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Democratic Party Platform


Passed at the Massachusetts Democratic Convention, May 14, 2005



    We, the Massachusetts Democratic Party, affirm our belief that government exists to strengthen individuals, families and communities and that all people should be treated with dignity. As Democrats, we are united in our devotion to our country, our Commonwealth, and our democracy. Our message dates from our Constitution and is rooted in our dedication to freedom, equality, and opportunity. Our party initiated and fought for equal rights and opportunities for all people. We continue our commitment to basic human values. Now, more than ever, the Massachusetts Democratic Party is united in its determination to protect and advance our core values: individual rights and freedom; excellent public schools and colleges; quality healthcare; a robust economy; consumer protection; a living wage; decent, affordable housing; sound fiscal policies and balanced budgets; environmental safeguards; public safety; effective protection for working men and women, veterans benefits; and Social Security, and the “safety net” for our most vulnerable citizens.

    As Massachusetts Democrats, we are proud of the diversity that strengthens and enlivens us. We gratefully acknowledge the struggles of previous generations of Democrats including those who came from other lands, either by choice or by force, and built a party dedicated to equalizing the balance of political power. As Democrats, we owe our political pre-eminence to the founders of our party who eliminated social position and wealth as barriers to full participation in public life. For more than 100 years, we have opened the door of opportunity for new immigrants and citizens. We are committed to reaching out to this generation of immigrants as they join us in building our communities.

    The Massachusetts Democratic Party Platform is our covenant with one another and is the foundation on which our party leaders and we generally stand. While the Platform reflects our common commitment, we are also a party of individuals with personal and private beliefs. In joining together to pursue our Democratic agenda, we recognize and respect individual points of view. As Democrat, we embrace one another and the essential tenets of the Massachusetts Democratic Party. To this end, on behalf of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, we hereby adopt the following platform:


  1. As members of the party that wrote and passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Massachusetts Democrats support constitutional guarantees to all people regardless of gender, ethnicity, race, religion, age, income, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation.
  2. We oppose discrimination in the workplace, in housing, in education and in every aspect of public life.
  3. While acknowledging the need for increased security in the post-9/11 world, Massachusetts Democrats oppose the unconstitutional excesses of the United States Patriot Act and any other act that infringes on our constitutional rights.
  4. We urge passage of laws to protect Massachusetts residents from unwarranted surveillance.
  5. We support constitutional guarantees for refugees and immigrants.
  6. We reaffirm our commitment to the Bill of Rights and its guarantees of freedom of assembly, freedom of religious expression, freedom of the press, and of the right to counsel.
  7. We reaffirm our commitment to the constitutional guarantee of separation of church and state, and of the freedom to worship without governmental interference.
  8. We oppose racial profiling in any form.
  9. We affirm our commitment to the Massachusetts constitutional guarantee to same-sex marriage; and all of its rights, privileges and obligations; and reject any attempt to weaken or revoke those rights.
  10. We support affirmative action initiatives, including initiatives within the Democratic Party.
  11. We support and respect American Indian tribal sovereignty, including the rights of self-governance, self-determination, cultural preservation, religious freedom, and commitment to meeting trust obligations contained within treaties and executive orders.
  12. We oppose any federal or state efforts to diminish tribal sovereignty and we support those Indian Nations in Massachusetts who are currently seeking federal recognition.


  1. The Democratic Party gave the country the original single payer systems: Medicaid, Medicare, and the Veterans Health Administration.
  2. Massachusetts Democrats continue to advocate for a single payer health system for all citizens.
  3. We believe that healthcare is a fundamental right.
  4. We support a constitutional amendment that affirms the right to universal coverage and to quality healthcare.
  5. We support full funding for the state sponsored Prescription Advantage drug insurance plan, to ensure that all senior citizens have access to affordable prescription drugs.
  6. The Commonwealth must act to provide affordable health insurance to all residents.
  7. We affirm our unwavering support for the provisions in Roe v. Wade and absolutely oppose any effort to weaken or overturn it.
  8. The Commonwealth must ensure that all women have access to pre-natal, reproductive, and family planning services and that such services are provided to women unable to afford such care. We oppose Republican efforts to eliminate services and cut funding for these programs.
  9. The Commonwealth must protect a patient's right to privacy.
  10. The Commonwealth must provide well-baby and child healthcare to all.
  11. We support the restoration of MassHealth coverage and funding.
  12. The Commonwealth must reinstate dental coverage for MassHealth eligible adults, and expand and improve services for children.
  13. The Commonwealth must fund community-based alcohol and drug-treatment programs.
  14. We endorse the Legislature's support for stem cell research, including embryonic stem cells, in the belief that such research will yield treatment for many illnesses.
  15. We support reasonable staffing and work schedules for our hospital nurses and doctors.
  16. We oppose cuts in mental health services, including those for children and adolescents.
  17. We support an expansion of private health insurance benefits to include mental health parity.
  18. We oppose federal spending cuts in HIV/AIDS programs, and urge increases in spending and outreach.
  19. We oppose the Republican administration's proposal to impose excessive cost sharing and other burdens on the Veterans Health System.


  1. Massachusetts Democrats believe that a high quality, publicly funded education is the cornerstone of our society, our democracy, and our economy.
  2. We support funding for education programs from pre-kindergarten through higher education, and for opportunities for lifelong learning.
  3. We believe closing the achievement gap among public schools is a 21st century civil right.
  4. We support full funding for all mandated programs including special education and English as a Second Language programs.
  5. In order to meet our constitutional obligation to provide for equal education opportunities for all children, we support increasing state aid to schools, through Chapter 70 .
  6. We support the current cap on charter schools.
  7. We support comprehensive, authentic, and multiple means of assessment for students, schools, and districts, as stated in the Education Reform Act of 1993.
  8. We support amendments providing assistance to poorly performing schools rather than the sanctions imposed by the federal Elementary and Secondary School Education Act, known as the “No Child Left Behind” Act.
  9. We support state funding to ensure that all schools provide small class size.
  10. We support full funding for regional school transportation.
  11. We support funding programs and establishing policies to attract, hire, and retain motivated, competent teachers.
  12. We support on-going studies of educational practices and their value to students.
  13. We support increased funding for METCO to continue its important role in minority student achievement and desegregation.
  14. We support the implementation and full funding of high quality, universal early education and care, expansion of early education programs in our public schools, and state funding to ensure that all school districts offer full-day kindergarten to all families who want it.
  15. We support state funding for after-school and summer enrichment programs for all children.
  16. We support increased funding to our public higher education system, to ensure that we can attract and retain top-quality faculty and staff, and to ensure that all students in Massachusetts have access to an affordable, high quality, regionally accessible public higher education.
  17. We support state and federal programs to provide grants, loans, and scholarships to college students, especially for those attending public colleges; but we reject scholarships based upon performance on the MCAS.
  18. We support increased state and federal funding to build, renovate, and modernize our schools and colleges and libraries.
  19. We support adult education and support increased state and federal funding to ensure that all adults have access to literacy or language classes.
  20. We oppose the expanding trend toward hiring part time and contingent workers, especially adjunct professors, and the misclassification of contract workers, as a means of avoiding paying benefits and other employment guarantees.
  21. We oppose any effort to change the state constitutional prohibition against public funding of private or religious schools, including the use of credits or vouchers.
  22. We oppose high stakes testing, including the use of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) tests as the sole determinant for graduation from high school.


  1. Massachusetts Democrats believe we need to expand economic opportunities to promote economic growth, and to improve and expand our competitiveness in the global marketplace. We affirm the role of government in guiding the economy.
  2. In order to grow the economy in Massachusetts, we need a healthy business environment that includes adequate funding for workforce training, user-friendly regulations, technology infrastructure, and special support for small businesses and agriculture.
  3. We support sanctions to prohibit companies that utilize offshore tax havens, thereby avoiding payment of state and federal taxes, from gaining lucrative contracts for business with the state and federal government.
  4. We support improved and expanded public transportation in urban, suburban, exurban and rural regions as a way to expand economic growth and increase job opportunities.
  5. We support the development and use of intercity rail and commuter rail systems as an efficient and environmentally prudent way to move cargo and people.
  6. We support tax equity and responsible budgeting.
  7. We believe in providing a sustainable revenue source to finance state government programs that support a healthy economy.
  8. In an effort to increase tourism in Massachusetts, we support funding for cultural, historic, and recreational facilities that promote our creative industries and honor our historic past.
  9. We support the expansion of technology infrastructure to rural areas of the state.
  10. To achieve our goals for Massachusetts in the global economy, we support efforts to enhance the comparative advantage of Massachusetts firms.
  11. We support the expansion of research and technology based industries in Massachusetts.
  12. We oppose Republican efforts to curtail embryonic stem cell research and urge the Massachusetts Legislature to provide funding to our excellent researchers to develop well-regulated technologies.
  13. We oppose special tax breaks for companies that outsource jobs outside of the United States.
  14. We oppose the Republican administration policy of giving tax breaks to the wealthiest individuals, and of irresponsible deficit financing of a war that depletes the federal budget. These policies unfairly increase the tax burden at the state and local level.


  1. Massachusetts Democrats believe in rights and protections for all working people regardless of gender, ethnicity, race, religion, age, income, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation.
  2. We support federal and state laws guaranteeing workers the right to organize, to bargain collectively and to strike.
  3. We support collective bargaining as a necessary means to promote economic equality.
  4. We support laws that guarantee the right of employees to join a union of their choice and to engage in collective bargaining.
  5. We support a decent living wage for all workers.
  6. We support an increase in the minimum wage laws to keep workers and their families from the burdens of poverty and we believe that the minimum wage should be indexed to the rate of inflation.
  7. We support the state's Prevailing Wage Law and its requirements.
  8. We endorse the Responsible Employer Ordinance and its requirements.
  9. We believe every worker should be guaranteed a safe and healthy workplace and support the Comprehensive Occupational Safety and Health Reform Act, the environmental Right to Know Law and adoption of a toxic chemical precautionary principle.
  10. We believe that wage, worker protection, and anti-discrimination laws should apply to both public and private sector workers.
  11. We support increased assistance for job training, workforce development and job creation programs.
  12. We support the creation of new national legislation to protect undocumented workers and their families, and strict sanctions against employers who recruit them.
  13. We believe that refugee and immigrant workers should have the same rights and protections, including the right to organize, as do United States citizens.
  14. We oppose the outsourcing of jobs to states and countries with lower labor and environmental standards.
  15. We oppose the use of public funds, directly or indirectly, to pay for the services of union busters or union avoidance consultants


  1. Massachusetts Democrats are committed to ending homelessness in our Commonwealth.
  2. Massachusetts Democrats believe that decent, affordable, accessible housing for all, regardless of gender, ethnicity, race, religion, age, income, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation, is a basic human right, and strengthens individuals, families, and communities.
  3. We believe that some people need assistance in paying for housing for some part or all of their lives, and we are committed to providing that assistance through increases in state and federal programs.
  4. We believe that safe, decent public housing is a significant investment of public resources in the Commonwealth and is an asset worth protecting.
  5. We support a portable public housing subsidy that can be used throughout the Commonwealth.
  6. We support fair housing laws.
  7. We believe public and subsidized housing residents should have access to support services to help them achieve self-sufficiency.
  8. We support state and federal tax-incentives and other programs to encourage private-sector participation in building and providing affordable housing.
  9. We believe home-ownership strengthens individuals, families and communities, and we support subsidies, low-interest loans, and mortgages, in order to encourage home-ownership, particularly for first-time buyers.
  10. We advocate for an array of community-based development programs as well as state and federal programs to support affordable housing in urban, suburban, exurban, and rural areas.
  11. We support the Community Reinvestment Act, requiring financial institutions and insurance companies to provide the same level of services in every service region of the Commonwealth.


  1. As members of the party responsible for Social Security and the “safety net” for those unable to provide for themselves, Massachusetts Democrats believe retired workers, their dependents, as well as survivors of deceased workers, and millions of disabled persons, deserve social security benefits.
  2. Protecting the elderly and disabled is one of the core values of the Massachusetts Democratic Party.
  3. We support restoration of crucial federal funding for “safety net” programs.
  4. We oppose any effort to undermine or “privatize” Social Security.
  5. We oppose the creation of “private accounts”, some of which will substantially cut benefits .
  6. We oppose the Republican plan to borrow trillions of dollars to cover the creation of private accounts, which would weaken Social Security by impairing the government's ability to redeem the US Treasury bonds in the Social Security Trust Fund.


  1. Massachusetts Democrats are dedicated to protecting our environment: air, water, land, and open spaces and the principles of Biodiversity.
  2. We urge federal, state, and local governments to encourage sustainable land use.
  3. We support sustainable development practices to foster economic stability for both urban and rural cities and towns.
  4. We support greater federal and state investment in solid waste and pollution prevention programs.
  5. We advocate the full cleanup and redevelopment of hazardous waste sites, and the targeting of state Brownfields Act resources for economically disadvantaged communities in both urban and rural areas.
  6. We support state investment in public transportation, to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and vehicle emissions.
  7. We support stricter enforcement of state and federal environmental protection statutes.
  8. We support increased funding intended to preserve Massachusetts open spaces and recreational areas.
  9. We oppose the Republican administration cuts in water quality, land preservation and wastewater treatment programs, as well as the Massachusetts Clean Water State Revolving Fund.


  1. Massachusetts Democrats support implementation of a “Consumer Choice” automobile insurance system to empower car owners with a choice of policy options and significant savings for all motorists.
  2. We support preservation of current internal financial assistance for urban and youthful drivers in any automobile insurance rate-setting changes.
  3. We support providing further long-term automobile insurance rate reductions through a cost-containment strategy aimed at reducing accident frequency and attacking fraud.
  4. We support rigorous policing of sales practices in the insurance industry, including regular "market conduct" examinations that deter misconduct.
  5. We support ending gender discrimination in insurance coverage.
  6. We support new state privacy laws that regulate exposure and/or sale of private information without the consumer's consent.
  7. We support more control over our imported food supply.
  8. We decry the federal prohibition against negotiating with pharmaceutical companies to lower the cost of prescription drugs to public insurance companies. We encourage strategies that aggregate buying power in order to lower these costs.
  9. We support efforts to promote more competition in the consumer segment of the de-regulated electricity market.


  1. Massachusetts Democrats support comprehensive crime fighting policies that are not only tough, but also smart, ensuring that we target violent and repeat offenders, reduce recidivism, and maximize taxpayer resources.
  2. We support strong state and federal gun laws to help keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and children, and to reduce violence.
  3. In opposing the reinstatement of the death penalty, Massachusetts Democrats join with other western democracies in upholding the Universal Doctrine of Human Rights. Instead, the Commonwealth imposes life in prison without parole for first-degree murderers.
  4. We support strong legislation against hate crimes, domestic violence, elder abuse, child abuse, and sexual assault.
  5. We support swift and firm punishment for violent juvenile offenders, while providing alternative sentences and early intervention for lesser offences.
  6. We support early intervention and prevention programs for youth and at-risk individuals.
  7. We support post incarceration supervision with adequately funded treatment programs.
  8. We support rational classification of incarcerated persons that maximizes rehabilitation and parole eligibility for appropriate inmates.
  9. We believe that law enforcement, fire, and other first responders are the primary line of defense against terrorism.
  10. We support increased local aid to cities and towns across the Commonwealth, to provide for more law enforcement and fire protection.
  11. We oppose the Republican budget cuts in Homeland Security funding, which provide for emergency teams.
  12. We oppose the Republican cuts to the Massachusetts Community Oriented Police Program providing for more street police.
  13. Recognizing that white-collar crime has many victims, we support vigorous enforcement of securities and commodities law.


  1. Massachusetts Democrats support a safe, secure, traceable voting process as well as guarantees that every registered voter has the opportunity to cast a ballot and that all ballots are counted.
  2. We believe that all voting systems must employ paper ballots as the official ballot, regardless of how the ballots are counted, and that all cast paper ballots be securely stored and available for recount purposes as currently required by Massachusetts law.
  3. We believe the Secretary of State should develop a certification system to insure security of all electronic voting systems used in the Commonwealth. Once this system is developed, any municipality employing such electronic systems will be required to obtain certification prior to each election.
  4. We believe the Secretary of State should provide training programs for all election workers, offered throughout the Commonwealth, and that all election workers will be required to successfully complete such training prior to appointment, and to meet recertification requirements .
  5. The Massachusetts Democratic Party continues to strive for the public funding of elections, thereby eliminating economic barriers for qualified candidates.


  1. Massachusetts Democrats condemn the tax cuts that leave cities and towns to fend for themselves with only the regressive property tax as the primary source of revenue.
  2. Massachusetts Democrats favor providing tax relief as soon as fiscally possible, particularly for our senior citizens, whose tax burden has continued to increase under Republican administration policies.
  3. As we reaffirm our vision for healthy communities as the most effective way to build healthy families, we acknowledge the discrepancy among our urban, suburban, exurban, and rural municipalities in their different population densities, and their fiscal and administrative capacity.
  4. Recognizing that small communities face unique challenges in providing government services with largely volunteer citizen officials, we support state and regional efforts to educate and empower local officials with the information and resources necessary to carry out their duties in a professional manner.
  5. We support funding to help rural towns build administrative capacity to provide housing, public health programs, environmental protection, land use planning, and social service support.
  6. We support comprehensive reform of state zoning and land use statutes in order to enable communities to manage growth and development in ways that will increase affordable housing, protect open space and natural resources, and preserve and enhance community character.
Section and subsection numbering added by the Mass Scorecard, for reference on our scorecards.

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