Statement of Values
The Young Democrats of Rhode Island believes in the power of young Americans to control our own destiny through participating in our democracy and advocating for progressive policies that bring about a better quality of life for young people and all Americans. Young people today live in a world of unsustainable high costs of education, low wages, and little bargaining power in the workplace. We want a fair chance to succeed and achieve the American dream! We can achieve this by advocating for changes in our government laid out in this platform.
We support policies to help all Rhode Islanders achieve good jobs with a living wage and sound benefits. We support policies designed to protect the economic security of all Rhode Islanders. Specifically, we support workers’ rights, including paid sick leave, maternity and paternity leave, a robust minimum wage, and collective bargaining rights. On budget policies, we support progressive taxation as a guiding principle.
We believe every Rhode Islander deserves equal access to a great public education. Public funding should be allocated equitably across school districts to ensure all students receive an equal opportunity at a fulfilling education. We oppose public funds for private schools, parochial schools, or corporate charter schools, and we support quality mechanisms of democratic oversight of education at all levels. We oppose over-reliance on high stakes testing. We instead support a robust and diverse curriculum that is engaging, culturally relevant, and rich in topics like art, science, and citizenship education. All Rhode Islanders also deserve access to affordable higher education. We support local and national initiatives designed to address the rising burdens of student debt.
We believe that health care is a fundamental human right, and we support high-quality affordable health care. We would like to see our great state continue to be a leader in improving access to health care. We believe in universal single payer as a guiding model.
Environment and Energy
We recognize the human contribution to climate change, and we urge policies to reduce carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency. We believe that all Rhode Islanders have a right to clean water, clean air, and a safe and healthy environment. We believe in environmental stewardship and sustainability, and we support sustainable agriculture, responsible fishing practices, and proper forestry.
Transportation and Infrastructure
Young Democrats of Rhode Island believe public transit is an economic justice issue. Rhode Island should have a robust, fully-funded public transit system that is safe, efficient, reliable, and cost-effective. We believe that our system of roads, bridges, trains, ports, airports and transit, should be well-maintained and built to promote economic development, connect workers with jobs, and knit together our communities. We believe that timely transportation investments should be made that promote the creation of housing development and employment opportunities consistent with the principles of smart growth, while preserving our natural and cultural landscapes. We specifically support restoring Rhode Island’s rail infrastructure.
The Young Democrats of Rhode Island support a common-sense approach to gun control, including but not limited to, bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, universal background checks, registration and licensing, and reasonable limitations on concealed carry permits. We oppose law enforcement profiling on the basis of race, income, age, sexual orientation, or other factors. We believe the drug war has been an abject failure and support sensible drug policy reform, specifically the taxation and regulation of marijuana. We support the community policing approach.
We believe that discrimination based on gender, gender identity, ethnicity, age, race, religion, income, housing status, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, immigration or refugee status has no place in our communities. The Rhode Island Young Democrats are committed to protecting individuals’ rights to freedom of speech, press, equal protections, and due process under the law. We support the freedom of religion and the separation of church and state. We support equal access to public lands and public services.
The Young Democrats of Rhode Island believe in full gender equality. We firmly support reproductive rights and oppose any limitations on birth control, comprehensive sex education, or a woman's right to choose. We believe in equal pay for equal work, and we believe in work supports such as child care subsidies, maternity leave and RIte Care. We reject the culture of violence against women and support well-funded resources for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
The culture of discrimination against LGBT/Queer Rhode Islanders does deep damage, as manifested in high rates of suicide, depression, and homelessness. We support policies to address these problems, including workforce protections, marriage equality, suicide prevention and public health outreach.
We are proud to be a nation of immigrants. We support humane immigration reform that keeps families together, recognizes the struggles and contributions of undocumented Americans, and creates an inclusive path to citizenship.
We applaud the deep sacrifices veterans have made for our nation. We support full funding for veterans’ services, including physical and mental health services.
We support a timely withdrawal from Afghanistan and an emphasis on on diplomatic solutions where possible. We reject the use of torture in all forms, and we encourage a speedy closure of Guantánamo.
Clean and Fair Elections
We believe that voting is a fundamental human right. We oppose voter intimidation tactics like voter ID laws and excessively long lines. We support policies to increase election transparency, access to the ballot box, including early voting and same day registration. We are deeply concerned about the corrupting influence of money in politics exacerbated by the Supreme Court’s shameful Citizens United ruling, and we support policies to reduce the influence of money, such as disclosure laws, shareholder approval, and public financing of elections.