Progressive Outreach Center
6:30 PM on Tuesday, August 14th
615 W Virginia Street
Navasota, Texas, 77868
We are starting several committees, and need your help, to name a few:
There are other opportunities to get involved as well such as fundraisers and service projects. Call (936) 825 4846 to get connected with fellow Texans trying to make a positive difference.
Our tax system is rigged in favor of big corporations and the wealthiest 1 percent. As Democrats, we want a fairer system, one that gives tax cuts to hard working families and small business owners and provides us all with more public goods like efficient public transportation, healthcare for all and debt-free college.
We believe no one who works full-time should live in poverty. We want to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, invest in job training and technical education and expand family leave so that you can care for a sick loved one without the fear of losing your job.
Our current school finance system is broken. It leaves our schools - urban, rural and suburban - underfunded, threatening the livelihoods of the next generation. Cuts to education at the state level results in higher property taxes and under-performing schools at the local level.
It shouldn’t matter whether you’re a mechanic, a cashier or a CEO - your child deserves access to a top quality public education. We also believe that every student who is willing and able should have the opportunity to obtain a college degree, certificate or technical training without being saddled with debt.
We adhere to the affirmation of the Declaration of Independence that life is an unalienable right. To that end, President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010. The ACA stopped the inhumane practice of lifetime caps on care and insurance companies denying coverage or charging higher premiums for preexisting conditions like diabetes or even pregnancy.
The Democratic Party believes in liberty. We define liberty by what you can do, not by what you can keep others from doing. We believe in: to a free and open internet; fighting against laws that encourage and legalize the racial profiling of immigrants and people of color; in a justice system where everyone is treated equally under the law, regardless of race or income.
Texas Democrats believe government exists to achieve together what we cannot achieve as individuals and that government must serve all people. A representative democracy is only truly representative if every single citizen is guaranteed the inalienable right to vote in fair and open elections.
Texas Democrats believe in equal opportunities and freedom for all human beings no matter a person’s race, disability, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic or immigration status.
Texas Democrats believe in a fair criminal justice system serving all people; robust public and higher education opportunities are critical for our future; and our economy must benefit all Texans.
Texas Democrats believe healthcare is a right; women’s rights are human rights; we owe future generations a clean and healthy planet; and a strong social safety net creates opportunity for all Americans.
Texas Democrats believe democratic government exists to achieve as a community, state, and nation what we cannot achieve as individuals; and that it must serve all its citizens.
We believe every Texan has inalienable rights that even a majority may not take away:
We believe in freedom:
We believe in responsibility:
We believe in equal rights:
We believe in equal opportunity:
We believe a growing economy should benefit all Texans:
We believe that our lives, homes, communities and country are made secure:
We believe in America:
We believe in Texas:
Texas Democrats believe that our criminal justice system should be transformed and focused on barriers to justice, root causes of crime, and alternatives to imprisonment. We must address the institutional and implicit biases that lead people of color and low-income people to be prosecuted more harshly than whites arrested for the same crimes, as well as laws and practices that are unfair and failing. We also support restorative justice, proposals to reduce mass incarceration, and justice for the most vulnerable in our society – particularly people with mental illness and intellectual or developmental disabilities, immigrants, veterans, and the LGBTQ community. As Democrats, we cannot accept a criminal justice system that is ineffective at reducing violence, preventing recidivism, or addressing the root causes of crime. Texas Democrats are committed to accountability and crime reduction as the necessary response to Texas’ expanding prison industrial complex. We support programs that provide training of law enforcement, legal professionals, and victim service professionals to address barriers to justice for impacted individuals. In lieu of incarceration, Texas Democrats support practical solutions of diversion, rehabilitation, and the use of screenings to correctly identify disabilities and that provide fiscal benefits to our state and our communities.
The Texas criminal justice system discriminates against the poor and people of color. Studies have revealed irrefutable evidence of racial and ethnic disparities throughout the criminal justice system, beginning with the initial contact with a law enforcement officer and arrest, proceeding through charging and bail and culminating with sentencing and appeal. Systemic racism and discrimination in the criminal justice system leads to disproportionate differences in rates of arrest, detention, conviction, and length of prison sentence.
Counties throughout the state maintain pretrial justice systems that process arrested persons in an assembly-line manner. Money, or the lack thereof, determines whether these pretrial detainees will be released or held in custody. County jails are overcrowded and poorly funded. People who cannot afford to be released on money bail languish in deplorable conditions for months on end while their case proceeds slowly through the court system. This often causes defendants who maintain their innocence to seek plea agreements and to plead guilty simply to be released from jail so they can return to their families and employment.
On any given day, thousands of people who are charged with misdemeanors and nonviolent crimes are housed in the nation’s jail system who have not been convicted of a crime, and are in jail for no reason other than they cannot afford the money bail they required to be released pending disposition of their cases.
These people are disproportionately poor and people of color, and pose no public safety risk to the community.
Across the country, criminal justice reformers are moving to reform the pre-trial release system and replace money bail with a system that relies on risk assessment tools. As of 2017, twenty-nine cities and states have adopted computerized risk-assessment bail systems that determines an individual’s flight and safety risk scores, primarily based on a defendant’s age, criminal history, and nature of the charged offense. A risk-assessment bail system allows judges to release low or medium risk defendants on their own personal recognizance by adding conditions specifically calculated to ensure the defendant will appear in court.
The State of Texas should join the states, counties, and municipalities across the nation that have soundly rejected the excruciatingly unfair money bail system and replace it with risk-assessment bail systems. A risk assessment bail system would save Texas taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in pretrial detention costs, and would remove corruption from the pretrial criminal justice system caused by a money bail system.
The bail system in Texas must change. Justice should not be measured by wealth and privilege. Fairness, due process, and equal protection should be the overriding goals of the criminal justice system. The Texas Democratic Party believes that all people must be afforded the same access to justice regardless of socio-economic status, race, religion, country of origin, or sexual orientation.
The Texas Democratic Party Supports amending Texas Constitution Art. 1 § 11, § 13 and Texas Code of Criminal 17.01 and 17.02 to create a pre-trial release system that:
The Texas Democratic Party supports:
Texas Democrats support programs that decrease recidivism by providing ex-offenders with a pathway back to productive participation in society. Texas Democrats support reducing recidivism by:
Texas Democrats support policies that:
Texas has the 5th highest incarceration rate in the United States. Though the U.S. accounts for only about 4 percent of the world’s total population, we have about 22 percent of its prison population. Texas spends more than $60 million each year to incarcerate drug users, not traffickers and the net result is a 63% re-arrest rate. Revocations from probation are also a leading cause of mass incarceration and continue to contribute to significant number of new intakes.
Our criminal justice system is failing Texans and as a result, our law enforcement is forced to jail individuals who would be better served with substance abuse or mental health treatment.
Though drug offenses are the major driver of the incarceration rate for federal prison populations, most inmates in state prisons are there for violent crimes. Simply stated, the most significant driver of incarceration overall is the length of sentences in state prisons. So-called “three strikes” laws, mandatory minimums, “truth in sentencing” laws, and other changes in recent decades have increased the average time actually served for a crime. Texas Democrats support:
Texas Democrats are dedicated to reforming the methods by which discipline is imposed in the public school system. We adamantly oppose all policies that lead our children from the steps of the schoolhouse directly to the halls of the juvenile criminal justice system. The school-to-prison pipeline is a concept that describes how “zero tolerance” educational policies dictate severe consequences for minor infractions. Texas Democrats support:
Juveniles are presumed to be less culpable for their crimes than adults and therefore have a constitutional right to be treated differently. Current neuroscience tells us that a child’s brain continues to develop into the mid-twenties. Prison-style incarceration does young offenders more harm than good. The use of tasers and pepper spray at Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) facilities, recent scandals related to sexual assault by staff on youth, and issues of understaffing require that we start to finally close our largest most dangerous facilities and finish the process of moving youth closer to home. Community-based juvenile justice prevention and intervention programs can ultimately reduce adult crime, Texas’ high incarceration rate, and the need for prison construction. Texas Democrats support:
Texas Democrats believe that our law enforcement agencies should embrace and reflect the diversity within their ranks and the communities that they serve. The most vital element connecting law enforcement and the people they protect and serve is trust. Unfortunately, poor relations between community members and law enforcement officers have created feelings of distrust, anger, and fear. For far too long, a disproportionate number of citizens have been subjected to violations and injustice suffered at the hands of those sworn to serve and protect. Over the last few years, the advent of social media has revealed numerous tragic events as they unfolded in real time, exposing the rest of America to what persons of color have experienced far too often.
Law enforcement must engage the communities they serve, and establish relationships with their citizens based on mutual respect and trust. The mantra “to serve and protect” must be applied equally to all communities, and we applaud police departments who have moved from a “warrior” to a “guardian” ethos in training and policies.
Democrats believe in a community-policing based on best practices that support communities rather than outmoded “broken windows” theories of justice that lead to the over incarceration of adults and youths, and destroying families. Texas Democrats support restoring trust between police and our communities by:
Texas leads the nation with the most people incarcerated in its 35 private prisons operated by five private companies. The goal of a private prison is not to effect individual rehabilitation or any other widely-recognized way to prevent recidivism. The objective of a private prison is to house inmates and to make a profit. In contrast, state-operated corrections facilities understand that 95 percent of prison inmates eventually return to society. Part of a state operated institution’s mandate is to expend the effort and resources necessary to facilitate a successful reentry back into the community for their discharged inmates. Private prisons make profit off a confined inmate, not a discharged one. These profit-driven corporations benefit when released inmates fail in society. Their recidivism generates more profit for shareholders. By treating prisons as profit centers, for-profit prisons are incentivized by mass incarceration and aggressively lobby law-makers for more inmates. In 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice discontinued its use of private prisons to house federal inmates. The decision to eliminate the use of private prisons came after the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General issued a scathing report that found private prisons to be both less safe and less effective than government run facilities, all without offering significant savings on cost. Texas Democrats support:
Texas Democrats believe that the primary duty of prosecuting attorneys, including any special prosecutors, not to convict, but to see that justice is done. Prosecutorial misconduct is a blight on the fundamental notions of fairness, transparency and due-process that must be demanded of the criminal trial process. For the criminal justice system to regain trust and respect among those communities it serves, it must rededicate its mission to ensure that the interests of justice are served.
In 2012, The Innocence Project researched the cases of prosecutorial misconduct heard by Texas appellate courts. The research revealed 91 criminal cases between 2004 and 2008 in which prosecutorial misconduct was confirmed, yet not one resulted in any disciplinary action against the prosecutors involved.
Attempts to pass legislation in Texas that would prevent prosecutorial misconduct have failed. This stems from prosecutors’ almost absolute immunity from state civil suits and federal civil rights claims that occurred from actions taking in a prosecutor’s official duties. In addition, disciplinary actions from district attorney’s offices and the State Bar of Texas remain rare.
The State of Texas should follow what California lawmakers did in 2016 an make it a felony crime for prosecutors to intentionally withhold exculpatory evidence. Prosecutors who violate this law are subject to 3 years in prison. The new law addressed intentional prosecutorial misconduct with both criminal sanctions and enhanced ethical requirements. Texas Democrats support:
Texas Democrats believe that a healthy democracy is based on free, fair, and transparent elections; that our constitutional right to vote should be protected at all costs by elected officials who exhibit ethical public service.
We must adopt policies to eliminate the barriers to voting and encourage full participation in elections. As Texas Democrats, we support:
Texas Democrats believe money should not determine who wins and loses elections. Campaign spending limits and keeping corporate money out of politics is essential to a healthy, responsive democratic system that can be trusted by voters. We support:
In a healthy democracy, officeholders must adhere to the highest ethical standards and be accountable to taxpayers by avoiding real or perceived conflicts of interest. No elected official is above the law. We believe that:
Good Jobs Build Strong Communities
Texans want to work in order to support their families and invest in their future. They need jobs that provide good wages, benefits and safe working conditions.
Texas Democrats believe a world class education system is a moral imperative and an economic necessity. Every child should be provided the opportunity to succeed – not just a select few. Achieving student success requires an unwavering state commitment to provide every Texas child the opportunity to receive a quality education from pre-K through college or career programs. The changing demographics of the Texas student population pose new challenges that must be met to keep the Texas economy strong and our communities prosperous. Owing to inadequate investment in public education, minority and economically disadvantaged Texas students continue to suffer from a persistent achievement gap. Every child should have access to an educational program that values highly skilled teachers and encourages critical thinking and creativity, without the harmful impact of high stakes standardized testing.
The Texas Constitution guarantees the right to a suitable free public education for all Texas children. Texas Democrats condemn the unanimous decision by Texas Supreme Court justices and the Governor who declared “victory” when the Court refused to enforce the constitutional right that guarantees a free public education for every Texas child. The Republican legislative majority has shortchanged education funding every session since taking control of both houses. In 2011, Republicans cut public school funding by $5.4 billion despite having more than enough in the state “Rainy Day Fund” and still haven’t fully restored those funding cuts. Correcting the deficiencies in funding Texas public education must be a legislative budget priority. Texas Democrats believe:
Texas Democrats support the Constitution’s “duty of the legislature” to provide suitable support for a system of “free public schools” and prohibition on using public school funds for the support of “any sectarian school.” Texas Democrats believe:
Early childhood education is essential to help students from all backgrounds begin to cultivate the skills that will last the rest of their lives. We believe:
Half of new teachers leave the profession within five years, leaving many students taught by teachers who are not certified to teach the subjects they are teaching. Early career educators are driven from the profession by low teacher pay, the constraints placed on them by high stakes testing, and inadequate funding that forces teachers to spend hundreds of dollars from their own pockets for for their classrooms. Democrats believe we must work to attract the best teachers and keep them in our classroom:
Crowded classrooms and an overreliance on high stakes standardized tests that stifle creativity and leave little time for genuine teaching and learning. Smaller class sizes improve student performance, but class size waivers are all too common. Teachers have sued TEA over plans to increase the testing stakes by imposing a statewide test-based “Value Added Measure” as a teacher evaluation metric, despite research that demonstrates such measures are not valid. Parents have sued TEA over numerous flaws in the STAAR test. There is a better way to create an excellent classroom learning environment to help students think critically and succeed. Therefore, Texas Democrats support:
Parental and community involvement in neighborhood schools has long been the hallmark of successful public schools. The community school model, engaging parents, educators and community in designing and implementing school improvement plans, offers a proven blueprint for restoring excellence in public education. This model provides real local control and accountability that detached, corporate-run schools simply cannot match. Democrats believe Texas should:
Many children who enter school with unique needs have extraordinary potential, if we simply address their needs and provide them an opportunity to succeed. Democrats believe Texas should:
To make the promise of educational opportunity a reality for students at risk of dropping out or failing academically, we believe the state should support:
Most retired teachers worked for years with inadequate pay and have no Social Security. Texas Democrats support:
All too often, extremists on the State Board of Education have made a laughingstock of our state’s process by approving curriculum standards and textbooks that violate the integrity and reliability of mainstream science and social studies, leading even conservative think tanks to call our social studies curriculum standards a “politicized distortion of history.” Texas Democrats believe the State Board of Education should:
Students, teachers and school personnel should be safe from acts of violence and must be protected from bullying, including cyber-bullying. We support fair enforcement of disciplinary standards, early interventions and mediation which support the success of every child regardless of their current socio-economic circumstances.
In light of Texas current discriminatory suspension and expulsion rates, Texas Democrats have taken the lead in passing legislation to eliminate disparities in discipline based on race, ethnicity, national origin, disability, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, or any other improper grands. The Texas Education Agency should be directed to investigate and correct any patterns of apparent discriminatory enforcement or non-enforcement of discipline standards, including standards for out-of-school suspension.
Texas Democrats have enacted and will work to implement measures to stop indiscriminate use of misdemeanor ticketing for minor infractions on campus and indiscriminate expulsion or placement of students in disciplinary alternative education programs for trivial misconduct. Students referred to disciplinary alternative education programs should continue to receive strong academic instruction. When a student’s misconduct is serious enough to warrant disciplinary placement, the state should make sure the disciplinary setting offers a full array of educational and social/behavioral services to help that student get back on track.
Texas Democrats believe all Texans should have the opportunity and be encouraged to pursue affordable higher education at public universities, community colleges, and technical schools. Today, too many students are saddled with a mountain of debt when they graduate from college, and Republicans have made damaging cuts to formula funding, deregulated tuition and restricted financial aid, policies that threaten our ability to meet state “Closing the Gaps” goals essential to our economic future. We believe the opportunity of higher education to be a right of all those that may seek it, regardless of race, gender, sexual preference, socioeconomic, or immigration status. We support policies that provide opportunity, free from debt, and a vision for tuition-free higher education system for college students, including:
Texas Democrats recognize and support the essential role of Texas community colleges, where the vast majority of Texas’ post-secondary students are enrolled. By combining affordability, high quality and responsiveness to community needs, these institutions provide an education to those who would be otherwise excluded.
State funding for community colleges has been drastically reduced and that burden has been shifted onto students, their families and property taxpayers. In addition, state funding for community college employee benefits has been cut, adding that burden onto tuition and local property taxes. The resulting, reduction in per student state funding has been exacerbated by cutting formula funding for community colleges by an additional 10% to fund a “performance funding” scheme. To maintain community colleges’ role in providing job skills lifelong education, we endorse:
To prevent further erosion of community colleges’ ability to serve their communities, Texas Democrats oppose:
Texas Democrats support innovative approaches to ensure diversity and safety in every Texas institution of higher education. We strongly support:
Good Jobs at Home
Hardworking Texans have the right to good jobs to support their families and invest in their future. Texas Democrats understand we must have an economy that works for all, not just the wealthy. The Texas Republicans reckless reductions in state funding for education at all levels will leave us vulnerable in attracting the jobs of the future. To this end we propose the following as the correct approach to providing the jobs to make our communities strong and resilient long into the future:
The Texas Democratic Party asserts that healthcare is a human right, not a privilege for the few. Texas Democrats recognize that the health and well-being of Texas residents cannot be based on decisions made by non-healthcare professionals whose primary concern is the financial well-being of a corporation rather than the well-being of an individual.
Texas Democrats support an affordable, high-quality, universal health care that would provide privately-delivered, publicly-funded healthcare for all residents of Texas. In order to address comprehensive healthcare and guarantee that all Texas residents will have access to quality healthcare. Texas Democrats support the passage of legislation [The Healthy Texas Act of 2019] that provides guaranteed access to affordable universal comprehensive healthcare through a system that would cover:
Effectively crafted legislation would:
The underlying philosophy of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is to move our country forward to a preventive based system where a priority is placed on the health and wellness of all Americans. Democrats support the legislation’s elimination of copayments for preventive services, as well as plans to expand community health centers and the number of primary care physicians and healthcare practitioners. Texas Democrats support promoting vaccinations and immunizations, increasing K-12 education about nutrition and healthy living, and expanding opportunities for physical activity in schools.
Texas Democrats join a long list of Texas business associations and local governments in support of a Texas Solution for Medicaid expansion. We believe that accepting the billions of federal dollars for the state’s Medicaid program can provide coverage to those working Texans that fall between the cracks and are denied or cannot afford private coverage. It would keep those working Texans out of the emergency room where they often cannot afford to pay their bills and would stop those costs from being passed on to Texans through higher insurance premiums and property taxes.
In order to protect and improve Medicaid, Texas Democrats advocate restoring Texas Medicaid to a fee-for-service model and reject privatization of Medicaid via managed care that denies, delays or restricts access to healthcare services. We further:
Texas Democrats support the security for seniors that the Medicare programs has delivered for decades. Democrats support the Medicare provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that provide improved quality of care, increase services to rural areas, crack down on waste and abuse and ensure more money goes to benefits and not insurance providers. We reject the backdoor privatization of Medicare. Democrats support the Medicare reforms enacted by Democrats in Congress to close the costly prescription drug “donut hole” that burdened seniors.
Texas Democrats support the parity for mental health coverage and treatment for alcoholism and substance use disorder. We support the coverage allowed for by the Affordable Care Act for mental health and substance use disorder services and encourage Texas to accept the federal Medicaid dollars so as to deliver coverage to those Texans living in the coverage gap care that has so far been denied coverage by Republican leaders. Texas Democrats:
Texas Democrats support increased education initiatives and services to address prevention and treatment of communicable diseases, such as Viral Hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, and Tuberculosis. Effective treatment and therapy for all communicable diseases improves the quality of life and encourages a return to the workforce. Texas Democrats:
Health studies have long indicated disease and mortality does not uniformly impact everyone in our state. Millions of Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Pacific Islanders, Indigenous Peoples, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ persons, living in America should not be disadvantaged by income, gender, region, immigration status, and discrimination. Texas Democrats:
Texas Democrats believe in the fundamental American values of freedom, privacy and personal responsibility. We believe in the right to make sound, responsible personal healthcare choices for ourselves and our families. Texas Democrats:
Cannabis legalization reform can improve public safety, boost the economy, reduce mass imprisonment and stigmas to our citizens, and generate revenue for the state budget. Cannabis prosecutions has disproportionately affected our youth, people of color and the poor. America’s prison population is now the largest in the world. A criminal record can destroy a young life forever. Texas Democrats support:
The Texas Democratic Party supports the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. We also recognize the immediate need for a balanced approach between upholding and respecting our fundamental constitutional rights and protecting the rights of Texans from those seeking to cause harm. Gun violence has reached epidemic proportions in our State and in our country, as evidenced by the Sutherland Springs and Santa Fe High School shootings and by the high number of deaths by suicide where a firearm is involved. We believe in a comprehensive approach recognizing gun violence as both a criminal justice and public health issue.
In the Heller v. DC case, conservative Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in his decision for the majority that the government has the right to regulate & make laws to prevent certain weapons. “We think that the limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of ‘dangerous or unusual’ weapons,” Justice Scalia wrote. We strongly support:
Texas Democrats believe violence and abuse affects Texans of all demographics and effective programs must be established at the individual, family and community levels to combat this scourge on our society. We understand that interpersonal violence and abuse – including child abuse, sexual assault, human trafficking, and family and domestic violence – are crimes that affect all genders, races, ethnicities, and classes. Violence and abuse often involve cyclical, generational patterns which affect the safety and well-being of all Texans. These issues cannot be adequately addressed without simultaneously improving access to housing, protections for workers and students, access to affordable medical and mental health care, and criminal and civil justice responses. Texas Democrats’ believe that we must do everything in our power to end these crimes, they will continue to damage not only the social fabric of this generation but of future generations. We support:
Death penalty exonerations have revealed deep flaws in the Texas criminal justice system. Despite 13 death row exonerations in Texas in the last 11 years, the death chamber and its machinery are still fully operational in Texas. Evidence, including scientific evidence, extensive studies by Innocence Project, major newspapers, and university research, strongly suggests that Texas has already executed innocent defendants including Carlos DeLuna, Ruben Cantu, and Cameron Todd Willingham. We must take every step to ensure there is never another innocent person executed. Texas Democrats support and urge:
Texas Democrats recognize that climate change is a real and serious threat that is causing drought, crop failure, heat waves, more extreme hurricanes, torrential storms, and extreme climate events. Recent events have shown how these extreme climate disruptions are ravaging our economy and environment, and it is time for Texas to become a leader in combating climate change. We recognize that Texas has some of the dirtiest coal plants in the nation, and our residents are at great risk from the health effects of carbon pollution and climate disruption. We also recognize that drought, crop failure, famine and disease caused by climate disruption can lead to political instability and violence throughout the world. To mitigate these risks, we recommend statewide and national clean energy and transportation policies that will spur economic development and reduce carbon emissions in Texas and the nation through the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Texas has long been a world energy leader, and Texas can continue that dynamic leadership in a transition to diverse, clean, abundant energy as we tap our wealth of alternative energy sources – solar, wind and geothermal resources, and work to increase energy efficiency. We support:
Science has shown that large quantities of methane are released in fracking operations, and that such releases are much more powerful in heating our climate than carbon emissions. Therefore, an aggressive phasing out and the end to the ecologically destructive extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as “fracking” in the state of Texas and throughout the world is necessary. Texas Democrats support:
Texas Democrats understand that global climate change has accelerated and that Texas water resources are being impacted by this development, a situation which calls for enhanced water conservation, management and protection. Clean Water from publicly managed resources is critical to our future and our health. Access to clean drinking water is a human right. Therefore, we support:
The purpose of government is to promote the common good and the protection of all, not the exploitation of resources for the profit of a handful of individuals and corporations. To that end, environmental protection, regulation, and enforcement is essential to preserve the health of our people, the quality of life, and to secure long-term economic growth. It is vital that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) protect the health and welfare of Texans through environmental stewardship. We support:
The Texas Railroad Commission has been tasked with overseeing the operation of Texas’ natural gas wells. However, they have become little more than a rubber stamp for businesses that damage air and water supplies in the name of profit. We support the Sunset Commission’s recommendations to improve the functionality of this agency as it relates to transparency, conflict of interests, ethics and changing the name of the agency to better reflect its role and jurisdiction. We believe that:
The preservation of recreational and open spaces is essential to a healthy Texas. We support:
Reducing the use of natural resources is the best option, followed by reuse and then recycling. Texas Democrats support:
We oppose any attempts by the Texas Legislature to stifle efforts of municipalities to regulate litter and pollution through city ordinances and regulations that ban bottles, bags, Styrofoam, or other wasteful packaging. Municipalities should be allowed to address waste reduction locally without state interference and allowed to enact ordinances to combat the problem that may be more restrictive than state laws if it is of the will of the local community.
Texas Democrats believe responsible, accountable and progressive state budget policy is necessary to restore trust between taxpayers and elected officials in Austin. Earning that trust requires leaders who will talk straight about the challenges facing Texans today and in the future – unlike Republican politicians who have created short-term and long-term budget problems and then have blocked solutions.
These Republican budget policies intentionally created a long-term “structural deficit” by cutting school property taxes while not providing the substitute revenue they promised from business taxes. At the same time, they have refused to use the Texas Economic Stabilization Fund, popularly called the “Rainy Day” Fund, for its intended purpose – ensuring continuation of appropriate services during economic downturns. They have even failed to use it to recover from our recent truly rainy days and other natural disasters. The price for these irresponsible state fiscal policies has fallen squarely on the backs of hardworking Texans for more than a decade.
Drastic state budget cuts in education, healthcare and other areas have shifted the tax burden to local governments, often requiring cities, counties and school boards to cut services or increase local property taxes or regressive sales taxes. As Texas Democrats, we support:
State government must invest wisely and efficiently to meet the needs of our rapidly growing population and develop the human resources that are the key to our economic future. Texas must reform state fiscal policy and develop reliable revenue sources that grow with the economy to provide essential state services for a growing population. Texas Democrats support policies to restore responsible state fiscal policy, including:
Under Republicans, Texas has entered into a series of questionable contracts with private companies that have reduced and harmed state services. Therefore, we support:
Texas Democrats support initiatives to ensure the security of our families. Every parent should be able to provide housing, nutrition, clothing and health care for his or her family. Families have a right to strong and healthy communities, including the right to produce, process, access, distribute, and eat healthy food and to understand the sources, quality, and nutritional value of their food regardless of race, class, gender, ethnicity, citizenship, ability, religion, or community.
Many Texas state agencies – including the Department of Family Protective Services, Health and Human Services Commission, and Department of Child Protective Services – play a direct role in ensuring Texans’ health, safety, and security. Abuse within the CPS system, failed managed care contracts overseen by HHSC, and questionable practices by DFPS are all the direct result of a Republican-led state government that have prioritized profits over people. Texas Democrats support:
Texas Democrats believe that elderly and disabled Texans of all ages should have access to long-term services and supports that promote independent living in the most integrated setting possible. We believe the state must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Therefore, we support:
Texas Democrats believe that we must maintain the promise of Social Security and keep the system strong and certain for all working Americans. Therefore we support:
Millions of workers have invested in public or private pensions to secure their retirement. We believe it is a legitimate role of government to protect the position of stakeholders in these pension systems. Therefore we support;
Democrats believe that Texans must have access to insurance protecting our homes and businesses at an affordable rate. Therefore we support:
Democrats understand that Texans must have affordable utilities and deregulation has failed to drive down rates and has produced an always confusing and often times misleading marketplace. Therefore we support requiring the Public Utility Commission to construct policies that force all providers to display all products using the same language terminology and industry measurements, including cancellation policies, and to describe those products so that they might be easily understood and compared.
Texas Democrats believe quality, affordable housing strengthens families and revitalizes communities. As the population of Texas continues to grow, the importance of housing policy extends beyond the critical value of shelter. Chronic homelessness is on the rise. Quality, affordable housing improves school performance, diminishes health problems for both children and adults, and decreases psychological stress – among other benefits. We support:
Texas Democrats recognize that the United States is a vibrant nation of immigrants. We value those who come from different countries and cultures. Immigrants add prosperity and resilience to this great country. They hold professional jobs, own businesses, build our homes, and work in several other industries. We believe in fostering better bilateral relationships with all nations including our southern neighbor whom we share an extensive border with. Importantly, viewing immigrants through a lens of fear and prejudice only hurts our nation and Texas. Our government’s failure to enact meaningful, long-term immigration reform has left us with the broken system we have today. Through a more fair and equitable immigration system our county is strong. We therefore:
Like most Texas road-users, Democrats support fully funding transportation projects to alleviate congestion and improve the safety of our roadways. No funding source should be eliminated and each community should decide which projects are the most important to that community. The positive growth of population and business in Texas has had a negative effect on our traffic congestion – raising concerns about air quality, traffic safety and lost productivity from commute wait times. Texas Democrats support:
Texas Democrats believe government has a responsibility to protect the people from dangerous products and fraudulent, unfair and discriminatory business practices. Therefore we support:
The Texas Democratic Party recognizes Texas women are strong, independent and powerful. Texas is the proud home of pioneering women who have blazed new trails in business, entrepreneurship, culture, and politics. The Texas Democratic Party seeks to address persistent inequalities that make women’s economic, physical and legal well-being subject to circumstance, prejudice, sexism and antiquated views of women’s role in society.
The Texas Democratic Party demonstrates its commitment to Texas women through women’s leadership at all levels of party activity and by working for policies, laws and elected officials that share our commitment to women’s full, equal, and essential role in Texas’ future success. As the Party that truly values Texas women and their families, the Texas Democratic Party will:
Texas Democrats support and welcome all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. We recognize that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Americans continue to encounter discrimination and must be treated as fully equal in all areas of life.
We therefore support:
Furthermore, we oppose:
Texas Democrats believe in the right of every Texan to lead a productive life, enjoy liberty, and to pursue happiness. Texas Democrats want all Texans with disabilities, including veterans, to ensure their right to live independently in the community in the most integrated setting of their choice. Disability rights are civil rights and no person should face discrimination based on disability status.
Texas Democrats believe that this is not only a civil right, but is also part of the economic vitality and interest of Texas. This requires increased access and availability of affordable, home and community-based long term services and supports.
We support necessary changes to preserve and enforce all state and federal disability rights laws, particularly the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Olmstead decision. Olmstead, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling based on the ADA that affirms that people with disabilities have a qualified right to receive state funded supports and services in the community rather than institutions. Due to lack of enforcement, supportive legislative policy, and sufficient accessible, affordable housing, thousands of Texans with disabilities, ready to transition to a home and community-based setting, are stopped from relocating because they cannot get access to vouchers or to accessible, affordable, and integrated housing options.
Access to affordable accessible public and private transportation is essential to the employment, safety, health and well-being of Texans with disabilities. Due to age and/or changes in health status many people with disabilities do not drive or have surrendered their licenses. In addition, Texans with disabilities are not always involved in transportation planning and budgeting of transportation, with the focus being on roads vs. mass transit, tolls vs. no tolls. Paratransit and taxi vouchers are often the only forms of transportation for Texans with disabilities. Voters with disabilities are denied the right to vote in person due to the onerous photo ID requirement. Texas Democrats support:
Texas Democrats believe that our veterans should be given the benefits they have earned and they have been promised, honored for their service, and accepted back into society with open arms. Providing education benefits to veterans for their service enables them to be the next generation of leaders, business owners, and highly skilled workers. Historically, empowering returning veterans to obtain education, at any level, has benefited America as a whole, and ushered in eras of prosperity. Texas Democrats wish to see this continue, and will do so by:
Veterans put both their bodies and their minds on the line when they answered their call to service. Many return home with physical wounds, and many more return home with wounds invisible to their fellow citizens. Texas Democrats know that the death of even one veteran on the home front, be it self-inflicted or by lack of access to healthcare, is a tragedy to the entire nations, and having veterans live on the street is shameful. Texas Democrats wish to remedy this by:
Texas Democrats understand the obstacles faced in rural Texas, and we are committed to providing our rural communities with the tools necessary to maintain their quality of life and create enhanced opportunities for future generations of rural Texans. All areas of Texas need access to natural and economic resources to grow and thrive, yet rural communities’ assets are under increased pressure from forces beyond their control. We support rural communities in their efforts to protect the materials necessary for their economic livelihood.
Water is a necessity for private individuals, agricultural businesses, and emergency management in rural areas. In the face of climate change, ongoing droughts, and threatened aquifers, we support:
Texas Democrats understand that the backbone of our food supply is and should be local, family owned farms. There can be a healthy balance between ensuring a nutritious, affordable, and reliable food supply for consumers, safe working conditions for farmers and farmworkers, protecting our environment and using modern, conventional production techniques to ensure good crop yields, healthy livestock and economically sustainable farms. There must be a concerted effort by the Teas Department of Agriculture to support the local family farmer, reduce reliance on synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. In order to do so, Texas Democrats will work to:
Access to quality healthcare in rural Texas is critical; many areas in rural Texas are underserved or have their current service threatened because of the failure of Republican leadership to either expand Medicaid under the ACA or provide alternative funding mechanisms and/or stronger incentives to protect rural health care delivery. In order to remedy this:
Education in Texas is an important priority in rural areas. Lack of jobs and economic opportunities have forced many talented young people to leave rural communities. To remedy this, Texas Democrats support policies that would:
The protection of private property is a cornerstone of freedom and liberty and is central to the Texas Constitution. The use of eminent domain for “private” gain by corporations, foreign and domestic, is a practice that our nation’s founders did not envision, would not have stood for, and neither will the Texas Democratic Party. Texas Democrats understand that obtaining private property through the condemnation process should be allowed only in cases where necessary and for a clear and rightful “public” purpose. In regard to eminent domain:
Texas Democrats know that internet access is essential to support economic development in rural Texas including healthcare, education, and agriculture. As many as 1 in 3 adult Texans don’t have access to broadband internet service, and most of them live in rural areas. Texas Democrats also know that public private partnership between federal, state, and cooperatively owned utilities can bridge the digital divide between rural Texans and their urban counterparts. Consider that in 1935 only 11 percent of U.S. farms had access to electricity. To electrify the countryside, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Rural Electrification Administration, which led to the formation of electric co-ops. By 1946, more than 50 percent of American farms had electricity. Texas electric cooperatives can bring internet access to rural Texans in the twenty-first century just like they brought electricity to the last century. To support the expansion of internet service in rural Texas, Texas Democrats support policies that:
Texas Democrats believe that religious freedom is a fundamental right for all Americans as provided by the Texas and U.S. Constitutions. We recognize the importance of religion and prayer in the lives of Texans and support our Constitution’s guarantee of every individual’s right to practice his or her own beliefs without imposing them on others. We support the U.S. Constitutional provision that no religious test shall be required as a qualification for public office. We believe:
Democrats hold political views motivated by deeply held personal beliefs. No political party and no extremist group hold a lock on religious or ethical beliefs and values. We believe that religion should not be invoked to supersede the rights of others. These rights include:
Texas Democrats believe peace, prosperity, and national security are assured by maintaining a strong national defense, promoting democracy, and advancing development abroad. Diplomacy through our State Department should be prioritized, and military action should be used only as a last resort and authorized only as allowed by our Constitution. We support consistent diplomacy and development efforts abroad in coordination with our allies. We believe the most important element in our military is the individual service member, and it is absolutely critical that we keep faith with those who serve and defend us. We strongly oppose the Trump administration’s attempts to drive out skilled diplomats and replace them with partisan, ideologically-driven political appointees.
Texas Democrats believe that the security of our nation is best achieved through: legitimate conduct, strong international leadership, sustained international engagement, nurturing proven alliances, and the maintenance of robust military capabilities. We recognize that we harm our relationships around the globe when we do not honor our treaty obligations. Therefore we believe America must:
Texas Democrats know that the economic and employment conditions of American workers depend on trade that is both free and fair. Therefore, American trade policies must: