Tomorrow Virginia’s 8th Congressional District Democratic Convention meets. In addition to voting on delegates and an elector to send to the national convention (currently scheduled for August 17-20, in person in Milwaukee, WI), the 8th CD delegates will vote on a package of resolutions drafted by the Resolutions Committee and interested parties. The resolutions are meant to be a statement of our shared values and objectives, as members of the Democratic community of the 8th CD–Arlington, the City of Falls Church, Alexandria, and parts of Fairfax.
Because they are drafted by a committee, however, 8th CD delegates may or may not agree with every single resolution in the package–and the entire package is voted on jointly as one thumb’s up-down vote. If approved, they are sent on to the DPVA Resolutions Committee for consideration, along with other resolutions submitted by other CDs and interested parties. If they are voted down, they cannot be reintroduced to the state convention, separately or jointly.
In case you don’t have time to read the full resolutions package, I’ve done my best to summarize them below. Personally, there are some I’m not completely onboard with for a variety of tactical and ideological reasons, and probably wouldn’t vote for if they were standalone resolutions; but I’m likely to vote for the full package anyway, and hope the state committee improves or removes some from the final platform. Bear in mind that resolutions don’t have a whole lot of teeth to them, they rarely compel legislators or other electeds to act in any particular way; they are merely a statement of who we are and what we stand for as Democrats.
Disclaimer: I wrote two of the criminal justice reform resolutions, and I’d like to see them make it to the state convention, so I may be biased. 🙂
- Support and work on infrastructure investments, including roads, rail, air, water transport, broadband, utilities and renewable energy, using organized labor; endorses the creation of a National Bank for Infrastructure and Industry that would help finance such projects.
- Reform zoning laws and regulations, and reinstate the proffer system to incentivize the development of more affordable and climate-friendly housing options.
- Support laws that prohibit anti-competitive and anti-consumer internet service business practices, and that encourage greater broadband access in underserved areas.
- Fund and secure the US Post Office.
- Pursue a Green New Deal for Virginia that includes a moratorium on fossil fuel investments, assistance for fossil fuel industry workers, investments in job training programs in renewables, and that escalates the Virginia Clean Economy Act’s timeline.
- Support the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019 to put a fee on carbon emissions; and to take actions to require methane leak inspections and repairs, fine particulate matter limits, and stricter vehicle fuel-efficiency standards.
- Raise the federal minimum wage to $15 as soon as possible with no exclusions, and indexed thereafter; accelerate the timeline for raising the Virginia minimum wage to $15,
- Support the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, reducing barriers to collective bargaining; support a repeal of Virginia’s “right to work” law; immediately allow collective bargaining for all public workers
- Support the Reward Work Act, prohibiting stock buybacks and encouraging worker representation on corporate boards
- Support paid family medical leave; amend the FMLA to provide paid maternal and paternal leave for new parents
- Provide federal COVID-19 relief including rental assistance, increased SNAP benefits and federal sick leave, and expanding the EITC and Child Tax Credit
Criminal Justice reform:
- End cash bail and excessive fines and fees, eliminate mandatory minimum sentences, and abolish the death penalty, and restore parole
- Increase the age for trial as an adult, and set a minimum age for criminal responsibility
- Take steps to facilitate re-entry, including expungement reform and automatic voting rights restoration
- Deschedule/legalize recreational cannabis use by adults, with regulation of the industry, with tax revenues directed to communities impacted by marijuana laws
- Exercise greater oversight over the Department of Corrections policies on the health, wealth and safety of those incarcerated, and visitation policies,
- End the use of restrictive housing; prohibit child strip searches, and physical restraints on pregnant people
- Ensure those incarcerated have access to quality health care, generous visits without undue limitations, fair wages, and fair prices for goods purchased at the commissary;
- Support legislation to prohibit LGBTQ discrimination in child welfare agency placements
- Prohibit courts from accepting the so-called “gay or trans panic defense”
- Affirmatively declare that transgender troops may serve in the Virginia National Guard and Defense Force
- Support gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors
Gun Violence Prevention:
- Pass at the federal level laws requiring universal background checks, extreme risk protective orders, closing the gun show loophole, regulating 3D printing of plastic guns, mandating greater oversight of the gun industry
- Fund gun violence research
- Stricter regulation on assault weapons and banning bump stocks
- Pursue all possible methods to protect and expand the Affordable Care Act and work towards universal healthcare coverage
- Work to pass the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act
- Limit prices on lifesaving drugs for medical conditions; support greater regulation on drug marketing
- Hold liable drug companies responsible for opioid crisis; limit those drug companies’ ability to profit off opioid addiction treatment
- Amend the Virginia Constitution to affirmatively declare a woman’s right to reproductive autonomy
- Strengthen anti-bullying laws in school
- Close the opportunity gap in schools, using implicit bias training, greater access to early childhood programs, hiring qualified teachers of color, ensuring fairly applied discipline, properly identifying and placing English learner students, teacher and principal ESL training, ensuring English Learner special education evaluations.
- Fully adopt Erin’s law and require child sexual abuse prevention education in public schools in Virginia.
- Support federal Universal Childcare and Learning Act, Universal School Meals Act, Thurgood Marshall Plan for Public Education, and Domestic Worker Bill of Rights (and ensure these rights are guaranteed regardless of immigration status).
- Redefine educators’ and health care workers’ jobs as “green jobs.”
- Support measures to make all public higher education, trade schools, etc. free and accessible to all; support measures to cancel all existing student debt.
- Increase Pell Grant funding to low-income students to help with non-tuition higher education costs
- Increase funding to Historically Black Colleges and Minority-Serving Institutions
- Strengthen protections against the use of torture to collect information from intelligence informants by requiring that all interrogations be videotaped and banning the use of contractors in interrogations.
- Reaffirm a commitment to a two-state solution in Israel, and oppose West Bank annexation and settlement; urge Virginia businesses to boycott West Bank settlements.
- Support the Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act.
- Work to temporarily lift the sanctions on Iran, expand licensing of sanctions-exempt items, and send aid so they can respond adequately to COVID-19 and rebuild in the pandemic’s aftermath.
Financial and Economic:
- Support the Worker Ownership, Readiness, and Knowledge (WORK) Act, the United States Employee Ownership Bank Act, the United States Employee Ownership Bank Act, and encourage establishment of Democratic Worker Ownership Funds, to increase employee-ownership and control of businesses and industry.
- Support financial reform bills, including the BRIDGE Act, the U.S. Employee Ownership Bank Act, the 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act, the Loan Shark Prevention Act, the Too Big To Fail, Too Big To Exist Act, the Stop Wall Street Looting Act, and the Stop Overdraft Profiteering Act of 2018.
- Encourage a wealth tax on the top 0.1% of Americans; create a national Wealth Registry and increase IRS funding for enforcement and auditing; impose a 40 percent exit tax on personal assets leaving the country; enhance international tax enforcement and anti-money laundering work
Privacy, Ethics and Voting Rights:
- Oppose legislation prohibiting robust electronic encryption, explicitly give Virginia residents the rights to see, delete, and prevent the sharing of all data businesses collect on them, ban facial recognition use by the government.
- Support Virginia government ethics reform, including a robust investigative system with subpoena power and transparency of proceeding, potential consolidation of ethics agencies, independence of the agency, a clear complaint process, and sanctioning power.
- Encourage a progressive tax system, including a higher top marginal tax rate, a surtax on the rich, repealing certain business tax exemptions, closing business payroll tax loophole, ending the “territorial” tax system that allows offshoring corporate income, and closing estate tax loopholes.
- Support eliminating or reforming the filibuster.
- Support efforts to impeach or censure the Attorney General William Barr.
- Eliminate superdelegates from the DNC nomination process.
- Pursue universal, no-excuse vote by mail for November 2020 and beyond; eliminate witness requirement; support the Natural Disaster and Emergency Ballot Act
- Support campaign finance reform in Virginia, including limiting campaign contributions, banning donations from public service corporations, restricting personal use of contributions and allow localities to implement public financing of elections.
- Support amending the US Constitution to reverse Citizens United.
- Support fair redistricting that ends map manipulation and creates truly representative districts.