies in every part of our State—from the Southern Tier to the North Country.
Job Education and Training
Democrats believe our residents are our most valuable economic asset. Skilled workers enrich our communities, ensure that our economy continues to grow and provide for a strong middle class. We support ensuring workers have access to lifelong learning and affordable career training at our university and community college systems and our high schools, as well as registered apprenticeship programs.
Keeping the Next Generation in State
Democrats believe that education and retaining the next generation of New Hampshire citizens is imperative for ensuring economic growth. We support investing in the education and training of our next generation and support businesses that encourage young employees, foster entrepreneurship, and develop future leaders of our State.
Democrats believe that investing in our rural communities—including the North Country—builds a sustainable economy and vigorous middle class. We support the building and maintenance of our infrastructure, including roads, bridges, water, sewer, and renewable energy technologies, telecommunications, and broadband. We support expanding access to capital for rural entrepreneurs, rural businesses, and farms of all sizes. We will continue to fight for our rural hospitals and health care providers, which are critical for sustaining a healthy workforce and a growing middle class.
Green jobs are vital to growing our economy, creating thousands of new private sector jobs, protecting our environment, safeguarding our security, and sustaining the middle class. Democrats support sustainable, clean, job-generating energy efficiency and energy production initiatives.
II. Promoting Healthy Communities
Democrats believe public safety, emergency preparedness, and homeland security are vital to our ability to build and preserve strong communities. We support our fire, police, and emergency responders and honor their often unsung work. Proper staffing is essential to public safety. Police and fire departments should be staffed according to national standards to reduce response times. We believe in policies that appropriately balance the rights of individuals to protect themselves, to responsibly own and use firearms, and to live in a community safe from violence. We support laws that curb violent and repeat offenders, reduce recidivism through prevention, education, and rehabilitation, and maximize taxpayer resources.
Transportation and Infrastructure
Democrats believe New Hampshire’s transportation system should be safe, efficient, reliable and cost effective. We support development of affordable public transportation, including buses and rail. We believe investment in roads, bridges, ports, airports, public transportation, water systems, utilities, and universal broadband access will provide the foundation we need to ensure a strong economy. We support commuter rail from the Manchester airport through Nashua and connecting with the MBTA in Boston and the return of passenger rail service to the North Country. We recognize that the North Country of our State has a critical need for these investments to overcome its unique barriers to economic development including investment in the improvement of U.S. Route 2. We support policies that encourage the use of alternate fuels and renewable energy, and upgrading transmission lines in a manner that respects individual property owners’ rights. Any major energy project, including Northern Pass, must preserve our environmental heritage, utilize low impact technology, respect individual property rights, promote clean energy for New Hampshire’s use, protect existing businesses, including tourism, and create jobs.
Democrats support responsible economic development that protects our environment and preserves our natural resources for future generations. Protection of our environment is critical to the survival of our planet, to the health and well-being of our citizens, and to the quality of life and economy of our State. We support policies that protect land we can cultivate, water we can drink, air we can breathe, and streams we can fish, and that address the threat of climate change and pollution.
Democrats believe affordable housing is essential to the growth of our economy and the strength of our families and communities. We seek solutions for homelessness through a comprehensive approach that addresses its root causes. We support legislation to assist struggling homeowners to refinance their mortgages where appropriate and prevent premature or fraudulent foreclosures.
Democrats honor the innumerable sacrifices made by our military personnel and their families. Democrats support the efforts of our congressional delegation to expand the access to health care for our veterans including options to provide open access to health care facilities and to bring a full service Veterans Administration Hospital to New Hampshire. Our nation must honor its commitments to veterans of all wars, including physical and mental health treatment, education, and disability support. We support policies that fight veteran unemployment and homelessness. Democrats are committed to welcoming veterans back into our communities with support and honor.
III. Supporting Strong Families
Democrats believe public education provides the foundation for New Hampshire’s greatness by preparing all children for participation in society and the responsibilities of living in a democracy. We oppose diverting public dollars to private entities. We honor and support our teachers and respect their invaluable contribution to our communities. We support policies that ensure excellence in primary and secondary education for all New Hampshire students, including: eliminating the achievement gap, enforcement of anti-bullying policies and laws, education for healthy lifestyles, education that is scientifically-based and not driven by ideology, and civic education so that future generations have the tools to participate as leaders. We believe every student who wants post-secondary education should have the opportunity, and we support affordable access to New Hampshire’s public colleges and universities. We support our public libraries as a crossroads of life-long learning.
Democrats believe all people should have access to affordable, comprehensive health care that supports wellness and reduces the burden of disease. In partnership with the federal government, we support policies that build on the national health reform law to expand access, end coverage discrimination, increase cost and quality transparency, eliminate health insurance companies’ abusive practices, and control health care costs in New Hampshire. We believe Medicare, Medicaid, and other publicly-funded programs are critical to maintaining health and reducing health disparities across the State. No family should be forced into bankruptcy by a health crisis. Democrats support a public health infrastructure to promote the health and safety of our population, coordinated health care that promotes physical and mental well-being, freedom from government interference in private medical and family decisions, including reproductive health care of women, confidential access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education. We oppose discrimination in insurance coverage of family planning services, including prescription drugs. We support contraceptive coverage and will not compromise this important health issue.
Preserving the Safety Net for Our Most Vulnerable Citizens
Democrats support policies that ensure vulnerable families and individuals may live, work and participate in their communities. We support community-based services for individuals with disabilities, physical and mental illnesses and low-income elderly residents; the increased availability and continued access to affordable, high quality childcare, programs that enable low income parents to find sustainable employment at a living wage; and partnerships with communities to reduce substance abuse and delinquency rates.
Democrats support the right of same sex couples to marry. Marriage equality is the law of New Hampshire and we will defend it.
Democrats believe every person deserves to retire with dignity. We believe that all citizens of New Hampshire should have the opportunity to be financially secure as they reach retirement. We believe that financially secure retirees benefit the State by contributing to the economy.
IV. Restoring Common Sense Government
Democrats affirm New Hampshire’s tradition of common sense government. Government, when done right, is not the enemy. Democrats believe the Legislature must respect the New Hampshire Constitution and the separation of powers enshrined in it. The Legislature must not vilify or usurp the powers of co-equal branches—to do so dishonors our founding traditions. Democrats believe government must be accountable to the people and should operate in an open and transparent manner, in accordance with the Constitution and State laws.
Voting Rights and Democracy
Democrats seek to secure the right to vote and to broaden voter participation, not restrict it through voter identification laws or measures that are aimed at preventing students, the elderly, the disabled, or minorities from exercising their right to vote. Democrats believe that voting is a right not a privilege, and that every step should be taken to ensure that all eligible citizens vote in every election. This means that registration should be made as easy as possible, polls should be safe and accessible, and no citizen should be denied access to the polls.
Respect for Constitutional Freedoms and Each Other
Democrats believe in working whenever possible with Independents, Libertarians, and Republicans – our neighbors and friends – to move New Hampshire forward. When we disagree we do so with respect. Democrats do not divide the State along lines of race, religion, disability, immigration status, national origin, age, or sexual orientation. We will fight for the rights of women in all aspects of society, including equal pay at work and the right to privacy in making medical decisions.
Equal Access to Justice
Democrats believe in equal justice under the law. We support full, fair, and timely access to our courts, both criminal and civil, and the protection of the constitutional right to trial by jury.
Democrats believe government provides essential services to our citizens. These services include the rule of law, the health and safety of our citizens, the protection of our environment, public education and the physical infrastructure necessary to maintain a robust economy and expand employment opportunities. Democrats have worked to ensure these services are provided as cost-effectively as possible in order to avoid downshifting costs to the overburdened local property tax. The budget not only must reflect the true costs of operating an effective, efficient government but also must be supported by sufficient revenues and honest revenue estimates. As this term has demonstrated, spending and revenue choices have consequences, both immediate and long-term, for the level of services provided. It is the New Hampshire way to take a hard look at all reasonable revenue solutions while respecting both the will of the people and the constitutional requirement of fair and equal taxation. Democrats are committed to engaging New Hampshire citizens in an effort to develop fiscally sound, transparent and accountable approaches to a balanced budget designed to serve the needs of our citizens and economy.