Minimum wage, energy, election reform top Democratic caucus issues
January 22, 2014
Mike Klaus (left) and Rick Hunsaker count ballots as Carroll ward 4 residents voted to elect two members of the central committee at the Democratic caucus Tuesday night.
Promoting clean energy, raising the minimum wage and election reform topped the list of planks proposed for the Democratic Party platform at the Democratic precinct caucuses held in the Carroll County Courthouse Tuesday night.
About 25 Carroll County residents attended the caucuses, a turnout county Democratic co-chairman Steven Kraus deemed "acceptable."
"All things considered, it being a non-presidential cycle, most of our precincts were represented," Kraus said. "I think there's some good interest in developing the platform."
Other proposed platforms included funding for organizations that address mental health, support of health-care rights and the Affordable Care Act, extending long-term unemployment benefits and addressing climate change.
Residents also proposed planks establishing promotion of clean-water practices, implementation of radon testing in schools and new construction and support of a commuter rail across the state of Iowa.
Education planks proposed included expanding continuing education through the Iowa State University Extension program by making classes available online and offering loan or tuition assistance to enable Iowa citizens to attend college.
Democratic caucus attendees also proposed strengthening Social Security not through privatization, but by scrapping the wage cap, support of a constitutional amendment that would state that money is not speech and corporations are not people, belief in science and not the distortion or suppression of policies backed by scientific evidence and rejection of codifying religious beliefs into law.
"It's about better defining Iowa values in the Democratic Party platform," Kraus said.
Carroll resident Mary Bruner said that being part of a grassroots political effort is exciting.
"The early caucus is where Iowa has its power," Carroll resident Carol Gronstal agreed. "If you want a say on who runs and what is on the platform, you have to participate. If you wait until later in the election season, it's too late - those decisions have been made for you."
The proposed planks will be reviewed by the platform committee and presented at the Democratic County Convention on Saturday, March 8, at 10 a.m. at Carroll Middle School. The planks will then be accepted, modified or rejected before being passed on to the state level.
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