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PLATFORM PREAMBLE

The Carteret County Democratic Party is part of the oldest continuous political party in the world. The Democratic Party has carried out its commitment to freedom, fairness, human rights, and responsible government for over 200 years. We pledge to continue this tradition. We take pride in our Democratic heritage as a party of spiritual and patriotic values; a party of inclusiveness; a party of diversity; a party of compassion; a party of educational and economic opportunities; a party of social justice; and a party of responsible leadership. The Democratic Party fully supports the Bill of Rights and opposes any frivolous or malicious amendments to the Constitution, which limit the inalienable rights of any citizen. This Party shall provide an avenue for the free and open expression of diverse ideas and opinions, including the right of every person to dissent. Democrats shall work to promote government which is responsive to the needs, interests, and aspirations of every man, woman, and child in a manner which does not diminish human dignity or fundamental birth rights.

The citizens of Carteret County deserve a government that works to improve the lives of all residents. We believe the processes and practices of County, State, and National Government must manifest honest stewardship of the public trust. Government should be efficient, accountable, people-friendly, and open to examination and inquiry. Elected and appointed public officials should be free of any conflict of interest or the appearance of such conflict at all times. Governmental meetings should be open to the public, held at central locations and at times convenient to the greatest number of citizens, with exceptions only in instances supported by law. Opportunity for public comment and input should be the norm. We insist on the responsible use of all tax revenues by every office and function of Carteret County government, including periodic financial and program audits by independent experts. Every person running for public office as a member of the Democratic Party should commit themselves to the principles and objectives of this platform, and every citizen throughout Carteret County should be informed of its substance before they cast their votes. An informed electorate will not make a mistake when they cast their ballots for a candidate of the Democratic Party.

We as Carteret County Democrats embrace this agenda and vigilantly defend our historic Democratic heritage. We shall not abdicate our historic role as the Party of action and the Party of progress in this State and in this County. The lives and the livelihoods of the people of this County are our sacred trust.

CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

Our future as a State and nation depends upon the personal responsibility by millions of Americans from all walks of life. We Democrats strongly support the American family, regardless of its composition, and policies that strengthen it. A family raises children, not the government. Parents and caregivers have a responsibility to raise children responsibly, teach values, motivate, and discipline. Democrats pledge our steadfast commitment to improving lives of children and families. These efforts include measures to reduce teenage pregnancy, infant mortality, and domestic violence; to create and sustain a safe, nurturing and stable child care system accessible to more families; to encourage adoption and foster child programs; to improve youth advocacy in our courts and in our communities; and, to promote responsible parenting and family preservation programs. In order to help keep the nuclear family intact, we support comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship.

We believe Social Security is not just a contract for our senior citizens; it is also a safety net for our families, particularly dependent children, widows, widowers, and the disabled. That contract should never be compromised. We oppose privatization and the diversion of Social Security funds for other purposes.

EDUCATION

The Carteret County Democratic Party believes education is the key to a successful economic and physically healthy future for our children and citizens alike. It provides the foundation for the leadership necessary to preserve the democratic philosophy upon which our nation was founded. We believe in providing world class public education in Carteret County. We believe that Carteret County schools should be funded at a level that provides the highest quality teachers possible, teaching in the safest, most technologically advanced schools available. We support funding for Carteret Community College that would allow all citizens the ability to study, train, research, and secure their own economic futures.

We are committed to the funding of creative arts, music, physical education, and cultural studies in our public schools. These programs promote cultural diversity, tolerance, and greater understanding of our county’s and nation’s heritage.

We insist that tax dollars be used responsibly and wisely. School Administrators and local officials should create and adhere to easily understandable budgets and we demand transparency in accounting and performance measures that are subject to audit and evaluation.

HEALTH CARE

We believe that quality health care is a basic human right. We support The Affordable Care Act and call for its full implementation by the North Carolina Legislature. Failure to expand Medicaid within North Carolina deprives many of our fellow citizens of lifesaving health care, deprives our hospitals of greatly needed funding and costs our state much needed well-paying jobs.

America's seniors have invested in and earned their Medicare and Social Security through a lifetime of hard work and personal responsibility and we are adamantly opposed to any efforts to privatize or voucherize Medicare.

We support a mental health system that provides access to appropriate treatment for mental, behavioral, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse. Such a system must provide a comprehensive array of services that emphasizes community - based treatment offering equal access for those in need. There should be equivalent insurance coverage for all physical and mental health disorders. We call on the Carteret County Board of Commissioners to re-evaluate the county’s current mental healthcare system and to fund a program that would expand and improve mental health services in Carteret County.

LIVING WAGE

We support a living wage for all Carteret County employees to ensure that county workers can adequately provide for their own well-being and that of their families. We support the concept that all businesses in Carteret County provide a living wage to their employees.

NON-DISCRIMINATORY EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES

We support access to employment without discrimination of any kind. We support vigorous enforcement of existing anti-discrimination laws to ensure that all persons have access to good jobs at fair wages and benefits.

RIGHT-TO-KNOW LAWS

We believe that workers have a right to know whether they are at risk of exposure to hazardous materials and to the steps that they can take to protect themselves from harmful contact with such substances. We believe that the citizens of Carteret County have a right to know about any danger posed to the general public by any corporation, business, or government action. Sufficient notifications and public comment periods must be held whenever new business or expansion of existing operations pose a public health risk to any citizen of Carteret County.

PAYING FOR PROGRESS

Government services are not free. We believe that all taxes - especially those that fall hardest on middle-class and poor families - should be kept as low as is possible, consistent with the maintenance of an appropriate level of government services. The use of a progressive tax system is the only way to fairly pay for the government services needed to build a solid foundation for our future economic security. We oppose reliance on regressive taxes, which unfairly burden the poor and the middle class. We believe that any future changes in the tax laws should increase the progressivity of our tax system. We support the wise use of tax monies without waste or extravagance. We support the introduction of increased efficiencies in all areas of government to hold down the tax burden on the people of our County.

LAW ENFORCEMENT

We support law enforcement efforts to obtain additional manpower, resources for improved communication, and better intelligence gathering. We also encourage better cooperation in sharing information, detaining suspects and alerting the public, within the framework of the Constitution.

ENVIRONMENT

We are a party dedicated by our actions to the protection and preservation of our environment. We believe all economic development must meet a test of sustainability: can it be accomplished while leaving the air, water, and land to those who come after us as good as or better than we found it. We will protect and enhance our parklands, beaches, and open spaces; we will protect our forests and farmlands; and we will protect our surface and underground sources of water for domestic and other uses. We urge maintenance of existing water quality in all locations and improving it where feasible. We will work to sustain a viable commercial and sport fishing industry. We will work to maintain the health of our cities and towns through citizen and professional input to planning, zoning, land use and economic development decisions.

COASTAL RESOURCES

The Carteret County Democratic Party supports the continued public ownership of our coastline and beaches. We urge retention of all existing beach access and encourage expanded access opportunities with adequate parking to accommodate increasing tourism and general population growth. Artificial beach nourishment is controversial in coastal areas throughout Carteret County. In spite of strong scientific evidence that the manipulation of waterborne sand systems is short-lived and may harm other adjacent beach areas, hoped-for economic benefits to beach-related tourism continues to garner support for beach nourishment. Categorical support of or opposition to all projects is not possible, but we believe beach nourishment should only be used after careful study of the potential long term effects. When beach nourishment is undertaken its cost should be borne by the beneficiaries of such action. No beach nourishment activity should be undertaken without a full and compete environmental impact analysis and its public review.

WATERSHED PROTECTION

We will work to provide county-wide water shed protection planning that includes sediment and erosion control, management of storm water runoff, and strong protections for riparian buffers along rivers and streams. We encourage the use of natural methods of erosion control. We recognize the interface between watershed protection and economic development activities such as agriculture, industry, and tourism and will work with environmental groups, business organizations and agriculture to resolve conflicts and mitigate potential damage to the environment.

FORESTS AND PARKS

We support best practice logging and forest management on private lands in national forests that foster prompt reforestation to minimize erosion and other adverse impacts. We favor establishment of wilderness area designation where appropriate in the Croatan national forest, within which no logging or other resource extraction is permitted. We support the preservation and protection of habitats for rare and endangered species of plants and animals. We support the full implementation of the State master plan for parks and other protected areas, including needed land acquisitions. We urge the state and Federal governments to fully fund the needed staffing maintenance and repairs of existing parks and protected areas.

WETLANDS

We support regulations that will control and manage surface water run-off and waste water discharge into coastal wetlands. Wetlands provide nursery areas that are essential for the Commercial and Recreational fisheries of Carteret County. They are also a primary attraction for the tourist industry in the County. We believe that there should be no net loss of wetlands and where possible damaged wetlands should be restored to their original condition.

ENERGY

The Carteret County Democratic Party supports national, state and local actions that will reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere and reduce global warming. We urge adoption of revised federal standards that apply to motor vehicles to improve gas mileage within the capabilities of known technology. We urge development of alternative energy technology such as, but not limited to, wind, and solar power after proper environmental impact statements have been conducted to show that no damaging environmental impact will occur. Although Carteret County has no regulatory authority over offshore drilling, we strongly urge the state and federal governments to require a full environmental impact analysis of any proposal to drill for oil and gas in the waters along the NC coast. This statement should include possible impacts on all types of fishing and endangered species in the drill area and the potential for impacts to tourism from mainland support facilities and distribution systems. Mainland Carteret County is not, at present considered to have natural gas deposits that would support commercial development. Should such deposits be found in the county, an environmental impact study must be conducted to insure that our groundwater supplies are not polluted by the extraction process. We oppose proposals to dispose of waste water in Carteret County from other NC extraction sites.

AGRICULTURE AND AQUACULTURE

Farming is important to all North Carolinians, and we respect the contributions made by farmers and agribusiness to our economy and our way of life. A sound farm economy supports rural economic development, provides thousands of jobs, and provides food for us all. We support efforts that will aid our farmers in adjusting to economic changes in a manner that allows them increasing efficiency, productivity, and profitability. Growing, harvesting, selling, processing and transporting agricultural goods and products have been a way of life in Carteret County for generations. We pledge our support for increased agricultural research and education, and expanded government efforts to develop regional, statewide and international markets for our farm products. We also support environmentally safe and economically viable means of animal waste disposal, and cooperation to prevent the conversion of prime farmland to non-farming uses.

Carteret County citizens have relied on our state's abundant waters as a means of livelihood for generations. Realizing the economic and cultural impact which this industry has, we will strive to preserve and promote the jobs which properly regulated aquaculture and maritime businesses provide to the citizens of our state.

SENIORS

We believe that seniors should enjoy independence and economic security in recognition of their many contributions to society.

ASSISTED LIVING AND CARE

We support continued efforts to strengthen training programs for those who work in the field of aging. We support expanded, accessible transportation and affordable educational and leisure opportunities for older adults. We support a background check for all employees with direct care responsibilities for seniors.

HEALTHCARE/PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

We strongly oppose privatization of Medicare. We believe any changes in Medicare should focus on health care cost containment to diminish the ever-increasing out - of-pocket medical costs that have risen at rates significantly higher than the rate of inflation. Seniors should be assured both quality and choice of health care providers. Seniors should be protected against arbitrary health care cancellation. All healthcare information should be written clearly and simply stated, without confusing biased or misleading language. We support economical, accessible prescription drug coverage for our seniors.

INCOME

We support efforts to raise incomes of seniors and all other persons above the poverty level to allow them to live in dignity, safety, and security. We support fairness in economic benefit programs for all senior North Carolinians. We support an increase in the homestead exemption from property taxation for the elderly.

SENIORS AND FAMILIES

We support efforts to keep families together through safe, affordable adult day care, health care, counseling, job retraining, nutritional assistance, and other means of making life more pleasant for seniors. We pledge to support every reasonable effort to assure that families will not be financially impoverished because of exorbitant housing and health care costs.

VETERANS, ARMED FORCES AND THEIR FAMILIES

We stand in support of protecting and defending our Nation, State, and County. We recognize that freedom comes with a price. Members of the Armed Forces, our active duty, reservists and National Guard put themselves in harm’s way sacrificing life and limb for this great country. We hereby reaffirm our longtime commitment to our citizens who serve honorably in the Armed Forces, active duty and veterans and their families whose service has made this nation an example in democracy for others throughout the world.

MILITARY INSTALLATIONS

We recognize that North Carolina plays an essential role in the defense of our nation because our state contains some of the largest and most crucial military installations necessary for protecting our national security. The presence of these installations is a source of great pride and is vital to the economic prosperity of the communities in this county. We support efforts to keep North Carolina installations operational for the benefit of our nation and communities.

BENEFITS

We believe it is important to support members of our Armed Forces during times of conflict, natural disaster and beyond. We support sustaining existing benefits - including educational assistance, health care, housing, small business, burial and other benefits offered to members of the Armed Forces, veterans and their families. We also support improving combat – related trauma centers, expanding medical and prosthetic research, and implementing sound procedures for expediting the processing of benefits claims.

COLLABORATION AND RESPONSIBILITY

We encourage collaboration between members of the Armed Forces and first responders in the preparedness and response to any attacks or natural disasters. We also encourage responsible procurement practices within the defense community.

FAMILY SUPPORT

 

We support efforts to care for families of the Armed Forces - especially while members are deployed, and to assist them when they return. We support programs such as counseling, financial management, and basic needs assistance that help families of deployed service members in managing difficulties created by longer and more frequent deployments.

 

RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES

We support protecting the civil rights of all members of the Armed Forces. We also support the laws of armed conflict and the humane treatment of all detainees, war criminals and prisoners of war. We affirm efforts to defend our nation and state against terrorism and ensure that national security can and should be undertaken while preserving the civil rights and liberties of North Carolina residents. We support the enforcement of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, ensuring that activated Reservists and National Guard can resume their jobs upon return.

CONCLUSION

THEREFORE, We Carteret County Democrats:

• Support the sanctity of the American family as the foundation upon which our society and its social and political institutions must rest. With this in mind, we offer a platform that secures the rights of our children, protects the integrity and dignity of the elderly, and promotes the right of working men and women across this County to compete freely and equally for economic advancement and self fulfillment.

• Our Party seeks a proper balance between self - interest and the common interest.

• Believe in judicious stewardship of public revenues and affirm that a public office is a public trust. We believe in honest, ethical, transparent and accountable government.

• Believe that democracy cannot survive without education. We believe that adequate health care must be accessible to all and that homelessness, illiteracy, and poverty must be eradicated from every corner of our County.

• Strongly support the protection and preservation of our environment.

• Are committed to firm and effective law enforcement and to the swift and fair prosecution and rehabilitation of those who engage in criminal activity. We believe that adequate procedural safeguards are essential to the protection of those wrongly accused and the preservation of liberty.

• Support the right of all women and men to make their own decisions affecting their health, welfare, and future.

• Believe in fairness, freedom, justice, and privacy for all.

On this platform we proudly stand.

 

 

Submitted, the 13th day of January 2014, by the Platform Committee, Carteret County Democratic Party and approved and adopted, the 19th day of February, 2014.