The Platform of the Massachusetts Democratic Party

“What people want is very simple. They want an America that is as good as its promise.”
-- Barbara Jordan


WE the Democrats of Massachusetts, in order to best assure our state success in this new century, hereby pledge to work for and support an agenda that creates opportunity, recognizes responsibility, and builds community.

WE embrace the Democratic traditions of our forebears, reaffirming our commitments to the tenets of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

WE recognize that a life which “insures domestic Tranquility” must provide good jobs, a good education, and quality health care.

WE recognize that to “secure the blessings of Liberty” we must honor families, invest in our communities, and safeguard the political rights of all our citizens.

WE recognize that to “promote the general Welfare” we must honor families, invest in our communities, and safeguard the political rights of all our citizens.

We believe in democratic government and in the power of good governance. As we begin this new century, we acknowledge the wisdom of our Founders, who crafted a Democracy that endures. Looking ahead, we dedicate ourselves to the proposition that the ideals of our past must become a workable force for the future. Cognizant of the challenges of our diversity, we guarantee a place at the table for every citizen and reaffirm our dedication to an all-inclusive Democratic Party. From Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, through John F. Kennedy’s New Frontier, and Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society, the Democratic Party has always stood strong in support of pro-active solutions. We respect the individual positions members of our Party may take, and welcome all people to participate at every level of our Party. Steadfast in our resolve, we pledge ourselves to making this great experiment called democracy viable for generations to come.

To that end, on behalf of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, we hereby adopt the following platform:


Families and Individuals.

We seek to strengthen the families and individuals of the Commonwealth in all their diversity. To this end, we support policies that ensure equality of opportunity, enrich our children, foster economic security, and promote vibrant communities.

Inclusion, Diversity and Affirmative Action.

We celebrate the diversity of our Commonwealth and country, and we oppose discrimination in any form it takes. We are proud to stand as the Party of, and the Party for, all people, without regard to race, gender, religion, language, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, economic circumstance or other characteristics. We have been, and will be, the Party that is the defender of individual rights, while remaining the strong champion for the common good. We restate our support for Affirmative Action, to ensure equal opportunity for all citizens.

No Child Left Behind.

We believe that young people are our most precious resource, and we see inherent worth and promise in every child. Ours is truly the Party that seeks to “Leave No Child Behind.”We endorse, therefore, the goals established under The Children’s Defense Fund initiative of that name, to ensure every child a healthy start, a head start, a fair start, a safe start, and a moral start. To realize these objectives, we propose new commitments to reducing class sizes, making early childhood education universal, and expanding after-school opportunities. We reaffirm our support for Healthy Start, Head Start funded to enroll every eligible child, and WIC. We call for increased professionalism and accountability in our foster care system, improved adoption procedures, and vigorous enforcement of child support. We support a range of options for preventing teen pregnancy, including comprehensive health and sex education, school-based clinics, abstinence, peer counseling, and career services.

Family & Medical Leave and Help for Parents and Children.

We believe that mothers and fathers deserve the full backing of our society, including in the workplace. We support the existing federal Family & Medical Leave Act, but recognize it does not go far enough in meeting the needs of all working families because many cannot afford to take unpaid time off or work for employers not covered by its mandate. Paid family and medical leave would ensure that workers are not forced to choose between work and their own health needs or the care and wellbeing of their families and children. We support full-day kindergarten and afterschool programs that aid children and young people while helping parents better balance sometimes conflicting responsibilities to family and work.

Gender Equality.

We reaffirm our support for The Equal Rights Amendment to the constitution of the Commonwealth on the 25th anniversary of its ratification, and the principle enshrined within it. We support legislation to end unjust gender discrimination in insurance terms and rates. We advocate policies to end genderbased discrimination and disparities in the workplace, and to improve pension security for women. We call for equal emphasis on women’s health concerns in health research and safety testing, and for insurance coverage of contraception.

Older Americans.

We believe that commitments to the financial security and physical well-being of older Americans are core values of our Party, and we oppose all proposals that would undermine or dismantle Medicare and Social Security. We strongly support the range of programs funded through The Older Americans Act, as well as other federal and state efforts, to help elders maintain lives of dignity and independence, and to remain in their own homes and communities if they wish. We recognize and seek to alleviate the crisis in home health care services that jeopardizes the safety and well-being of tens of thousands of seniors, persons with disabilities, and others in the Commonwealth. We recognize that seniors are too often the targets of telemarketing fraud, and we urge the passage of legislation establishing tough standards for telemarketers and stiff penalties for violations.

Persons with Disabilities.

We reaffirm our support for The Americans with Disabilities Act and other laws to prevent discrimination on the basis of disability, and for efforts to bring the Commonwealth into full ADA compliance. We believe state assistance should be made more readily available for community-based care, and should not be inappropriately biased toward institutional settings. We seek to remedy the shortage of housing that is both affordable and accessible to disabled Americans. We endorse efforts to improve access to basic services like transportation, and to fundamental rights like the ballot box, through more accessible voting equipment and other means. We believe that personal assets spend-down provisions of CommonHealth with respect to nursing home care for the disabled and elderly should be made less onerous.

Domestic Partnership.

We support equal treatment of domestic partners in health insurance, pension access, and inheritance, and we support the provision of domestic partnership benefits in the private and public sectors, including for both state and federal employees. We oppose actions that would define marriage solely as a relationship between a man and a woman, and that would ban the recognition of any other relationship as marriage or its legal equivalent. We oppose efforts that would ban the provision of any benefits to gay and lesbian families that are now granted exclusively to married couples under Massachusetts law.


We reaffirm our support for the social and economic integration of immigrants, and we support a legalization process that is pro-family, pro-work, pro-responsibility, and pro-citizenship as an essential element of America’s continued vitality. We reaffirm our support for legal immigrants and their right to public benefits, and we adamantly reject political modes of expression that make scapegoats of immigrants. We support programs expediting the acquisition of English language skills. We oppose attempts to impose English-only standards in public communication.


We thank the men and women of the Commonwealth who have served our nation in peace and in war, and remember those who have given their lives as members of the United States Armed Forces. We reaffirm our commitment to ensuring veterans’ access to quality medical care through the facilities and programs of the Veteran’s Administration. We support additional coverage for the treatment of veterans’ illnesses such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Gulf War Syndrome and other diseases resulting from agents of war, including specifically through exposure to Agent Orange.

Youth and Civic Involvement.

We believe in the energy and idealism of young people as a force for social change and justice in the world around us. We strongly support initiatives to connect young people to the community at large and curricula that seek to instill in students the civic values that underpin our diverse democracy. We encourage volunteerism among high school and college students. We restate our backing for programs like AmeriCorps that offer young people a way to come together to serve the needs of their communities.

Responsibility to Community.

We recognize the ongoing value and importance of volunteerism and service to our communities, our Commonwealth, and our nation. We assert the responsibility of each of us to support and participate in volunteer organizations, community service programs, and initiatives designed to promote community improvement. We acknowledge and commend the work of grassroots citizen groups who have been responsible for so many advances in so many just and important causes of concern to our Party.


Education Reform and Innovation.

We believe public education is the cornerstone of our economy, democracy, and society, and that every child and young person in the Commonwealth deserves access to high quality adequate education as constitutionally mandated by the Supreme Judicial Court’s landmark McDuffy decision. We strongly support the Commonwealth’s ongoing effort to improve public education at all levels and applaud innovations in public education that complement the improvements already underway through The Education Reform Act of 1993. We believe all reforms should be evaluated in order to strengthen those that are working well and revise or eliminate those that prove ineffective.

Full Funding.

We believe education must be a top priority at all levels of government, and we reject policies that direct funds away from the children and the programs in our public schools to finance political promises of tax reductions or to other unrelated purposes. We support just and equitable funding mechanisms that provide for vibrant public schools in all communities, and we oppose efforts in Washington to downgrade federal support, financial or otherwise, for educational excellence. We strongly oppose any effort to change the state constitution’s current prohibition against the provision of taxpayer dollars to private or religious schools, and we oppose school vouchers proposals, whether state or federal, which direct public funds away from public schools and toward private or religious schools. We call upon the state to change funding of Commonwealth Charter schools to ensure that funds are not drained from established public schools. We support efforts to ensure adequate resources to help students achieve high standards set by the state.

Strong Standards.

We support challenging academic standards in core subjects for all students. We believe that school systems, teachers, and administrators also must be held to strong standards of accountability. We recognize the responsibility of our state and local communities to provide the support and assistance needed for students and schools to achieve these objectives. We support curriculum standards and fair student evaluation mechanisms, including but not limited to periodic testing. We oppose use of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) test as a solely decisive determinant of graduation from high school.

Quality Teaching in Smaller Classes.

We believe that smaller class sizes mean better schools, and we strongly support state and federal proposals to hire the additional teachers required. We support incentives to attract, hire, and retain motivated, competent teachers. We endorse alternative certification for those pursuing teaching as a career change, as long as there is adequate teacher preparation to ensure quality teachers, and we support scholarships and loan forgiveness to attract teachers to urban and rural areas, and expanded opportunities in training and professional development.

Excellence, Equality and Community.

We have high hopes and expectations for all students, and we believe that educational opportunity must be made available without regard to race, gender, economic status, or disability. We reaffirm our support for classroom programs, including Special and Bilingual Education, that can help children reach their fullest potential, and for state and federal laws barring discrimination in our classrooms. We believe it is vital for all of our students to be able to compete in the global world and encourage greater use of Global Education curricula and the teaching of foreign languages in elementary schools as well as in the upper grades.

Universal Early Childhood Education.

We believe early childhood education is vital to subsequent success as a student. We strongly support the implementation and full funding of universal early childhood education with developmentally appropriate programs for all children under age 6 in the Commonwealth. We pledge to seek additional resources to provide quality child care for working parents. We recognize the need for upgraded wages to attract and keep sufficient qualified staff, and the importance of state and federal funds specifically earmarked to hire and retain experienced child care teachers. We support the extension of HeadStart to all eligible children, especially those at risk, and full-day kindergarten throughout all public schools of the Commonwealth.

After-School and Other Out-of-School Opportunities.

We believe that to better promote academic success, combat crime and substance abuse among teenagers, and aid working families, Massachusetts must develop a strong network of after-school and summer enrichment and learning opportunities to be available to all children. We propose to do so in part by leveraging the public’s considerable investment in school buildings by turning them, wherever possible, into true community centers serving all ages throughout the day and the year.

Parental Involvement.

We know that parental involvement is an important determinant of children’s success. We must give parents the opportunities to exercise their responsibility as parents, including through parenting classes for new parents, flex-time, paid leave and time off to participate in parent-teacher conferences.

Education Technology.

We recognize that technologies like the Internet are reshaping the worlds of work and education and the pursuit of knowledge in our society, and we believe the state must act to bridge an emerging “Digital Divide” that threatens to leave individual students and whole communities behind. The state must continue to make resources for educational technology, including hardware, wiring, software and staff training a leading priority within its infrastructure investment program.

Putting Education to Work.

We believe that initiatives like School-to-Work and effective vocational curricula that help students acquire the skills needed for high wage jobs are of vital importance in today’s sophisticated economy. We support cooperation among educators, employers, and labor to ensure the creation and preservation of good jobs in the Commonwealth, and the next generation of wellqualified workers to fill them.

Safe Schools.

We believe in strong discipline standards in our schools and support rigorous, fair and consistent discipline policies to ensure a safe, secure school environment. We support alternative education programs for students who disrupt the education environment for other students. We abhor acts of violence in schools, whether directed against peers, teachers, staff, or administrators. We endorse measures that promote safety, including violence prevention and early intervention efforts, strict enforcement of drug free school zone laws, and peer mediation.

Modernized Schools.

We support increased state and federal funding to build and modernize the Commonwealth’s crumbling schools because we recognize that far too many of our students attend schools that have leaking roofs, poor air quality, and insufficient space to provide quality education. As we expand early childhood and full-day kindergarten programs, we must build additional classrooms.

Student Loans and Higher Education.

We believe in making higher education accessible to all students, through national programs like Pell Grants and Stafford loans, and through additional state-sponsored grants, loans and scholarships. We commend our elected officials in state and federal office for past work in combating proposed cuts to these programs, and pledge our opposition to future such efforts. We believe that public investments in the operation and infrastructure of our system of state colleges, universities and other post-secondary institutions yield economic dividends that far exceed costs. We support a “Fair Share” approach which distributes the cost of attending these institutions equitably among the state, students, and their families, and which is based on ability to pay.

Adult Education.

We believe that no adult should be turned away from learning English as a Second Language or obtaining their GED due to lack of space. We recognize that the current long waiting lists at adult education programs make it difficult for adult learners to improve their literacy skills. We urge employers, unions, and the state to work together in addressing this problem through increased state funds for ESOL, ABE, and GED, and by offering workplace literacy programs on-site at companies and at union halls.


Health Care.

We believe health care is a right, not a privilege; a necessity, not a luxury. We pledge ourselves to attaining universal health care coverage for all families and individuals, and to an initiative which ends racial and ethnic health disparities in the Commonwealth not later than the year 2010. To these ends, we favor both fundamental and ongoing reforms that promote access, control costs, and improve quality. Our Party supports the creation of a single-payer health care system both in Massachusetts and in the nation in order to achieve the goal of universal health care. We understand that other methods are less satisfactory to us, but we remain committed to ensuring that every man, woman, and child in our state should have access to high quality health care. We thank our Congressional delegation for their extraordinary leadership in Washington with respect to all health care issues, and commend The Legislature for making our state a model of improved coverage for children and reduced use of tobacco.

Access and Costs.

We are proud that policies endorsed in past Party platforms and adopted in recent years by the Commonwealth have helped place our state near the top with respect to share of children and adults covered by health insurance. We remain committed to extending proper coverage to each of the hundreds of thousands of residents still uninsured, and to aiding the even greater number who are underinsured, or at risk of being so. We endorse the HealthNow! proposal that would build on the success of The Children’s Coverage Initiative by providing health coverage to tens of thousands of uninsured working adults. We strongly back efforts in Congress and The Legislature to make prescription drugs more affordable, including as a benefit of Medicare. We recognize that comprehensive health care reform is the only way to ensure that health care for all at an affordable price can truly become a reality.

HMOs and Quality of Care.

We seek to restore balance between individuals and their managed care health plans, so members can obtain the care they need and doctors are most able to act in the best interests of their patients. We strongly support the state’s Patients’ Bill of Rights Act of 2000, which guarantees important new protections to residents in state-regulated HMO health plans, like a right to appeal denials of care. We call for vigorous enforcement of all its provisions, and support parallel national efforts. We endorse state and federal proposals giving patients the right to sue their HMO. We support measures to protect the privacy and confidentiality of patient records, and state involvement in the ongoing effort to eliminate medical errors.

Health Care Economy and Fiscal Stability.

We believe that our state’s worldclass medical care and world renowned teaching hospitals and universities together with leading edge biotechnology and medical device industries are critical to our economy as well as the health of our citizens. We are cognizant of the extreme threat that exists at this time. We are deeply concerned about the severe financial difficulties facing our teaching and community hospitals, community health centers, not-for-profit health plans, extended and home care providers, and other healthrelated organizations and professionals. Equally, we are alarmed by the harmful consequences of measures such as reduced staffing levels, uneconomic rates of compensation, and higher premiums that have been taken in response to those difficulties. We very strongly support efforts to reverse misguided reductions under the federal Balanced Budget Act of 1997 which have underfunded graduate medical education and reimbursements to these facilities. We endorse the common-sense principle that provider payments from the state and others must cover costs, and we support increased reimbursements through Medicaid and Medicare.

Mental Health.

We strongly endorse the state’s Mental Health Parity Law adopted in 2000, and know of the extreme difficulty many residents experience in obtaining adequate, or even any, treatment of mental health conditions. We believe the state must establish a coordinated program with human service agencies to address the explosive growth in the mental health needs of children and adolescents. We believe the amount of mental health benefits generally available to residents of the Commonwealth is insufficient to meet need. We condemn the neglectful policies of the Republican Administrations of the past decade which have resulted in the inability of families to obtain desperately-needed psychiatric care for loved ones. Our Party supports the full implementation of mental health policies which will provide emergence care, family support, and appropriate housing to our citizens with chronic mental health disorders.


We believe medical research, innovation, and education are key strengths of the Commonwealth. We support expanded National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding, a strong federal commitment to the life sciences, state-backed research institutions and incubators, and a climate that fosters private sector innovations. We believe new treatments can produce improved quality of life and substantial cost savings by reducing disease and disability in older Americans. We support the development and coverage of innovative therapies and medications to assuage pain and improve the quality of life of those suffering from terminal or debilitating illnesses. We understand that breakthrough treatments, however exciting, become meaningful only when made accessible to those in need of them.

Not-for-profit Care and Essential Services.

We seek to protect the Commonwealth’s heritage of not-for-profit medicine and its inherent commitment to the public interest. We seek vigorous enforcement of new requirements subjecting proposed takeovers of not-for-profit hospitals and health plans by for-profit corporations to close public scrutiny. We believe the state must increase its health planning efforts in all areas, and we support its right to identify services and providers that are essential to communities and act to preserve them.

Choice and Reproductive Health Care.

We reaffirm our belief that a woman has the right to choose whether and when to have a child. We support the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision as the law of the land and oppose any constitutional amendment, law or regulation to restrict or overturn that decision. We are alarmed by, and opposed to, the anti-choice policies of the Bush Administration.

We condemn acts of violence and intimidation which inhibit the rights of women seeking services. No woman who has chosen to terminate her pregnancy should be the victim of physical, verbal, or emotional intimidation under any circumstances.

We view the protection and privacy of women seeking abortions as a fundamental right. We pledge to work for comprehensive, accessible, and non-coercive reproductive health care policies and services, with a special focus on the needs of lowincome, rural and young women and families of the Commonwealth. This includes programs to improve the health and safety of pregnancy and childbirth, adequate prenatal and pediatric care, affordable adoption programs, family planning counseling, and accessible contraceptive services, drugs, and devices. We believe that contraceptive drugs and devices should be a covered benefit of health insurance plans.


We support policies to discourage smoking, especially among youth, and to hold the tobacco industry accountable for their actions against public health. We support increased federal and state excise taxes on tobacco products and believe that these revenues and national settlement monies are used most appropriately in support of anti-smoking and health care related efforts. We renew our call for disclosure requirements for tobacco ingredients, similar to standards for other consumer products. We support legislation to regulate smoking in the workplace and all public settings.


Expanding Opportunity.

We support initiatives that promote healthy growth, stimulate opportunity, heighten our competitiveness in the global marketplace, and aid in the continuing transition to a knowledge-based economy. We know that our Commonwealth depends on the energy and skill of our private sector to create jobs and prosperity, and that government has an important role in expanding opportunity, assuring necessary infrastructure, and helping dislocated workers manage through transition. We advocate vigorous efforts, including through establishment of a Jobs Creation Commission, to promote increased employment at high wages and with good benefits.

Workforce Training.

We support initiatives that invest in the skills of the working men and women of the Commonwealth. We are aware that one out of three workers in this state need additional skills to maintain their employment in today’s changing economy. We recognize the challenges faced by employers trying to recruit a skilled workforce; and faced by workers applying for living wage jobs who lack requisite skills. In the face of a global economy and advanced technology, workers need ongoing skill development and job training.

We support increased public and private funding for business and labor to address the Massachusetts skills gap.

A Healthy Business Environment.

We support monitoring the costs of doing business in the Commonwealth, so that companies can grow and compete while still meeting their obligations to workers and the community. We endorse reasonable, flexible, user-friendly regulations and recognize the role incentives play in creating, attracting, and keeping jobs. To remain competitive and help in areas of high unemployment, the state must be prepared to offer incentives for companies to retain and add good paying jobs. We support tax incentives for business when accompanied by commitments to good corporate citizenship and enforceable terms assuring continued investment in Massachusetts.

Supporting Small Businesses.

We recognize small businesses as vital to economic growth and prosperity in the Commonwealth, both through job creation and the opportunities of ownership. We favor policies that support the growth and health of small businesses, and which are responsive to their unique needs and concerns. We recognize that regulations and other important elements of public policy must be sensitive to the differences between large and small companies. We recognize the importance of continued strong federal funding for the U.S. Small Business Administration. We support public efforts to ensure full and fair participation by women and people of color in the workforce and in business ownership.

Competitive Advantage and a Global Economy.

We believe the extraordinary depth and breadth of the knowledge-based sector of the Massachusetts economy is a key competitive edge in the global market. We champion strong federal research & development funding programs, and assistance to smaller companies and startups seeking to commercialize promising technology. We encourage open global trade that promotes fair employment and sound environmental standards by our trading partners. We support state and federal efforts to promote Massachusetts exports.

Growing Tourism.

We recognize that tourism is among our largest exports and we acknowledge the vital importance of tourism and business convention travel to communities and regions across the Commonwealth. Cognizant of the stiff competition we face from other states and countries, we advocate more aggressive efforts to promote the Commonwealth as a tourism destination to both domestic and international visitors. We support construction of a world-class convention center that will accommodate the lucrative and important larger meetings which now bypass Boston because of our inability to meet their needs. We must also safeguard the rich and diverse physical and cultural heritage of the Commonwealth, which enhances our state’s ability to attract tourism.


We support a well-planned commitment of state resources to ensure that our transportation infrastructure remains accessible, affordable, safe and reliable for all residents, whether living and working in urban, suburban or rural regions. We restate our pledge to keep public transportation public. We call for state and federal funding and transportation management policies that ensure full and timely completion of the Central Artery project, while allowing for needed repairs, reconstruction and maintenance of roads, bridges, and other public works elsewhere in the Commonwealth. We promote the development and use of public transportation and commuter and intercity rail systems as a convenient, efficient, and environmentally sound means of moving people and cargo. We oppose the Cellucci/Swift Logan Runway Expansion Proposal. We support creative and courageous leadership that understands the importance of alternatives such as the expanded use of regional airports, demand and gate management techniques to reduce over scheduling, and the development of a community-oriented multi-model transportation network.

Farming, Fishing and Aquaculture.

We recognize the importance of agriculture to our Commonwealth, as a source of top quality fresh foods for our residents, an engine of economic prosperity, and a preserver of land and open spaces. We encourage diversification, value-added processing, organic farming, and applied research partnerships among our universities, farmers, and farm businesses. We renew our pledge to fight for our fishing industry, to support its efforts to market and export valuable and alternative species, and to protect it from international overfishing. We recognize the importance of aquaculture in our Commonwealth. We call for aggressive and creative approaches to ensure maximum possible markets for the fish and farm commodities of the Commonwealth.

Supporting the Transition from Welfare to Work.

We seek to help welfare recipients successfully find and keep jobs. We advocate increased job training and educational opportunities, and we must ensure that support systems in child care, transportation, and health insurance are in place to enable people to work and to advance into more highly paid jobs. We are committed to ensuring a safety net to members of our families in times of need. We recognize that for some, that transition may take a lifetime. We support measures that reduce, not increase, the number of children living in poverty.

Privatization Accountability.

We support the modernization of public systems and recognize that the private sector can offer some solutions. We assert and recognize, however, that it is the public sector, not the private sector, which has the distinct capacity to deliver efficient, high quality services in many areas. We oppose misguided privatization schemes that place quality and continuity of service at risk and impose hidden costs in the form of reduced wages and benefits as well as an increased opportunity for corruption in the form of waste and fraud. We recognize that serving the public interest involves maximizing efficiency and productivity without sacrificing the quality of services delivered to our citizens.


Tax Fairness and Responsible Budgeting.

We believe that taxes should be fair and based on ability to pay, and that budgets should be fiscally responsible and balanced without gimmicks. We note with pride the success of our Party in achieving these aims both here and in Washington. We oppose budgets that raid trust funds or rely on unrealistic economic and revenue forecasts in order to create the appearance of a balanced budget or to finance tax breaks.

Investments and Tax Relief.

We believe that where state or federal budget surpluses occur, they reflect the productivity and hard work of all residents and citizens. We believe surpluses should go to public priorities like needed investments in education and health care, the strengthening of Social Security and Medicare, the reduction of public debt, and the provision of tax relief targeted first to working families, such the Earned Income Tax Credit. We reject emphatically state or federal tax policies that redirect hard-won budget surpluses or other public revenues into the hands of a few, or which create windfalls for the wealthy while offering little or nothing to working families. We call for tax relief that helps individuals and working families better afford higher education and save for retirement.

Consumer Protection.

We support the protection of consumers and their interests in all areas of the marketplace. We call for genuine consumer-oriented automobile insurance reform and rate relief, including close regulatory scrutiny of industry rate proposals and a “Consumer Choice” system that would empower car owners with a choice of coverage options to best fit their needs. We endorse the monitoring of the deregulation of utilities to ensure fair treatment for all, and call for stronger efforts to ensure that all eligible rate-payers obtain the special rates available to lowincome households.



We believe the people of the Commonwealth have a right to safety in their homes, on the streets, and in our schools and workplaces. We endorse a strategy that focuses on reducing the number and severity of criminal offenses while creating and strengthening crime-resistant communities. We support arrest, conviction, and punishment for the perpetrators of crime, and stand fast for the victims of crime so that they do not, in turn, become victims of the system. In order to correct the unconscionable delays that have compromised many criminal investigations in the Commonwealth, we strongly support enhanced funding of the State Crime Laboratory and the Office of the Medical Examiner. We favor legislation to extend the statute of limitations for a criminal or civil action relating to rape to one year from the date on which the identity of a suspect is established by DNA testing. We strongly oppose the use of discriminatory racial profiling practices in law enforcement.

Crime Prevention.

We believe the best possible anti-crime strategy is early intervention and prevention. We seek to build on the proven success that preventionbased approaches such as community policing and outreach to troubled young people have had in dramatically reducing crime, including violent crime and homicide, in the Commonwealth and across the country. We support increased efforts to work with troubled young people and we support the development of secure substance abuse treatment facilities for adolescents and women. We call for increased efforts to provide parental training to young parents. We support heightened efforts to provide teens with summer jobs, expanded employment opportunities, and safe community centers.

Guns and Assault Weapons.

We believe that strong state and federal gun laws help keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and children, and reduce violence in communities, homes, workplaces, and schools. We strongly oppose efforts to repeal or roll back vital protections like the Brady Bill, and the Assault Weapons Ban, and background checks for gun buyers. We support measures to close existing loopholes in the state ban on the sale of assault weapons, requiring safety devices on guns, and the establishment of a ballistic fingerprinting data bank. We endorse increased efforts to track and prosecute illegal gun distributors.

The Death Penalty.

We restate our Party’s continued opposition to the death penalty, and its support for the alternative, life in prison, without parole.


We support sentences that are tough and fair, consistent and proportionate. We support sentencing guidelines as one way of ensuring fairness and uniformity, as well as providing the most efficient use of state resources in the fight against crime. We believe in consistent, long-term sentences for serious and violent criminals, and the option of alternative sanctions for nonviolent criminals. We favor expanded use of drug courts. We are deeply concerned by evidence of striking racial disparities in certain sentencing patterns among persons convicted of similar or identical offenses.

Family Violence.

We support measures to stop family violence, including putting full-time, trained advocates in court rooms to assist victims of domestic violence in obtaining protective orders, developing personal safety plans, and securing other available services. We support programs for children who witness violence, and measures to protect children from domestic violence in custody proceedings. We urge a greater focus on batterers who demonstrate a high probability of repeating or escalating their violence. We support expansion of programs that provide adequate shelters for victims of domestic violence.

Victims’ Rights.

We support the changes that have made our criminal justice system more attuned to the concerns of crime victims and their families, and urge continued work to increase this responsiveness. We support greater use of restitution and other means of restorative justice. We recognize the need for expanded counseling services for all those who may feel the impact of a crime, such as the family members of convicted batterers.

Probation Reform.

We call for probation to be integrated into a unified approach to law enforcement and corrections. We support policies that allow for swift and consistent punishment of probation violations and call for and community corrections programs We support increased use of tools such as substance abuse testing, electronic position monitoring, and day reporting requirements to tighten our control over the behavior of probationers.

Juvenile Justice.

We must continue to deal swiftly and firmly with violent juvenile offenders, holding violent juveniles accountable, while providing immediate intervention for lesser offenders. We support the community-based juvenile corrections system that has become a national model, providing a broad range of alternatives with respect to young people who have broken the law.


We support efforts to ensure adequate prison space to house convicted violent offenders. We view prison overcrowding as a threat to the safety and welfare of the public, correctional officers, and inmates. We believe that it is a responsibility of government to incarcerate persons convicted of serious crimes. We oppose housing Massachusetts inmates in out-of-state facilities, and we oppose the privatization of correctional facilities. We call for more appropriate and secure facilities for female prisoners


We support increased literacy education and similar skills training to better direct inmates into new lives as productive and contributing members of society following their release. We support drug and alcohol treatment, increased mentoring opportunities, post-release supervision, and AfterCare initiatives for inmates and persons on probation as a common sense approach to reducing repeat offenses and recidivism.

Legal Services.

We support publicly funded legal services to provide legal representation and advice on issues such as housing, employment, domestic violence, health, elder law, public benefits, and immigration. We urge full state and federal funding of such services. We support efforts to encourage members of the bar to provide pro bono legal services.

Hate Crimes.

We reaffirm our intolerance for verbal and physical assaults against any person on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, disability, gender, or sexual orientation. We support efforts to eliminate prejudice through education and advocate training for our law enforcement personnel to assist them in recognizing and responding more effectively to this type of crime. We support legislation to combat hate crimes, and the collection and dissemination of information about their prevalence by governmental agencies such as the U.S. Department of Justice.



We believe the public sector has a vital role to play in the provision of safe, affordable, and fair housing. We recognize a crisis in housing costs across the Commonwealth, and we advocate a heightened priority for affordability initiatives, including the creation of a responsible state agency with full Cabinet-level status. We believe that tax incentives to spur private construction of low-income housing are important and appropriate parts of both state and federal tax codes. We support state and federal efforts to assist qualified first-time homebuyers. We strongly endorse laws against discrimination in the sale or provision of housing, and those providing for units accessible to persons with disabilities.

Urban Investment.

We restate our support for strong state and federal involvement in, and aid for, the needs of cities. We back the establishment of community development banks and recognize the vital role of community-based development organizations in providing affordable housing. We endorse existing federal Empowerment Zone and Enterprise Zone initiatives and advocate state “zones” that would supplement federal resources by providing a mix of tax incentives, venture capital, job training resources, and access to technology.

Redlining and Predatory Lending.

We understand that where redlining occurs in the financial services and insurance industries, job growth, entrepreneurship, and home ownership are profoundly undermined within low-income and urban communities. We strongly support The Community Reinvestment Act that requires lenders to offer loans and banking services to qualified residents in all communities within their service areas. We strongly support legislation and enforcement actions against predatory lenders and lending practices.

Rental Opportunities.

We recognize the crisis across the Commonwealth in the availability of affordable rental units and seek innovative and effective ways to address it. We call for additional federal and state support for affordable housing, including both the production of new housing, and the preservation of so-called expiring use units. We advocate state assistance through programs like the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program. We support cooperative efforts to increase the supply of appropriate student housing, decreasing the pressures on private rental housing.

Public Housing.

We believe that public housing continues to play a critical role in the Commonwealth. We do not believe that provision of vouchers to public housing tenants should result in diminished support for federal or state supported public housing, and we do not support public housing policies that result in a net loss of units. We endorse initiatives in which tenants assume managerial or ownership responsibilities, and encourage tenant-management partnerships to improve security and for other purposes. We support adoption of policies that allow expulsion of tenants involved with drug dealing or other disruptive criminal activity.

On-site Services.

We recognize that residents of public and moderate income subsidized housing often require access to social service networks. We firmly support the targeting of recreational, educational, vocational, and health resources to residents of public and subsidized sector housing.


We believe that the availability of a permanent and stable home in which to live is a basic right of all people, including children, and persons with physical or mental disabilities, HIV/AIDS, and victims of poverty, abuse, or violence. We recognize the need for adequate day care, job training, and affordable rental housing in eradicating this persistent problem.


Safeguarding Natural Resources.

We believe in the protection and preservation of our environment. We support rules and incentives for safeguarding natural resources and acquisitions of land, water and recreational resources. We believe in the value of public parks and beaches in our Commonwealth that are clean, safe, well maintained, and which offer a wide range of recreational choices. We support the state transfer of land situated above the sole source aquifer which provides the water supply to the Department of Enviromental Management. We support state assistance for communities to protect, by purchase or conservation restriction, threatened parcels, with a priority on riparian lands or wetlands, wildlife habitat, and urban and semi-urban communities with little open space left. We oppose any new efforts to drill off of our coasts in special water bodies such as Georges Bank.

Environmental Justice.

We affirm the right of every person and community to a clean, safe, and healthy environment. We believe environmental justice must be a fundamental component of state and federal environmental policy, and that its criteria and standards are vital to the fair and full assessment of environmental impacts. We give the highest priority to ensuring the health and safety of children, elders, and immune-compromised people who are most in need of protection from environmental harms. We support the development of new, stronger standards for siting pollution-emitting facilities that take account of the cumulative health impacts of pollution sources already present in a neighborhood or region.

Climate Change.

We know the scientific evidence for global climate change is clear and incontrovertible, and we recognize the human, environmental, and economic risk it poses. We call on our society, including specifically our businesses and industries, and our state, and our federal government to take immediate and pro-active steps to prevent the harmful impacts of rising global temperatures on the people of the Commonwealth and our environment. We advocate specific targets for the reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide and other climate change gases, including reducing carbon dioxide emissions from our dirtiest power plants by 75%, producing 20% of our state’s energy from renewable energy sources by 2010, and doubling energy efficiency of our homes, buildings and industry with a focus on energy efficiency in state buildings. We support the aggressive implementation of the state’s utility deregulation law alternative energy fund provisions and other state and federal renewable energy incentives.

Smart Growth and Discouraging Sprawl.

We seek policies that encourage smart and sustainable land uses, and which discourage the poorly planned, landand automobile-intensive pattern of development known as sprawl. We support thoughtful approaches to development that promote economic prosperity while limiting environmental impacts, like overuse of already diminished water supplies, and improving quality of life through shorter commutes and closer-knit, more livable communities. We encourage new growth and jobs in already-developed areas that have the infrastructure, such as public transportation, in place to support them without undue environmental consequences. We strongly support the state’s Interbasin Transfer Act, preventing major diversions of water from one watershed to another, and oppose wasteful taxpayer subsidies for projects that exacerbate sprawl and its associated problems.

Solid Waste and Pollution Prevention.

We support continued efforts to prevent pollution in the first place as the best means of limiting toxic and solid waste. We advocate an approach in which the state’s wastes will be stored, treated, and disposed of in ways that prevent harm to people and the environment.

Toxics Use Reductions and Right-to-Know.

We strongly support the state’s Toxics Use Reduction Law and other Right-to-Know measures that help protect public and worker health while encouraging reduced use of environmentally hazardous materials. We advocate expanded disclosure with respect to highly toxic substances like lead and mercury and pesticides.

Hazardous Waste Cleanup.

We advocate the full cleanup and redevelopment of hazardous waste sites, and the targeting of state Brownfields Act dollars to poorer and urban areas. We support a strong Superfund program that continues to make polluters and economic beneficiaries of the pollution, not taxpayers, pay for the comprehensive cleanup of toxic waste sites. We believe that community members deserve greater input into the cleanup of toxic waste sites in their neighborhoods, and that hazardous waste sites must be cleaned up completely, permanently, and safely.

Clean Water.

We believe in the right of all residents of the Commonwealth to drinking water that is clean and safe to drink. Effective protection of America’s rivers, lakes, wetlands, aquifers and coastal and ocean waters will sustain fish, plants and wildlife as well as recreational, subsistence, and economic activities. We support the State Revolving Loan Fund for drinking water and wastewater projects, and a strong Coastal Zone Management program to ensure the vitality of coastal communities and industries. We advocate aggressive implementation of The Beaches Act, and the addition of the Massachusetts Bay as an Ocean Sanctuary and enhanced enforcement of the Ocean Sanctuaries Act.

Clean Air.

We believe in the right of all residents of the Commonwealth to air that is clean and safe to breathe. We call on the state to continue to lead with a Clean Air Act that is more stringent than federal law, and we recognize benefits to both environment and the public health, such as those with respect to children, the elderly, and other people with respiratory ailments like asthma. We must follow through on the commitment to clean up the state’s older, dirtier coal and oil-fired plants through a four pollutant approach that achieves reductions in carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and mercury consistent with levels to protect the public and environment. We strongly advocate increased renewable energy and efficiency programs.

Reduced Vehicle Emissions.

We recognize the need to reduce tailpipe pollution from automobiles, trucks and buses, and we advocate retaining the state’s current commitment to adopt the California automobile emission requirements. We support increasing transportation choices that foster public transportation, and we strongly endorse innovative proposals to limit emissions from air traffic.

Food Safety, Pesticides and Public Health.

We advocate strong laws and policies to assure that the food we eat is free from environmental contaminants like unsafe pesticide residues. We support efforts to reduce pesticide use through integrated pest management and the swift implementation of the Children’s Protection Act assuring advance notification to those most likely being exposed to pesticides used on lawns, for landscaping and at schools. We believe state and federal regulatory agencies should pay especially close attention to pollutants that have a direct impact on our families’ health, with a particular emphasis on regulating mercury, arsenic, pesticides, and lead.

Environmental Law Enforcement.

We believe it is a basic responsibility of government to ensure that all laws enacted to protect our environment are obeyed and enforced. We support more frequent inspections, vigorous enforcement, penalties sufficiently high to take away any economic incentive to disobey the law, and earmarking a portion of such penalties for environmental cleanup.

Federal/State Cooperation and Compliance Assistance.

We applaud the cooperative partnership programs established between state and federal environmental protection agencies, which maximize efficiency and ensure consistency in the enforcement of environmental regulations. We support efforts to provide education and assistance to business, universities, hospitals and industry to enable them to comply with regulations and go beyond compliance. We support an aggressive program to work with these sectors to foster environmental management systems within their facilities.


Clean Elections.

We believe that to ensure equal representation and to restore public faith in our democracy, we must act to curtail the influence of special interest money on our political process. To help accomplish our goals of political reform, we call for the complete implementation and the full funding from general revenues of the Clean Elections System, in a fashion consistent with voter intent in approving this initiative. We recognize that aspects of this legislation give rise to legitimate concerns, difficulties, and differences of opinion and we support continuing efforts to resolve these. We endorse such proposals as enhance the workability of the System and the likelihood of candidate participation, and which are consistent with voter intent. Among these is full public funding for the legitimate costs of serving constituents as an elected legislator, separate from public funding for the Clean Elections System and supplanting expenditures that currently must be made from campaign accounts.

National Campaign Finance Reform.

We support federal campaign finance reforms that act to limit campaign spending, remove the influence of large-donor contributions, end the soft money system, and create a level playing field for candidates and voters. We endorse the McCain-Feingold Bill and urge its approval by Congress. We reaffirm our support for voluntary systems of comprehensive public financing for qualified candidates paired to campaign spending limits. We support proposals to increase communication between candidates and voters through access to free television time, reduced postage rates, and other means that may be deemed appropriate.

Ballot Access.

We believe the right to vote is made meaningful only when joined with access to the ballot. We note recent events in Florida and elsewhere that again demonstrate how flawed procedures can result in unjust discrimination among voters on the basis of race, national origin, age or other characteristics, and can create needless uncertainty around outcomes. We strongly support efforts like the Motor Voter law that ease potential barriers to registration and voting and encourage maximum public participation. We call on the Commonwealth to make usability by persons with disabilities, senior citizens, and others a criterion in the purchase of new voting equipment, and we seek the strongest possible enforcement of existing laws to ensure full and equal access to the ballot and polling places.


We support efforts to ensure the most accurate possible count of all Americans through the decennial Census. We believe that these data are critical to the fair and representative distribution of Congressional and Legislative districts, and to appropriate apportionment of government benefits and responsibilities among the states of the nation and the communities of the Commonwealth. We oppose attempts in Congress to replace actuarial methods advocated by non-partisan professionals of the U.S. Census Bureau with calculations based on political party advantage.


Right to Organize and Strike, and Collective Bargaining.

We fully support the principle, guaranteed under federal and state law, that employees are entitled to a free choice to form a union without interference, intimidation, or fear of reprisals from employers. We believe the expansion of collective bargaining assures workplace democracy and is the best remedy to the crucial problem of wage inequality that has meant that too many families are not sharing in the economic bounty of our nation. To make these rights meaningful, we strongly support the right of workers to strike and to do so without threat of being permanently replaced, and we oppose all proposals, state or federal, that would diminish this right.

Contingent Workers.

We support the creation and maintenance of full-time jobs that provide a living wage and benefits. We are concerned by the rise in parttime, temporary, and other contingent jobs that pay less than permanent jobs, lack benefits, and offer no job security. This trend, demonstrated by such diverse examples as the growth of temporary employment agencies and universities’ increased use of adjunct professors, runs counter to our belief in a different model. We believe jobs should deliver wages sufficient to support families, appropriate health and other benefits, and the prospect of a secure retirement. We support policies that promote equal pay for contingent workers doing the same work as permanent employees, and comparable benefits or equivalent compensation for these workers.


We believe Americans who work productively in a full-time job earn the right to a wage that is sufficient to make ends meets and to live above poverty. We strongly support state and federal minimum wage laws, and seek to restore their buying power to more reasonable levels, including by indexing to inflation the minimum wage assured by such laws. We support the state prevailing wage law and its enforcement. We endorse the Responsible Employer Ordinance and its requirements, which are: pay the prevailing wage, provide health insurance for all employees, be affiliated with a state-certified apprenticeship program, classify workers as employees and not “independent contractors,” provide appropriate workers compensation insurance for employees, and comply with local residency requirements when insisted upon by the community. We support measures to halt abusive practices that unjustly reduce wages, such as unfair and excessive payroll deductions for employer mandated transportation services.

Occupational Safety.

We believe that the right of workers to be safe in their work environment must be protected. We support the Comprehensive Occupational Safety and Health Reform Act to strengthen the protections guaranteed to workers against workplace hazards. We support environmental Right-to-Know laws about chemical and other potential dangers to worker health. We oppose efforts to weaken workplace safety standards, or the ability of OSHA or state-level agencies to enforce them.

Discrimination in the Workplace.

We believe in equal employment opportunities for all citizens and a fair chance to obtain a meaningful job. We endorse equal access to all trades and occupations without regard to race, ethnicity, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, or disability. We endorse equal pay and benefits for work of comparable worth. We endorse the requirement of adequate workplace notice and uniform grievance procedures. We call for the enforcement of civil protections for victims of discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace, and for extending the statute of limitations for filing workplace discrimination and sexual harassment complaints. We believe that workplace wage and anti-discrimination protections should extend to workers in the public as well as private sectors.


America’s Role in a Global Community.

We believe the United States must be a leader in world affairs and we reject policies of isolationism or indifference to the events and people around us. We champion American leadership for peace and the non-violent resolution of conflict, the advancement of human rights and the cause of religious and intellectual freedoms, the eradication of unjust discrimination in all forms, and the promotion of economic arrangements that maximize opportunity for all.

Democracy and Prosperity Abroad.

We advocate policies to foster the growth of democratic institutions, elective government, and freedom of thought and expression around the world. We recognize the connection between political democracy and material well-being and progress. We restate our support for programs to alleviate hunger, poverty, and disease wherever they occur, and to promote economic prosperity in all parts of the world. We recognize the need for heightened American attention with respect to the concerns and interests of whole regions of the globe, including specifically, Africa. We reaffirm our support for the existence and security of the democratic state of Israel, and continued American involvement in the effort to ensure peace in that region. We urge ongoing efforts by all parties toward realizing the full promise of the peace accords in Northern Ireland.

Weapons Reductions.

We favor continued multi-lateral reductions to existing weapons stockpiles, and maximum possible efforts to halt the proliferation of nuclear, chemical, biological or other weapons of mass destruction. We oppose Bush Administration proposals for deployment of a missile defense system, socalled, that would undermine existing arms treaties and alienate allies while failing to enhance the security of the United States.

The United Nations and Human Rights Conventions.

We believe the United Nations plays a constructive and necessary role in international relations and we advocate full and fair American financial support of its functions and institutions. We recognize the importance of multilateral conventions and treaties to human and worker rights and protections. We call for U.S. ratification of The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and The Covenant on the Rights of the Child.

“Better the occasional errors of a caring government than the intentional omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.”
-- Franklin Delano Roosevelt