Platform

This is a DRAFT platform that has not been approved by the general membership

Today, we live in the richest country in the history of the world, but that reality means little because much of that wealth is controlled by a tiny handful of individuals. Wall Street and the billionaire class have rigged the rules to redistribute wealth and income to the wealthiest and most powerful people of this country.

Despite huge advancements in technology and productivity, millions of Americans are working longer hours for lower wages. The real median income of male workers is $783 less than it was 42 years ago.

We demand that the wealthy and large corporations pay their fair share in taxes.

We call for increasing the state minimum wage from $7.70 to $15 an hour over the course of a few years. No one who works 40 hours a week should be living in poverty, and more money in working people's pockets means a dramatically stimulated economy.

We call for investing $16 billion over five years towards rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges, railways, airports, public transit systems, dams, wastewater plants, and other infrastructure needs and putting hundreds of thousands of Missourians back to work.

We support pay equity for women. It is an outrage that women earn just 78 cents for every dollar a man earns.

As a result of the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, by a 5-to-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court essentially allowed the wealthiest people in this country the opportunity to purchase the U.S. Government, the White House, the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House, Governors’ seats, legislatures, and State judicial branches as well.

The Citizens United decision hinges on the absurd notion that money is speech, corporations are people, and giving huge piles of undisclosed cash to politicians in exchange for access and influence does not constitute corruption.

The need for real campaign finance reform is not a progressive issue. It is not a conservative issue. It is an American issue. It is an issue that should concern all Americans, regardless of their political point of view, who wish to preserve the essence of the longest standing democracy in the world, a government that represents all of the people and not a handful of powerful and wealthy special interests.

We support legislation to require wealthy individuals and corporations who make large campaign contributions to disclose where their money is going. More importantly, it is why we need to move toward the public funding of elections.

Our vision for American democracy should be a nation in which all people, regardless of their income, can participate in the political process, can run for office without begging for contributions from the wealthy and the powerful.

The U.S. spends more on health care per person, and as a percentage of gross domestic product, than any other advanced nation in the world, including Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. But all that money has not made Americans healthier than the rest of the world. Quite simply, in our high-priced health care system that leaves millions overlooked, we spend more yet end up with less.

We support expanding Medicaid in Missouri. Further, we support a single-payer healthcare system for the state of Missouri. Not only is it morally right to help those in need when it is within our power, but healthy citizens are productive workers and create a healthy economy.

Climate change is the single greatest threat facing our planet. The debate is over, and the scientific jury is in: global climate change is real, it is caused mainly by emissions released from burning fossil fuels and it poses a catastrophic threat to the long-term longevity of our planet. If we do nothing, the planet will heat up five to ten degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century. That would cause enough sea level rise from melting glaciers to put cities like New York and Miami underwater – along with more frequent asthma attacks, higher food prices, insufficient drinking water and more infectious diseases.

We need to commit to prioritizing the transition to an economy powered by more than 80 percent clean energy sources by 2050. That starts with simple, commonsense steps: instead of subsidizing massive fossil fuel corporations, we can create millions of jobs for working families by investing in clean energy. The answer is clear and affordable.

In a highly competitive global economy, we need the best-educated workforce in the world. It is insane and counter-productive to the best interests of our state and our future, that tens of thousands of our bright young Missourians cannot afford to go to college, and that tens of thousands of others leave school with a mountain of debt that burdens them for decades. That shortsighted path to the future must end.

We believe in making tuition free at public colleges and universities throughout Missouri. Everyone in this state who studies hard should be able to go to college regardless of income.

This is not a radical idea. Germany eliminated tuition because they believed that charging students was discouraging Germans from going to college. Finland, Norway, Sweden, Chile, and many other countries around the world also offer free college to all of their citizens.

Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Rekia Boyd, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Jessica Hernandez, Tamir Rice, Jonathan Ferrell, Oscar Grant, Antonio Zambrano-Montes, Samuel DuBose and Anastacio Hernandez-Rojas. Each of them died unarmed at the hands of police officers or in police custody.

African-Americans are twice as likely to be arrested and almost four times as likely to experience the use of force during encounters with the police. African-American and Latinos comprise well over half of all prisoners, even though African-Americans and Latinos make up approximately one quarter of the total US population.

Through laws and actions such as requiring voters to show photo ID, discriminatory drawing of Congressional districts, restricting same-day registration and early voting and aggressively purging voter rolls, voter discrimination is carried out.

11 percent of eligible voters do not have a photo ID, and they are disproportionately black and Latino. In 2012, African-Americans waited twice as long to vote as whites. Some voters in minority precincts waited upwards of six or seven hours to cast a ballot. Meanwhile, thirteen percent of African-American men have lost the right to vote due to felony convictions.

Millions of lives have been destroyed because people are in jail for nonviolent crimes. For decades, we have been engaged in a failed “War on Drugs” with racially-biased mandatory minimums that punish people of color unfairly.

If current trends continue, one in four black males born today can expect to spend time in prison during their lifetime. Blacks are imprisoned at six times the rate of whites and a report by the Department of Justice found that blacks were three times more likely to be searched during a traffic stop, compared to white motorists. Together, African-Americans and Latinos comprised 57 percent of all prisoners in 2014, even though African-Americans and Latinos make up approximately one quarter of the US population.

These outcomes are not reflective of increased crime by communities of color, but rather a disparity in enforcement and reporting mechanisms. African-Americans are twice as likely to be arrested and almost four times as likely to experience the use of force during encounters with the police.

Corporations should not be allowed to make a profit by building more jails and keeping more Americans behind bars. We have got to end the private for-profit prison racket in America.

Local governments that rely on tickets and fines to pay bills can become dependent on implicit quotas for law enforcement. When policing is a source of revenue tied to the financial sustainability of agencies, officers are pressured to meet internal goals which can lead to unnecessary or unlawful traffic stops and citations which disproportionately affect people of color. Implicit quota systems promote racial stereotyping and breed distrust between officers and communities of color.

Furthermore, we must ensure police departments are not abusing avenues of due process to shield bad actors from accountability. Local governments and police management must show zero tolerance for abuses of police power at all levels. All employees of any kind deserve due process protections, but it must be clear that departments will vigorously investigate and, if necessary, prosecute every allegation of wrongdoing to the fullest extent.

Despite major advances in civil and political rights, our country still has a long way to go in addressing the issue of gender inequality. Many of the achievements that have been made for women’s rights in the 20th century have been under attack by the Republican party — denying women control over their own bodies, preventing access to vital medical and social services, and blocking equal pay for equal work.

We are not going back to the days when women had to risk their lives to end an unwanted pregnancy. The decision about abortion must remain a decision for the woman and her doctor to make, not the government.>[?

We are not going to allow the extreme right-wing to defund Planned Parenthood, we are going to expand it. Planned Parenthood provides vital healthcare services for millions of women, who rely on its clinics every year for affordable, quality health care services including cancer prevention, STI and HIV testing and general primary health care services. The current attempt to malign Planned Parenthood is part of a long-term smear campaign by people who want to deny women in this country the right to control their own bodies.

We will not go back to the days when survivors of domestic violence had no access to services or recourse against their abusers, because domestic violence was swept under the rug, as a shameful, private issue. Worse yet, it was not so long ago that spousal abuse was legal in many states. We must expand services provided through the Violence Against Women Act and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, and fight any attempts to undermine these laws.

It is a national disgrace that women only earn 79 cents for every dollar a man earns. The gender pay gap is even worse for women of color. Today, African American women earn just 64 cents for every dollar a white male earns, while the figure for Hispanic women is just 54 cents.

We must expand and protect the reproductive rights of women. Expand funding for Planned Parenthood, the Title X family planning program, and other initiatives that protect women’s health, access to contraception, and the availability of a safe and legal abortion.

We must make quality childcare and pre-k available to all Americans. Make high-quality childcare and Pre-K available to every American, regardless of income. It is unacceptable that the cost of a quality childcare program is out of reach for millions of Americans.

We support raising the tipped minimum wage to $15 an hour. The federal tipped minimum wage of just $2.13 an hour hasn’t been raised since 1991. More than two-thirds of tipped workers are women. Increasing the tipped minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2023 would lift millions of women out of poverty and significantly reduce the gender pay gap.

We must support providing at least 12 weeks of paid family leave, 2 weeks of family vacation, and one week of paid sick days to American workers. End the international embarrassment of the United States being the only major country on earth that does not guarantee paid leave to workers. The Republicans talk a lot about “family values.” Well, it is not a family value to force the mother of a newborn baby to go back to work a few days after she gives birth, because she doesn’t have the money to stay home and bond with her baby. That is not a family value. That is an insult to everything that we know a family is about.

We must expand the WIC program for pregnant women, mothers and infants. Increase funding for this WIC so that every low-income mother and her children receive the nutrition they need to live healthy lives.

The United States has made remarkable progress on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues in a relatively short amount of time. But there is still much work to be done.

In Missouri, it is still legal to fire someone based on their gender identity and/or sexual orientation. Sadly, today there are many places where it is legal to deny someone housing for being transgender. That is unacceptable and must change. We must end discrimination in all forms and secure access to education, healthcare, employment, housing, and all other aspects of public life to gender and sexual minorities.

On average transgender people make less than 10k per year. We must work diligently to end employment discrimination and establish equal pay for transgender and queer women.

When the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed 25 years ago, it was hailed as the world’s first comprehensive declaration of equality for people with disabilities. Today, as a result of this landmark legislation, millions of people with disabilities are no longer denied the opportunity to get on a bus, go to a decent school, make a decent living, attend a baseball game, and live successful and productive lives. Instead of being isolated and hidden from society, kids with disabilities are now in classrooms all over America and graduating from high school and college with the respect and admiration of their classmates, teachers, and families.

This transformation in our culture and society did not happen by accident, and it did not happen overnight – it happened because a grassroots movement demanded change. Despite the progress that has been made over the past two decades, we unfortunately still live in a world where people with disabilities have fewer work opportunities and where the civil rights of people with disabilities are not always protected and respected.