Multnomah County's Democratic Platform
Every Election Counts
We believe all people have inalienable rights.
The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is one of this country’s most fundamental rights, but barriers, especially for people who bear the burden of our racist history, prevent that right from becoming universal. Individual freedom requires economic security and independence. We believe that everyone has the right to productive work that provides a living wage and the right to shelter, education and medical care. We commit ourselves to a second Bill of Rights to establish a new foundation for security and prosperity, regardless of station, race, or creed, to forge an equitable future.
We value public schools.
Our taxes fund public education, so we believe all our Multnomah County public schools—not just the ones in wealthy Portland neighborhoods—should develop critical thinkers and lifelong learners who can meet the challenges and opportunities of democracy. Our county is diverse, and our public schools must recognize that many students and their families are vulnerable and can benefit from wrap-around services to ensure student success.
Schools prosper because of dedicated staff, and we support the right of educators to organize and to bargain. School vouchers, for-profit schools, and other schemes that accelerate the privatization are detrimental to the promise of public education. In Multnomah County, every child deserves educational opportunities at all stages of life from all-day kindergarten to art programs to vocational training to free and low-cost higher education.
Productive work is the basis of a strong economy.
Our economy works best when an educated workforce engages in productive work. The government can support an economy where opportunity inspires us.
Government spending is an economic good, and we support infrastructure projects and improvements to create opportunities for local business. Some goods and services, such as education, health care, social insurance, fire, and police are so necessary that they must be removed from market forces.
Free trade should promote the common good and not come at the expense of consumer, labor, and environmental regulations. Progressive taxes perform an important social good by shifting the tax burden from those least able to afford it. As the economy changes, we need to explore and implement tools such as Universal Basic Income, separation of banking and investment, and public alternatives to military outsourcing.
In Multnomah County, we acknowledge that social contract that connects us to each other in shared responsibility.
We value our air, water and land.
In one sense, Multnomah County is the air we breathe, our water, and our land. We need to protect it for future generations. We need to look forward and reduce chemicals, support renewable fuels, and implement science-based strategies to reduce the effects of climate change.
We know that social prosperity is compatible with environmental stewardship. We adamantly oppose schemes to privatize public water resources and ignore environmental protections for profit. We need to clean up polluted areas, such as the Portland Harbor, and those responsible should bear the cost. We care about the future livability of our county. Multnomah County is a national leader when it comes to protecting the environment, and we need to keep it that way.
We believe in accountable representation.
At every level of government, citizens deserve an unencumbered right to vote, convenient and secure ballot access and a timely count. We advocate for fair, verifiable voting with initiatives like vote-by-mail, automatic and motor voter registration, and full reinstatement of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The right to vote should not be limited by a criminal history.
One person, one vote has long been a founding principle of our democracy, and we support the National Popular Vote to make this possible. We oppose actions that prevent ballot access and undermine election integrity. Gerrymandering, unconsidered voter roll purges, tampering, and hacking prevent ballot access and undermine confidence in our democracy. In Multnomah County, we stand for equality and opportunity at the ballot box.
Equality is the foundation of democracy.
Society thrives when community interactions reduce social discord and conflict. We believe in concrete actions to support equality, such as the Equal Rights Amendment, pay equity, net neutrality, collective bargaining, and the right to organize.
The ideals of equality must extend into people’s private lives. We believe in an unabridged Bill of Rights, the civil rights amendments of the U.S. Constitution, affirmative action, and the Voting Rights Act. There is no equality without the right to choose our life partners, and we believe consenting adults have an equal right to civil marriage.
Multnomah County is a place where we believe in full protection of human rights for all people regardless of regardless of gender, race, national origin, creed, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
We insist the criminal justice system respect dignity.
We need a fair criminal justice system that acknowledges the humanity of those within it. The discriminatory practices of the “war on drugs,” perverse incentives to mass incarcerate, lack of access to legal representation, militarization of the police force, and racial profiling burden our criminal justice system.
These indignities must be corrected. To improve the system for the community and to improve the outcomes for those involved in the justice system, we support community policing, recording interrogations, opportunities for reduced sentencing, allowing states to enact and enforce their own marijuana laws, and oppose mandatory minimums.
Nobody should profit from incarceration, so we oppose private prisons and systems that exploit prisoners’ ability to work and maintain contact with their families. To safeguard rights, we oppose gross violations of personal autonomy, such as shackling women in childbirth and inhumane living conditions for detainees. We urge the Portland Police Department to employ non-violent de-escalation methods. For Multnomah County, a just society creates a safe society.
Immigration policy must recognize our diversity.
Our immigration policy needs to be thoughtful and acknowledge contributions immigrants make to our society. Moneyed industries have tacitly encouraged and exploited illegal immigration for decades, and through their work, these immigrants have earned a path to legal residence and citizenship.
The exploitation of undocumented workers degrades conditions for all workers. Industries that rely on them need reform. Regardless of immigration status, people in the United States should have access to education and social services. We oppose border walls and travel bans and recognize the benefits of programs such as DACA. We support sanctuary cities. Multnomah County is home to a wide range of immigrants, and our policies must integrate them into our communities.
All workers have the right to a living wage.
A democratic economy provides living-wage jobs to support families, grows the middle class, and eliminates poverty. This is crucial for Multnomah County as the cost of living rises.
We support the rights of workers to advocate for improvements in their working lives and recognize the role of unions in raising the bar on benefits and wages. A strong safety net enhances workers’ rights and must be fully funded. State government must honor its agreements with public employees. Policies, such as family leave, should extend to part-time workers. We oppose all anti-worker and right-to-work policies and defend the rights of workers to organize.
The jobs of the future will be in clean energy and sustainable industries. We can train and prepare our workforce for the transition from a fossil-fuel economy.
Our values tell our Democratic officials how to make the laws and budgets we want. If you share our values, we need you to speak up by voting Democrat on the ballot this May 21. Please join your voice with ours, so we’ll all be heard in education, water, and fire districts. From local governments to Salem to Washington DC, government only listens to actual votes. Make sure yours gets counted. Pledge to vote your values.