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PLATFORM OF THE
OʻAHU COUNTY DEMOCRATS

[adopted May 4, 2019]

Click to download pdf copy

Preamble
Agriculture
Arts and Culture
Economics And Commerce
Education
Environment and Energy
Foreign Policy
Government and Political Reform
Reducing Prescriptoin Drug Costs
Enabling Cutting-Edge Medical Research
Combating Drug and Alcohol Addiction
Mental Health Care
Securing Reproductive Health Rights and Justice
Housing
Human Rights and Civil Rights & Economic Justice
Immigration
Kūpuna and People with Disabilities
Labor
Native Hawaiians and Hawaiian Culture
Safety, Security, Natural Disasters and Other Emergencies
Technology
Transportation
U.S. Military and Veterans' Affairs
Protecting Our ʻĀina


PREAMBLE

We, the members of the Democratic Party of Hawaiʻi in the 21st century, are both the proud heirs and humble stewards of a political legacy left to us by brave men and women of nearly a century ago, who stood foursquare against racial, ethnic, class and economic discrimination in our islands. Today, our Party holds tremendous sway in the political life of our State. But with great power comes a commensurate level of responsibility to the people of Hawaiʻi. If we fail in our duty and obligation to the public, as recognized in the law, we will forfeit our right to be taken seriously as responsible stewards of the power which has heretofore been entrusted to us. Therefore we, the Oʻahu County Democrats, as the largest single entity within the Democratic Party of Hawaiʻi, pledge to support any and all efforts to uphold the legacy bequeathed to us by those farsighted and dedicated Democratic men and women who came before us. The Oʻahu County Democrats reaffirm our core values of liberty, equality and justice. These values compel us to integrate democratic ideals in all aspects of economic, social, educational, health and cultural life in our communities, our County, our State, and our Nation. This Platform outlines the guiding principles for the Oʻahu County Democrats of the Democratic Party of Hawaiʻi. The Oʻahu County Democrats support the Paris Climate Accord and the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:

  1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere;
  2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture;
  3. Ensure healthy lives and promote Well-being for all at all ages;
  4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all,
  5. Achieve gender diversity and equality, and empower all women and girls and those that do not adhere to the gender binary;
  6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all;
  7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all;
  8. Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and living wages for all;
  9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation;
  10. Reduce inequality among our people and communities;
  11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable;
  12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns;
  13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts;
  14. Conserve and wisely use the oceans, seas and marine resources in a sustainable manner;
  15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and biodiversity loss,
  16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels; and
  17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

AGRICULTURE

Agriculture in our state must be preserved and its future strengthened. Sufficient agricultural lands must be maintained for the health, economic well-being and sustenance of the people. We believe in an integrated approach of agricultural innovation and sustainability. We encourage the responsible development of ocean resources and aquaculture to achieve sustainability in our state, protection of our marine resources, and ensure and improve the health of our reefs and marine life.

This approach includes, but is not limited to, the adoption of the kanaka maoli concept of ahupuaʻa, an integrated approach to land management. This could also include development of economic, land and ocean use policies that foster sustainable crops both for local consumption and for export, policies to foster infrastructure such as coolers and freezers at our harbors, and better inspection to protect against invasive species and speed up time in port holding. We need to ensure food safety, strive toward food security and strive to set the highest standards for food quality and nutrition.

We will promote efficiency with feed mills and ethical and safe production of livestock, dairy products, poultry and eggs.

Recognizing the importance of the ocean as a life-sustaining resource, we must protect its ecological balance while promoting the cultivation of ocean resources as a step toward greater self-sufficiency.

Fresh water free of pollutants shall be available to all. To ensure wise use and equitable distribution of precious fresh water, we must stress water conservation and alternative patterns of water treatment and consumption such as the use of recycled water for irrigation, water storage reservoirs, and the use of rain barrels by the public.

As an island state, securing affordable food for all is a priority. We support healthy, sustainable, and diversified local food production, and "Buy Local" strategies to assure greater food security and food safety.

We recognize the essential link between the availability of adequate and affordable water and low-cost electrical power as essential components of viable agricultural businesses.

We support land use planning and infrastructure development to support sustainable diversified agriculture, including low cost inter-island transportation of agricultural products.

We likewise support publicly funded research and development for agricultural diversification and value-added products.

We support the designation of Important Agricultural Lands as a step toward preserving high-grade productive lands for current and future needs.

We support adequate resources to address the various invasive species on this island beginning at point of entry.

We promote solid waste policies that divert green waste and food scraps for making invasive species-free compost and enhanced mulch available to our farmers, landscapers, and residents.

To support the development of new generations of farmers, we support increased availability of training in agriculture and related business requirements at centers of education around the state. We support making available incentives and low-cost loans to enable new farmers to establish farming operations.

Small farmers are the backbone of Hawaiʻi's agricultural future. We support the establishment of agricultural parks and clustered farming lots to allow small farmers to share required utilities and utilize fertile land efficiently. We support the establishment of community-supported food hubs for drying, canning, freezing, and distribution of agricultural crops and produce.

We support a more fair and equitable distribution of water and agricultural lands and the development of agricultural land trusts to keep land in farming in perpetuity and to keep land costs down.

As food and drinking water exposures to chlorpyrifos exceed safe levels, we support the ban of chlorpyrifos in agricultural pesticides. It is acutely toxic and associated with neurodevelopmental damage, i.e., intelligence deficits and attention, memory, and motor problems, in children. We support the enforcement of the establishment of buffer zones where pesticides are being used in communities, and the mandatory disclosure of all public use of restricted-use pesticides ("RUPs").


ARTS AND CULTURE

Our community is enriched by the encouragement of diverse arts, and cultural activities that communicate both a regional and universal vision. Through multi-cultural and multi-generational participation in the arts, we strengthen our ʻohana, promote tolerance, and add vitality to that economy through cultural tourism. To this end, we support adequate funding for the arts, individual artists, and arts and cultural organizations.

Investments in the arts strengthen our communities and contribute to Hawaiʻi's rich cultural heritage. We will continue to support public funding for the Arts and Humanities and for programs providing art and music education in primary and secondary schools. Hawai'i prospers when we protect and promote the unique artistic and cultural contributions of the artists who create and preserve Hawaiʻi's heritage.


ECONOMICS AND COMMERCE

Availability of financial support and a capable educated people are critical to our economic expansion and diversification. To encourage our entrepreneurs to stay in Hawaiʻi, we support the creation of incentives for small investors of startup businesses, and we need to encourage a system of venture capital business loans to small businesses and companies so that they can grow to the next level. The management of businesses should be ethical and responsive to the community with transparency for investors and shareholders guaranteeing sound, healthy management. Innovation through the generation of intellectual property should be the goal of our economic diversification.

We support the government simplifying processes to encourage beneficial business development. We must give priority to the development of "green" sustainable industries, diversification of our tourism market, and local business ownership. Green commerce includes, but is not limited to, biodegradable and recycled packaging. We must promote financial literacy and asset building programs to strengthen our ʻohana.

We support increased relationships with the information technology industry. We encourage investing in world class higher education to stimulate our economic resources, and we support the reduction our dependence on tourism, real estate development, and the military. A truly diversified economy will help to create a diversified job market.


EDUCATION

We believe that the future of our State as well as our country depends upon an educated and knowledgeable citizenry. We must re-think the structure of our educational system. We support reforming and upgrading our public schools and creating a flexible education system. We support increased public investment in higher education, so that students do not have to suffer lifelong tuition debts without shortchanging quality public education. Consistent with these goals, we support making public colleges, public universities, trade, mentorship and apprenticeship programs should be available, accessible, and tuition-free.

We believe children's early years are particularly important and support increased funding for birth to grade 3 education and early childhood teacher education. There should be coordination of departments so that there is Continuity of Care that includes medical providers when appropriate.

We believe Hawaiʻi must have the best-educated population and workforce in the world. That means making early childhood education and universal preschool a priority, especially in light of new research showing how much early learning can impact life-long success. We support the strengthening of our early childhood educational programs and the establishment of life skills education throughout the students' academic careers. We will support investment in early childhood education programs like "Head Start." We support every families' access to high-quality childcare and preschool programs. We support efforts to raise wages for childcare workers, and to ensure that early childhood educators are experienced and high-quality.

We believe a major role of education is to develop critical and creative thinkers who are knowledgeable about issues and able to evaluate and solve real-world problems. We support investment in high-quality STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) classes, community schools, computer science education, arts education, and expanding distance learning models and career pathways. We believe that the educational policy and curriculum also should emphasize cultural learning, the arts, career and trade skills, and physical education so that We may preserve our health and rich cultural history. We support the utilization of both objective and subjective means of measuring students' performance and progress.

We support providing quality education and library services to every student regardless of learning capacity, or ability to pay, in an environment conducive to the learning process. Resources should be made available at every level, from pre-school through higher education, including life-long learning, and should provide autonomy of the relevant educational institutions and competitive compensation for teachers, administrators, and professors.

We support adequate funding for mandatory public education Pre-K through grade 12. We support an additional dedicated source of funding for the Department of Education. We support the maximum utilization of Federal funds to supplement the State's expenditures on education. We cannot support the practice of unfunded mandates from the Federal government.

We support the growth of well-managed and innovative schools. Educational facilities must be maintained, renovated and built to 21st century standards so that our students learn in well-designed, safe environments.

Education shall be respected as a valuable resource and those pursuing a profession in education should be compensated with a competitive wage based on national standards while taking into consideration the state's cost of living. We support hiring the most qualified teachers, administrators and specialists for our educational system. We also support partnerships with universities and colleges that prepare educators in Hawaiʻi or elsewhere.

We must ensure that our students are safe in our schools and free from violence, bullying and all forms of discrimination and bias. We support policies in all our schools that protect, honor and address the needs of all our students.

We support the disruption of the school-to-prison pipeline by opposing disciplinary policies that disproportionately affect any particular class of students. We support the use of restorative justice practices that help students and staff resolve conflicts peacefully and respectfully.

We support eliminating opportunity gaps - particularly those that lead to students from low-income communities arriving on day one of kindergarten several years behind their peers. We support equitable and adequate State funding for public education and expanding Title I funding for schools that see a high concentrations of children in poverty. We support ending curriculum gaps that maintain and exacerbate achievement gaps.


ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY

We have the inherent right to clean land, clean water, and clean air, as recognized by Article 11, Section 1, of the Hawaiʻi State Constitution and the Precautionary Principle. Article 11, Section 1, provides: "For the benefit of present and future generations, the State and its political subdivisions shall conserve and protect Hawaiʻi's natural beauty and all natural resources, including land, water, air, minerals, and energy sources, and shall promote the development and utilization of these resources in a manner consistent with their conservation and in furtherance of the self-sufficiency of the State." All public natural resources are held in trust by the State for the benefit of the people. This Constitutional provision creates a duty, inter alia, the following Public Trust purposes: 1. Domestic water use of the general public, particularly drinking water, 2. The exercise of Native Hawaiian and traditional and customary rights including appurtenant rights, 3. Reservations of water for Hawaiian Home Land allotments, and 4. Maintenance of waters in their natural state. The Precautionary Principle is a duty under the Public Trust Doctrine. The PTD is a preventative doctrine, and not a remedial one.

We know that climate change is a real threat to our islands and the world. We strongly urge our candidates and elected officials to take immediate action to mitigate and adapt to the consequences of climate change. This includes funding adaptation measures including coastal retreat, effective participation of indigenous peoples in climate change governance, and recognition that indigenous, local, and traditional ecological knowledge is key in climate change adaptation solutions.

The conservation, preservation and restoration of Hawaiʻi's natural resources are connected to the health and Welfare of our people; therefore, we support the conservation and protection of our natural environment, which includes reducing our carbon footprint. We support a sustainable society that utilizes the earth in such a way that future generations will benefit from the practices of our generation. We believe in integrated approaches, practices, and support for public policies that create and maintain a sustainable way of life in Hawaiʻi.

We believe in the vigorous enforcement of our environmental laws and increased public-private stewardships and citizen involvement in protecting our resources. We believe in the conservation and collaborative stewardship of our shared natural heritage: the public lands and waterways, the oceans, mountains and all that makes Hawaiʻi's great outdoors priceless. We need policies and investments that will keep Hawaiʻi's public lands public, strengthen protections for our natural and cultural resources, increase access to parks and public lands for all people, protect native species and wildlife, and harness the immense economic and social potential of our public lands and waters.

We believe in supporting best management practices in sustaining our environment and in increased citizen involvement. We support programs that encourage sustainable clean, efficient, creative and environmentally friendly modes of transportation, recycling and waste reduction.

The Oʻahu General Plan, revised, December 2017, is proactive in helping to identify the carrying capacity of the island of Oʻahu to ensure a balance between urban growth and sustainability. It is of paramount importance that we protect our fragile environment from further damage due to residential over-development and the depletion of prime agricultural land. We support the protection of our ʻāina against destruction by corporate, government, or military usage and expect full restoration and reparation of environmental damage. To handle current and future demands for water, we must assess the current condition of our aquifers and take appropriate actions to secure our fresh water resources.

We support democratic participation of citizens and residents to protect (i) valuable coastal ecosystems and reefs from disruption and (ii) beaches for public use and recreation. The Hawaiʻi Coastal Zone Management (CZM) law, HRS Chapter 205A, currently provides for public participation in management of coastal resources.

We are alarmed at the rapid increase of the pollution of the ocean environment including the proliferation of plastic and overfishing and we urge stringent remedial action at the State international and national level to reduce the use of plastic and increase recycling.

The U.S. Navy has twenty World War Era underground bulk fuel storage tanks located at Red Hill above Pearl Harbor. Each tank can hold 12.5 million gallons of petroleum and its derivatives for a total capacity of 250 million gallons. These tanks pose a direct threat to the Moanalua-Waimalu Aquifer which supplies drinking water to urban Honolulu. In 2014, a catastrophic spill of petroleum was released from this site and never been cleaned up. We demand environmentally sound actions by the U.S. Navy to further preclude the risk of catastrophic releases by either installing double-walled tanks or by moving the fuel tanks from Red Hill by 2030.

Cesspools throughout the Oʻahu threaten drinking water supplies, coral reefs and the health of people who swim and surf in our island waters. They create a serious public safety issue, environmental problem and economic danger that is exacerbated by the effects of climate change. We support the completion of an island-wide wastewater sewage system by 2030.

With about 90% of Oʻahu's electrical and transportation needs powered by fossil fuels, increasing energy self-sufficiency is a major stride toward sustainability. We seek to achieve energy sustainability based on renewable energy sources. We must encourage the use of clean alternative fuel sources to include our public transportation systems. We support increasing the use of public transit, telecommuting, car and vanpooling, ridesharing, biking, walking, and other forms of transportation thereby reducing traffic congestion and air pollution. We encourage the urgent need to develop the use of a variety of cost-effective energy providing systems, encourage transit-oriented development, and support tax incentives that encourage renewable energy initiatives. We must support policies that foster the development of energy production methods that de-emphasize carbon-based fuels and promote alternative renewable sources such as wind, solar, wave, geothermal and ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC). Since electricity rates in Hawaiʻi are among the highest in the nation despite the fact that we enjoy an abundance of sunshine year-round, electric utility companies must open the grid to alternative renewable power sources to reduce the cost of energy to consumers.

We believe that carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases should be priced to reflect their negative externalities, and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy and help meet our climate goals. We are committed to defending, implementing and extending smart pollution and efficiency standards and fuel economy standards for automobiles and heavy-duty vehicles, building codes and appliance standards. We are also committed to expanding clean energy research and development.


FOREIGN POLICY

We support a strong foreign policy that promotes peace, human rights, international cooperation and the rule of law. We believe that war should be a last resort but, when deemed necessary, should occur only within the confines of international law and international cooperation.


GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL REFORM

We support limitations on political, campaign or issue-related donations by organizations, corporations, and individuals. In addition, we promote the practice of public financing of all elections, to ensure that the power to bring positive change to our county and state lies in the hands of individual voters. We do not believe that money equals speech or that corporations are people for purposes of First Amendment protections. We support and encourage legislation that would limit the impact of the Citizens United decision.

We believe that a government based on the will of the people but respecting the rights of all is a potential solution to its citizens' needs and should not be denigrated as an option to a completely laissez-faire society. Thus, fair and equitable taxation is essential for good government, as providing series to society is worthy of financial support. We believe that this will adequately, efficiently, courteously, openly and fairly administer to the needs of the people. We support the incorporation of hoʻoponopono, ethics in government, and a fair, voter-verifiable, fully transparent and auditable voting system. We also support enforcement of all sunshine laws and transparency in sessions and meetings that discuss and make policy.

We support limitations on political, campaign or issue related donations by organizations, corporations, and individuals. In addition, we promote the practice of public financing of all elections, to ensure that the power to bring positive change to our county and State lies in the hands of individual voters. We do not believe that money equals "free speech."

We must ensure the security of our electoral process with regards to electronic infiltration and manipulation.

We believe in the constant renewal of both the Democratic Party and electoral reform in Hawaiʻi state government through the re-institution of multi-member legislative districts. The result would provide opportunities for both experienced as well as new candidates for elective office to serve, thus reflecting the changing demographics of Hawaiʻi.

We maintain that State and local government databases should be integrated to promote efficiency in government.

We support full funding for the broadcast of all major State Legislature and County Council hearings and other proceedings including the provisions for remote testimony and funding for the televising of public hearings at the State and County levels, as well as the funding of the Public Access Room at the Legislature.

We support the separation of state and church as provided by the Constitution of the United States of America in the First Amendment as Well as Article VI, which is vital to guarantee freedom of religion and conscience. We also oppose any legislation that weakens that wall. Separation of State and Church is meant to ensure that no single religion can impose its particular beliefs on members of the general population.

Notwithstanding claims of national security, the policy of the Oʻahu County Democratic Party is to demand that the President and Congress of the United States to uphold the prescribed due process provision and its application to any place "subject to United States jurisdiction."

We support reforms to our criminal justice system, including abolition of asset forfeiture in the absence of criminal convictions, bail reform and measures that encourage the reintegration of formerly incarcerated individuals into greater society and reduces their rate of recidivism.


HEALTHCARE

We believe that healthcare is a right, not a privilege, and our healthcare system must put people before profits. The high costs of insurance and insufficient coverage mean that many people do not have access to the care they need, which creates devastating social costs that are also a significant economic burden to the State.

Therefore, we support robust funding of the Hawaiʻi Health Authority (HHA) to design a statewide, unified, cost-effective healthcare system that includes comprehensive healthcare services for all, and then submit that design to the legislature for evaluation.

Such a universal, comprehensive healthcare system would: (1) unify the delivery of healthcare in Hawaiʻi by establishing a single network, benefit structure, reimbursement system, drug formulary, and prior authorization policies; (All state-regulated payers would be required to pay into this unified system, including Medicaid, Medicare Advantage, and health insurance provided by the state and counties, and commercial health insurance plans funded by employers and individuals.); (2) provide parity of mental and physical health coverage; (3) provide cost-effective regulation of comprehensive health care delivery systems with an administrative overhead of less than 3%; (4) include and protect all women's healthcare needs including reproductive rights and the healthcare needs of the LGBTQIA community; (5) provide preventative health programs; (6) provide long-term care, dental, and vision care; and (7) provide healthcare to Compact of Free Association (Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, and Palau) (COFA)) citizens and other non-citizens lawfully residing in Hawai'i on an equal basis with US citizens and permanent residents.

On the Federal level, we support a universal single-payer healthcare system similar to or better than HR 1384, Expanded and Improved Medicare For All, wherein all individuals residing in the United States and U.S. territories are provided with comprehensive healthcare services.


REDUCING PRESCRIPTION DRUG COSTS

We support cracking down on price gouging by drug companies and cap the amount that consumers have to pay out-of-pocket every month on prescription drugs. We encourage prohibiting anti-competitive "pay for delay" deals that keep generic drugs off the market, and we support allowing individuals, pharmacists, and wholesalers to import prescription drugs from licensed pharmacies in Canada and other countries with appropriate safety protections. We urge Medicare to negotiate lower prices with drug manufacturers.

We urge Hawaiʻi's Medicaid Program to join an existing multi-state prescription drug discount purchasing group as Medicaid, and then, via the HHA's or other State Health Agency's ability to create a unified statewide system, enable delivery of that discount to all state residents.


ENABLING CUTTING-EDGE MEDICAL RESEARCH

We support accelerating the pace of medical progress, investing more in our scientists and giving them the resources they need to invigorate fundamental studies in the life sciences in a growing, stable and predictable way. We must make progress against the full range of diseases, including diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer's, HIV and AIDS, cancer, and other diseases, especially chronic diseases.


COMBATING DRUG AND ALCOHOL ADDICTION

We support confronting epidemic of drug and alcohol addiction, especially the opioid and crystal methamphetamine (Ice) crisis and other drugs plaguing our communities by vastly expanding access to prevention and treatment, supporting recovery, helping community organizations, and promoting better practices by prescribers. We are committed to assisting people struggling with addiction in Hawaiʻi to find and sustain healthy lives by encouraging full recovery and integration into society and working to remove common barriers to gainful employment, housing and education. We support expanding access to care for addition services and ensuring that insurance coverage is equal to that of any other health conditions. We encourage educating our youth and their families, teachers, coaches, mentors, and friends to intervene early to prevent drug and alcohol abuse and addiction. We encourage State and local leaders to establish evidence-based, age-appropriate, and locally-tailored prevention programs. These programs include school-based drug education programs that have been shown to have meaningful effects on risky behavior; community-based peer mentorship and leadership programs; and after-school activities that deter drug use and encourage life skills.


MENTAL HEALTH CARE

We encourage (1) treating mental health issues with the same care and seriousness that we treat issues of physical health, (2) supporting a robust mental health workforce, and (3) promoting better integration of the behavioral and general health care systems. Recognizing that maintaining good mental health is critical to all people, including young people's health and development, we support health professionals ensuring that everyone has access to mental health care. We encourage expanding community-based treatment of substance abuse disorders and mental health conditions and fully enforcing our parity law.


SECURING REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH RIGHTS AND JUSTICE

We are committed to protecting and advancing reproductive health, rights and justice. We believe unequivocally that every woman must have access to quality reproductive healthcare services, including safe and legal abortion - regardless of where she lives, how much money she makes, or how she is insured. We believe that reproductive health is core to women's, men's and young people's health and wellbeing. We condemn and will combat any acts of violence, harassment, intimidation of reproductive health providers, patients, and staff. We will defend the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which extends affordable preventative healthcare to women, including no-cost contraception and prohibits discrimination in healthcare based on gender.

We oppose discrimination and barriers that inhibit meaningful access to reproductive healthcare services, including those based on gender, sexuality, race, income, disability, and other factors. We recognize that quality, affordable, comprehensive healthcare, evidence-based sex education and a full range of family planning services help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, and thereby, also reduce the need for abortions.


HOUSING

Housing is a basic human right. Affordable housing that is fair in proportion to individual income is the basis of prosperity for our citizens and stability in our economy. Recent and past real estate bubbles have fueled disproportionate rent increases, a key contributor to homelessness. Therefore, we support efforts to promote truly affordable housing for all citizens who rent. We need economically affordable housing and encourage increased support that leads to this end. To this end, we support policies which re-think the current formula to determine "affordability" as this formula puts both rentals and sales out of the reach of most working families in Hawaiʻi. We strongly urge that the definition of "affordable" be amended from 30% to 25% of monthly income for all income brackets.

We will continue to fight for those families who suffered the loss of their homes. We support helping those who are working toward a path of financial stability and will encourage sustainable home ownership within the reach of more families. We support combatting the affordable housing crisis and skyrocketing rents in many parts of the State, which are leading too many families and workers to be pushed out of communities where they work.

We encourage preserving and increasing the supply of affordable rental housing by expanding incentives to ease local barriers to building new affordable rental housing developments in areas of economic opportunity. We support a substantial increase in funding to construct, preserve, and rehabilitate affordable housing rental units. Not only will this help address the affordable housing crisis, it will also create good-paying jobs in the process. We believe the State should provide more State resources to the people struggling most with unaffordable housing: low-income families, people with disabilities, veterans, and kūpuna.

We support programs to prevent displacement of existing residents, especially in Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities; create affordable and workforce housing; and preserve neighborhood-serving nonprofit organizations and small businesses. We support reinvigorating housing production programs, repair public housing, and increase funding for rental assistance programs. We support robust funding to end homelessness in our cities and counties once and for all, through targeted investment to provide the necessary outreach, social series, and housing options for all populations experiencing homelessness. We support engaging in a stronger, more coordinated, and better funded partnership among Federal, State, and local governments to end chronic homelessness.

We support dedicated social services and housing opportunities for Hawaiʻi's homeless youth population to get them off the streets and reintegrated into society with specific devoted services for disenfranchised groups including, but not limited to, the Native Hawaiian, Asian and Filipino- American, Micronesian, Pacific Islander, aged-out foster kids, youth, returning veterans, the kupuna community and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA) homeless youth population. We support "Housing First" policies and developing affordable housing policies and programs like Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD).


HUMAN RIGHTS AND CIVIL RIGHTS AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE

The inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all human beings are the foundations of freedom, justice, and peace. We are committed to ending institutionalized discrimination in all aspects. We support affirmative action, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the rights of senior citizens. We support full equality, benefits and responsibility regardless of sexual identity, orientation, or expression.

We believe that the concepts of "ʻohana" and "family" include people regardless of sexual orientation, blood relation, marital status, or gender, gender identity or gender expression, who choose to join together to offer one another moral, spiritual and economic support.

We support full equality and nondiscrimination with respect to duties, benefits and responsibilities regardless of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. We believe in equality and justice for individuals who do not adhere to the gender binary, and their right to privacy. We will work toward a world that embraces gender diversity and equality.

We support the passage and enforcement of laws banning both medical and therapeutic treatments for the purpose of forcing sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression conversion, such as conversion therapy (aka reparative therapy), for minors or adults at the State and Federal level. We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to live a true and authentic self.

We support the rights of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex and Asexual (LGBTQIA) community to full equality under the law. We support and celebrate the passage of Marriage Equality at the State and Federal level. We oppose any efforts to repeal Marriage Equality. We call upon all to work toward a society where members of the LGBTQIA community are accepted and honored for who they are.

We support the full implementation of a law that allows members of the transgender community to amend their birth certificate to accurately reflect their self-identified gender. We support changes in the law that ensure the right to self-determination for gender identification and that no one decides for a person of what their gender is but that individual.

We support removing or expanding the choices for gender markers on birth certificates, state identification cards (IDs) and driver licenses. We believe in equality and justice for individuals that do not adhere to the gender binary and their right to privacy. We will work toward a world that embraces gender diversity. We support custody and rights for children born through in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and adoptive rights of transgender and gender non-binary people.

We support initiatives that enhance access and equity to education, employment, and business opportunities intended to lift families out of poverty and remove existing barriers to equal opportunity in our communities.

We believe that all families should have an equal opportunity to build their assets and become self-sufficient; and we support a strong safety net of programs that will afford them the opportunity to do so. We must protect our children, our future, from violence and neglect and provide them with a safe and healthy environment in which to grow and thrive.

We believe in the equality of women and their right to privacy. This includes the rights of women to access birth control, the right to coverage of pregnancy services, the right to shelter and counseling for victims of domestic violence and the right of rape victims to emergency contraception in the emergency room.

We support legislation and best practice policies that prioritize the safety, security and Well-being of our foster children, who are our most vulnerable keiki in our community. This is the paramount consideration when making decisions regarding the time frame, criteria and justification for reunification and family placement. We will always respect family and familial bonds, but reunification with every biological family is not always the safest, most secure or in the best interests of every child. This is especially true in aggravated circumstances cases involving drug use history, physical abuse, sexual abuse and unstable housing. We strongly support the efforts of parents and all people to recover and reorganize their lives for the better, but our ultimate concern must also be for the short and long-term safety and wellbeing of our foster children.

We deplore the human trafficking of children and adults, regardless of the reasons and rationales for such an immoral and illicit trade, and support legislative and judicial efforts to stamp it out.

We support restorative justice that repairs the harms caused by criminal behaviors as well as reintegrates the offenders as contributing members of society.

We applaud the passage of the Our Care, Our Choice Act that gives terminally ill and mentally capable adult patients the right to make their own end of life choices, which includes medical aid in dying. We support all efforts to ensure that all terminally ill and mentally capable adult patients can make their own end of life choices, including full access to medical aid in dying.


IMMIGRATION

We believe that our nation should have a fair immigration policy that recognizes the diversity of our county and the contribution that immigrants make and have made to the sciences, arts and culture. We support an immigration policy that provides a reasonable path to citizenship for immigrants who follow the rule of law. We oppose racial profiling and encourage polices that avoid the militarization of our borders. We abhor policies that would deny education and health and human services to immigrant children. We must ensure that immigrant children are treated with fairness and respect in our schools and in our health care system. Immigration laws should not discriminate based on sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression.

We recognize that most undocumented residents are simply looking for a better life for their families. We support a national immigration policy that holds employers that violate immigration law accountable and provides penalties proportionate to their responsibility.


KŪPUNA AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

We face a long-term care crisis that prevents too many seniors and people with disabilities from being able to live with dignity at home or in their communities. Most people who are aging or living with a disability want to do so at home, but face challenges finding and affording the support they need to do so. Programs that emphasize independence rather than institutionalization must be better structured to support them. We support strengthening and expanding the home care workforce, giving seniors and people with disabilities access to quality, affordable long-term care, services, and supports, and ensuring that all of these resources are readily available at home or in the community.

We support "aging-in-place" and the kūpuna caregivers program to assist family members to remain employed while providing support to kupuna including services attendant to adult day care: (1) basic activities: i.e., transferring from bed to chair, moving about within the home, bathing, dressing, toileting, and eating; (2) instrumental activities: preparing meals, shopping, managing medications, laundry, using the telephone, managing money, housekeeping, and using available transportation; and (3) core services: personal care, homemaking, chores, home-delivered meals, adult day care, case management, assisted transportation, regular transportation, attendant care, and other important services.

We encourage policies and programs that support "active aging" for kūpuna including, but not limited to, (1) health care practices that promote physical, emotional, mental, nutritional, and medical fitness; (2) financial fitness measures that provide tools and programs for financial health; (3) intergenerational equity; (4) elimination of ageism and elderly discrimination; and (5) enhancement of important social roles and purposes for kūpuna.


LABOR

We believe in efforts to build and retain a qualified workforce in Hawaiʻi. We believe that workers are entitled to organize and to bargain through their unions.

As the party of working people in Hawaiʻi, we work to protect labor rights and Social Security; to institute fair labor practices, a living wage for all workers, and fair taxation. We encourage legislation to raise the minimum wage and mandate paid family and sick leave; to protect employee's rights to organize and bargain collectively with their employers; to oppose the outsourcing of Hawaiʻi's jobs; to promote employment opportunities and sustainable growth; to assist the economically disadvantaged; to advocate for sound trade and economic policies; to train our local workforce in diversified and environmentally responsible industries, and build our workforce for jobs in emerging technologies, in green industries, in renovation, and in green construction, so that jobs are not dependent on ever-expanding real estate development.

We believe that workers need to be safe and free from any form of discrimination, sexual harassment or abuse in the workplace. We seek legislation that will achieve these goals.

We support strict enforcement of union contracts and worker rights to unionize, to strike without job loss, to have a safe workplace, to mediate and arbitrate disputes. We support the repeal of the anti-labor Taft-Hartley Act.

We support automatic dues payment to unions and the repeal of all "right to work" laws. We support strict laws against employers requiring credit checks or social media passwords for employment purposes. We seek protection of undocumented workers from prosecution, deportation or job loss for reporting employer labor law violations. We support the Jones Act.

We seek programs that prepare people with disabilities for independent and productive lives. We are committed to the elimination of glass ceilings that prevent women and minorities from advancing to the highest levels of government, education and business. To rapidly move returning veterans, students, and the unemployed into jobs, we urge the creation of paid internship programs for students.


NATIVE HAWAIIANS AND HAWAIIAN CULTURE

Native Hawaiians are the aboriginal people of Hawaiʻi that deserve a just relationship with the State and Federal Governments. We support Native Hawaiian rights to self-determination in the formation of their chosen governmental entity. We support recognition of Native Hawaiians as indigenous people as provided by the U.S. Constitution; such recognition will add to the process of Native Hawaiian self-determination. We also support the international rights of the Native Hawaiian people.

We continue to support Kanaka Maoli as they strive to retain their ancestral heritage, Kingdom lands and the right for self-determination. We are committed to embracing and enriching public policies by integrating and supporting Native Hawaiian traditions and values. We believe in the empowerment of Native Hawaiians, by supporting Hawaiian Language Immersion schools and Hawaiian charter-based schools, protecting the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) and the Department of Hawaiian Homes Lands (DHHL), funding for the development and enhancement of Hawaiian Home Lands, and development of community-based healthcare initiatives.

We concur and affirm, as did the Hawaiian Homes Act of 1920, as amended in 1921, and the Hawaiʻi State Legislature in Session Laws 302, and the United States Congress and Administration in October 1993 in Public Law 103-150, that January 17, 1893, marked the "illegal overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi" that resulted in the suppression of the inherent sovereignty of the Native Hawaiian people and further; commends the United States Congress for its apology "to Native Hawaiians on behalf of the people of the United States for the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi on January 17, 1893, with the participation of agents and citizens of the United States, and the deprivation of the rights of Native Hawaiians to self-determination."

The Oʻahu County Democrats recognize that the American government illegally seized the Islands of Hawaiʻi, and the resources belonging to native Hawaiians were improperly confiscated from them. The effect of these injuries continues to the present day. We, therefore, support the right of native Hawaiians to self-determination and to reparations for the theft of their land and resources, including the protection of native Hawaiian educational programs. Under the Public Land Trust (PLT), Native Hawaiians are legally entitled to 20% of the PLT revenues for the purposes of, among other entitlements, assistance in housing, career opportunities, protection of intellectual properties, education, water rights, and all forms of health care - mind, body and spirit. We fully support reinstating the full percentage of Public Land Trust Revenues set aside for the betterment of Native Hawaiians, to wit, 20% of public lands annual revenues.

We support the continued engagement and empowerment of the Native Hawaiian community in decisions related to county and state affairs.

We support Hawaiian language immersion schools that contribute to the revitalization and continuation of the Hawaiian language and appropriate assessments that accurately reflect Hawaiian language immersion students' progress and support the Hawaiian language immersion program. We support Hawaiian-focused schools and courses that provide culturally-based education in order to maximize choices in life and work. We support educational programming and efforts that embody Hawaiian values, language, culture and history as a foundation to prepare students for success in college, trades school, CTE (career technical education), career and communities.

We support the growth of Native Hawaiian farming, agricultural and healing practices. We value and wish to foster the preservation of our host culture.


SAFETY, SECURITY, NATURAL DISASTERS AND OTHER EMERGENCIES

We support safety and security in all dimensions as a basic right of all residents of the State of Hawaiʻi. We support just law enforcement and enhancement of crime prevention, without comprising civil liberties. This encompasses the full protection of the law, including enforcement of victim's rights, restitution, counseling, therapy, orders of protection, and shelters for victims and survivors of domestic violence and other criminal wrongs, as applicable. We support full enforcement of the State of Hawaiʻi's hate crimes statute.

We support appropriate training and funding for less than lethal weapons, i.e. conducted energy devices (CEDs) such as the Taser, pepper spray, 12-gauge shotgun-delivered bean bags, and plastic/rubber balls, for all law enforcement officers, sheriffs, DLNR enforcement agents and other appropriate agency personnel.

We demand the protection of the people of Oʻahu and their property against natural and man-made disasters. We believe in the science of climate change, affirm human activity as its primary cause and main driver, and support emergency preparedness and planning efforts to mitigate its impacts. This includes investment in early warning systems, emergency management and response systems, and adequate emergency sheltering.


TECHNOLOGY

We recognize that the reasonable use and development of technology in all its manifestations offer unlimited potential for our community. We encourage research, development and educational programs to promote technological proficiency and innovation. We support Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) initiatives in our schools as these prepare the next generation to address the needs of our State. We need to ensure that all students can learn computer sciences by the time they graduate from high school.

We support ambitious public and private investments in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. We are focused on creating clean energy jobs with fair, well-paying wages in our communities. Entrepreneurship and innovation are fundamental to our future economic growth - in the information technology (IT) industry as well as energy, manufacturing, transportation, health, retail, services, and other sectors. We encourage the next generation of scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs, especially women and people of color, to make sure that Hawaiʻi out-competes and out-innovates the rest of the world with our bold innovation agenda.

New technologies are already transforming our economy. We support harnessing these forces so that they create higher-paying jobs, bring more people into the workforce, and reduce inequality. We support educating our people and training our workers; supporting entrepreneurship and promoting inclusion in the digital economy; attracting and retaining talented people from all over the world; and investing in research and development, innovation hubs, as well as in getting ideas to market.

High-speed internet connectivity is not a luxury, it is a necessity for 21st century economic success, social mobility, education, healthcare, and public safety. We urge the State to connect every household in Hawaiʻi to high-speed broadband, increase internet adoption, and help hook up anchor institutions so they can offer free WiFi to the public. We encourage action to help Hawaiʻi widely deploy 5G technology for faster internet connections to underserved areas and enable the Internet of Things and other transformative technologies.

We support both net neutrality to ensure free and open access to the internet, and the protection of personal data as a personal right.

We support the University of Hawaiʻi in its mission to increase awareness in science, technology and exploration to better understand our place in the universe and inspire and educate generations of young people in Hawaiʻi to pursue a career in science.


TRANSPORTATION

We recognize the necessity of providing a safe, efficient transportation infrastructure. We endorse efforts to promote less reliance on fossil fuel and to support energy-efficient methods of transportation. Therefore, we support county, state and federal efforts to provide more efficient and punctual convenient methods of public transportation, to include but not limited to, sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, bicycle paths and lanes, mass transit, highways, airports, and ferry systems. We support the allocation of resources including public funds to address all necessary transportation issues, including increased funding for mass transit. We endorse efforts to promote less reliance on the automobile by employing private and public use of alternative modes of travel. We encourage efforts to provide better vehicle and pedestrian safety. We support initiatives that will provide our state with more fuel-efficient vehicles, affordable mass transit and well-identified bike lanes. In order to be best served by mass transit, we must recognize the importance of the integration in an urban setting of any new modes of mass transportation with existing and future public streets and highways, bike lanes, retail establishments and services, and truly-affordable housing - while maintaining a high degree of open space at ground level in current and all future high-density developments.

We support the development of alternative emergency options for potential evacuation with special attention to rural areas that only have one access point.


U.S. MILITARY AND VETERANS' AFFAIRS

The Armed Forces in Hawaiʻi and their families sacrifice to serve and defend our country and help us in time of need. We encourage the continuation of efforts to coordinate military activities with affected communities. We honor their service by urging the State to fully support the best possible care of wounded and disabled veterans. Every veteran is entitled to timely access to high-quality health care and timely processing of claims and appeals. We must also look for more ways to make certain the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides truly patient-centered care, such as providing women with full and equal treatment, including reproductive health services; expanding mental health programs; continuing effort to identify and treat invisible, latent, and toxic wounds of war; treating post-traumatic stress; and expanding the post-9/11 veteran's caregiver program to include all veterans. We support our Veterans and our Veterans' organizations and efforts to keep our Veterans' Hospitals adequately funded. We, therefore, support efforts to adequately fund the Hawai'i Office of Veterans Services and the Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA). We support supplementing VA healthcare with community care when needed. However, we support the VA as the primary medical care coordinator. However, we oppose further attempts to privatize VA healthcare. We support full funding for the Veterans Treatment Court Program throughout the state. Many veterans struggle with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other illnesses due to their military service. The loss of the structure and camaraderie of military life can further complicate these illnesses. As a result, some veterans enter the justice system. We, therefore, want all Democrats to support full funding for the Veterans Treatment Court Program throughout the state, which assists these veterans in their reintegration to society.

We support the efforts of our Congressional Delegation to extend benefits for our Reservists and National Guard who have suffered brain injury and/or PTSD.

We support efforts to protect our troops from sexual predators within their service branches and support specialized treatment for victims of such crimes.

We support the expansion of the presumption of herbicide exposure for veterans who served in the territorial waters of Vietnam during the Vietnam War, collectively known as Blue Water Veterans.

Our country has a sacred, moral responsibility to keep faith with all our veterans and wounded warriors. We support measures that take care of those who have their lives on the line to defend us. That is why we will push for more educational benefits and job training, end chronic homelessness and combat suicide, and protect and preserve the post-9/11 G.I. Bill for future generations. We support that reservists and Guard members are treated fairly when it comes to employment health, education benefits, deployment, and reintegration.

We welcome and honor all Americans who want to serve and we will continue to fight for their equal rights and recognition. We commit ourselves to ensuring fair treatment for LGBTQIA veterans, including by proactively reviewing and upgrading discharge records for veterans who are discharged because of their sexual orientation. Our military is strongest when we support and embrace our nation's diversity. We believe people of all races, religions, sexual orientations, and gender identities should be honored for their service to our country. We oppose all policies that ban or limit the ability of transgender people from serving their country through military service.

We oppose war profiteering and the privatization of combat through employment of paramilitary contractors, especially the award of no-bid or sole source contracts.


PROTECTING OUR ʻĀINA

We strongly support the protection of our ʻāina against destruction by military usage, weapons testing, training and "war games." We support the best training for our military; however, we urge protection of our '?ina from long-term degradation and prevention of harm to our cultural and community assets. Where the ʻāina has suffered damage on land, in air, and in sea, we expect the military to restore, replace, reforest, and remove all unexploded ordnances and used shells from the damaged area.

 

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