A Platform for the Kentucky Democratic Party

Richard Young
Feb 9, 2017 · 6 min read
We support these folks.

Last week, I wrote an open letter to the Kentucky Democratic Party. I got a fairly immediate response from the KDP, and had a very pleasant exchange with one of their representatives. He asked me to send on my thoughts about why I am a Democrat, and what I think the KDP platform should be.

Since posting the letter, I’ve also had quite a few Kentucky Democrats reach out to me to share their frustrations. While they’ve all had different perspectives, one issue cut through all of them — they feel like Kentucky Democrats have nothing to fight for — no platform and no message.

So, I decided to write one.

Like I said in my previous post, I am not a political scientist or a politician. What I wrote is based on my personal values, and what I think we should aspire to as members of our party.

The Kentucky Democratic Party isn’t just an office or a political group — it is a group of voters that share values. We are the party. It should be up to us to craft the message.

Let’s try and start that conversation.

I pasted my ideas for a platform below, and also have it in a Google Doc here. That Google Doc is open to public comments. If you are reading this, and want someone to hear your ideas for the party, weigh in.

Disagree with me? Leave a comment. Agree with me? Leave a comment. Let me know what is missing.

I’ll take down any comments that are clearly not productive for the conversation.

Also, if you feel like writing your own platform — do it! Send it out through Facebook or Twitter — you can use the hashtag #KYDPlatform to keep it all organized.

Lastly, if you want to get more involved and be a voice for change in the KDP, be in touch with your county chair and start attending meetings. I know that I am. You can find their information here.

Let’s let our party know what we want our message to be.

And we support these folks.

The Platform:

Our party is based on two simple values:

1. The well-being of our neighbor is equally as important as our own.

2. All people should have the ability to determine their own future.

Our Economy

We believe that in Kentucky, if you work hard, you should be able to succeed.

Our country’s economy no longer benefits citizens and their families. Nationally, 3 out of 4 working people working more than 40 hours a week to make ends meet while the top 1% gets wealthier. Locally it isn’t much better. Wages aren’t growing, jobs are disappearing, and retirements are in jeopardy.

Kentuckians can’t decide their own future if they can’t afford to live.

  • We support a smart living wage that is tied to local cost of living and inflation. If you work 40 hours a week, you should make enough to be able to afford a home and provide for your family without being forced into a second or third job.
  • We support the right for all workers to organize for collective bargaining. Employees should have a say in their working conditions.
  • We support investments in education, quality of life, and the things that make our Commonwealth unique. If you live in an area where jobs are disappearing, it’s our responsibility to help attract new jobs to the area.
  • We support job creation through investments in Kentucky’s roads, bridges, schools, and community centers. There’s no reason that we should have crumbling infrastructure and people looking for work.
  • We support policies to tackle income inequaility specifically associated with race and geography. We will work to change the policies that disadvantage people based on where they live or what they look like.

Our Electoral Process

We believe that voters’ voices should be heard in Frankfort and Washington.

Our democracy has been taken over by outsiders, financial interests, and out-of-state think tanks. Many politicians have to immediately begin fundraising for reelection on their first day in office.

Kentuckians can’t decide their own future if they aren’t heard by their representatives.

  • We support moving to publicly funded state elections. This will make it easier for anyone in our state to run for office, and shut out the out-of-state donors who have taken over Kentucky politics.
  • We support an amedment to overturn Citizens United. Politicians should be accountable to their constituents, not shadowy special interests.
  • We support ending legislative gerrymandering. Redrawing districts to preserve political interests is anti-public.
  • We support creating strong accountability policies for state government. Information and data about what happens in government should be transparent, easy to understand, and easy to access.

Our Environment

We believe that in Kentucky, there are few things more sacred than the land upon which we live. It provides the food for our families, the water which we drink, and inspiration that drives us to do great things.

Our land, and the men and women who work the land, provide the power for our growth as a Commonwealth. Faced with a changing climate and an emerging energy economy, we must provide for both our workers and our land. We must recognize the service of those who labored to power Kentucky, and be sure their needs are met.

Kentuckians can’t decide their own future if Kentucky is left behind by its representatives.

  • We support targeting financial reinvestment into coal communities. They should decide how this reinvestment is prioritized.
  • We support the manufacturing of new energy technology in our state. Our state’s labor powered the nation for over a century — and we must continue that tradition as technology advances.
  • We support growing a state-wide local food system. We need to make sure family farms are profitable and that we can continue our state’s great farming tradition.
  • We support our state parks and landmarks, and those who maintain them. The next generations of Kentuckians should be able to enjoy Natural Bridge State Park, Red River Gorge, the Land the Between the Lakes, Pine Mountain, Mammoth Cave, and more.

Our Society

We believe that prosperity in our Commonwealth is tied to our values and morality.

Our values are simple: the well-being of our neighbor is equally as important as our own, and that all people should have the ability to determine their own future.

  • We stand in support of universal equality. We should call out racism, sexism, xenophobia, and all forms of bigotry — both overt and systemic.
  • We support criminal justice reform that focuses on substance abuse treatment and rehabilitation instead of jail time. Addiction is a disease and should be treated like the public health crisis it is.
  • We support the automatic restoration of voting rights to former felons who have served their debt to society. We support second chances.
  • We support a public option for health care. No one should be with out the basic care they need to be healthy.
  • We support reproductive rights. The government should not tell you what to do with your body.
  • We support universal access to sick time and childbirth leave. No family should be bankrupted for illness or parenting.
  • We support community-based policing. We need to build trust between our citizens and those who protect them.
  • We support your right to own a firearm and we support rigorous, universal background checks. We need to ensure that firearms don’t make it into the wrong hands.
  • We support a complete, quality universal education beginning at pre-kindergarten through college, no matter your income. Your zip code should not impact your access to education.
  • We support developing an education system that prepares our children for the 21st Century. We need a curriculum that teaches STEM as well as critical thinking; financial literacy as well as the arts.
  • We support free speech and we support Kentucky’s culture of diverse thinking and expression. We are the home of Bill Monroe and Wendell Berry — free speech and expression are at the core of our identity.

We believe that our differences should not divide us — whether in the Western Kentucky Coalfields or the mountains of Appalachia, the horse farms of Central Kentucky or the streets of our largest cities, we should be united as Kentuckians.

Just a reminder — in the middle of all of this chaos, the KY GOP is betraying their “small government principles”.

Richard Young

Written by

I am a musician, a Kentuckian, and I work in Community Development.