Platform

Adopted in Convention, March 24th, 2018

Preamble

The purpose of this Platform is to offer a clear and coherent statement of political and philosophical principles that we share as Caldwell County Democrats. It is a touchstone document, a basic repository of shared beliefs.

Principles

We believe that families should be able to have children when they choose to do so. We are all troubled by abortion. Since it is at all-time low levels, we believe that the best way to be pro-child is to encourage and assist families in the caring choices they make, and in helping them to create a healthy environment where all children can live, learn, play, and flourish. We are for reproductive rights, and we are Pro-Care.

We believe that North Carolina must become the 37th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

We believe in long-term investment, and in real and substantial economic growth.

We do not believe the government should be in the business of mandating personal faith or religious practice.

We have an obligation to help our families and neighbors care for Caldwell County’s poor and vulnerable.

We believe that education, not tax cuts, drive and sustain economic growth.

Clean air and water are fundamental human rights and are essential to Caldwell County’s well-being. Caring for them is a sacred public trust.

We understand that taxes are the price we pay for our teachers, roads, police, emergency responders, and high school football.

We believe that access to firearms should be well-regulated, exactly as the Second Amendment says.  

We believe that healthcare should be delivered in the most effective and efficient possible way.

Democracy only really works when each vote counts equally. Gerrymandering districts to favor any political party is both wrong and dangerous.

We encourage Boards of Education to develop policies to allow students safely to exercise their First Amendment rights.

We believe, with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that people should be judged by the content of their character.

Jobs

We must work to bring to Caldwell County full-time, living-wage jobs that stay.

Some businesses are opening, while others are closing. The better policy is to use incentives to prioritize local entrepreneurs who can develop local strengths and resources. This should be done in a transparent and consistent way throughout county government.

Our focus must be on intentional policies intended to create opportunities that take advantage of the deep and enduring skill-base and work ethic of people in Caldwell County. To translate these into living-wage careers over the long term means investing in training opportunities in crafts and honorable trades (such as electricians, plumbers, woodworkers, etc.).

We endorse building partnerships among CCC&TI, CCS, and local businesses to establish Apprenticeship programs for 21st-century careers.

We also must take seriously the emerging industries in clean energy, including solar and wind power, for which Caldwell County is ideally suited. These are some of the most promising jobs of the future.

We must also tap into the more than $250 million in tourism dollars that drive through Caldwell County on their way elsewhere, by strategically investing in our thriving arts and music community. Caldwell should be and must be a destination, rather than a stop on the way.

We believe in jobs seriously as ways of life that capture who we are, and have been. For this, we need ideas and courage. Democrats are the party of ideas and the party of the future.

Education

Public education is the most important duty and service of the State of North Carolina to its citizens, as mandated by its Constitution.

Therefore, it is essential that teachers serve as representatives in the General Assembly. Teachers are professionals and must have the tools and freedom to do their jobs well.

Public schools educate the people of Caldwell County. These institutions hold the key to economic prosperity, both in the short and the long term. The present General Assembly, however, over the past several years has been: stealing resources from teachers; eliminating programs; dictating what teachers can do and say; and narrowing and flattening the world for our children, making them less and less able to prosper. As it is put by Public Schools First NC,

Schools our students deserve rely on dedicated, experienced, career teachers. Those teachers need better payhigher per-pupil funding for more classroom resources, career protections, and the right to speak freely on behalf of our kids. If we don’t treat teaching as a profession, we won’t have professionals in our classrooms.

We must give teachers the resources and the freedom to do their jobs, to discipline and to reward, to set and hold to high standards—to teach, not just to test. Teachers develop 21st-century skills, encourage a work ethic, and prepare students for the economic realities of the next two or three generations. We must also invest in schools that have the technology and facilities to allow both teachers and students to excel. These are long-term investments: nothing is more important for the long-term economic well-being of Caldwell County.

Early Childhood and summer programs must be fully funded by the state.

The link between education and living-wage careers is obvious. We have, in CCC&TI, an enormous asset. We also have ASU nearby, which could be a strategic partner in developing training programs for high-tech and clean-energy jobs of the future. There are enormous opportunities here for public officials who have ideas and courage

Healthcare

We support Medicare for all because it is the most efficient and effective, as well as the most moral way to deliver health care. America is the only first-world country without universal health care.

We must work to fund treatment programs, including crisis centers and clinics, to treat victims of the opioid epidemic in Caldwell County.

We must free local agencies and healthcare professionals to respond to health problems in creative and effective ways.

We must work hard to ensure that Caldwell County does not become the center of a health care desert. In 2017, Caldwell ranked 73rd in NC in access to clinical care. In 2014, we ranked one-third below the state average for primary physicians, roughly 50% below for dentists and nurses, and about three-quarters below for PAs.

The cost of health problems related to bad eating habits is around $1tn per year in the US. Fast food creates health problems that the people of Caldwell County will not be able to afford without Medicare for all.

We support investing in farmer-entrepreneurs who can produce local healthy alternatives to fast food.