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Democrats finalize platform

Democrats finalize platform

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Platform meeting

Chris Schmidt, Democratic Party of Wisconsin Platforms and Resolutions chair, runs the platform meeting at the party's state convention June 7 at Wilderness Resort. The party's platform for the next year was finalized.

While the speeches by major politicians and celebration of gay marriage may have received the most attention, nuts and bolts were also discussed at the Democratic State Convention.

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin met to finalize its platform at the convention Saturday June 6 at Wilderness Resort. The delegates at the convention met to go over the draft of the party platform and vote on amendments to it.

The platform was originally made by the party’s Platform and Resolutions Committee May 24. Resolutions were submitted by the congressional districts in the state.

The turnout for the platform meeting was sparse, as most of the seats were empty. According to party rules the platform has a maximum of 2,500 words. This leads to the biggest set of changes being mostly editorial — using a different set of words to convey the same thing — or correcting simple mistakes. The party also voted on changes to resolutions — limited to 100 words each. The platform and the resolutions are the party’s official opinions.

A vote of 60 percent was needed to amend anything to the platform. A voice vote was used and then a hand count was performed if necessary. Each issue had a maximum of 20 minutes for debate. The meeting was run by Chris Schmidt, Platforms and Resolutions chair.

The platform contained many mainstream Democratic Party values. The platform is in favor of gay marriage, equal pay for equal work, public education and taking action on climate change.

Controversial issues were discussed early into the platform amendment process. A party member asked to have support for a “concealed carry ban” stricken from the platform. He felt it would not reduce gun violence and would cause the party to lose votes.

No one spoke against the concealed carry amendment. The voice was initially inconclusive, but after a hand count the motion failed and the banning of concealed carry remained part of the platform.

The party then passed language affirming support for physician-assisted death for terminally ill patients.

Party support for all districts state-wide was discussed and adopted. Some felt that the party should pledge money to help candidates in every district if it wanted to seriously have a chance at winning more seats. Others pointed out the party was currently $293,000 in the hole financially, and simply couldn’t afford to give money towards every race – especially non-competitive ones.

The party ultimately amended an amendment to the resolution to provide funding for candidates in every district, but removed the words “viable” and “sufficient” before funding and put that amendment up for a vote. It ultimately failed, and nothing regarding financial support for candidates in all districts was added to the platform.

The final bit of controversy during the resolution process was driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants. A consensus on allowing the immigrants to obtain licenses was agreed upon, but there was some dispute about language saying they need to take a safe-driving course to receive a non-citizen temporary license and insurance. The party eventually decided to remove the language saying a safe-driving course would need to be taken. The party would still support immigrants having to take the standard driving test everybody must take to get a license.

The rest of the debate at the meeting focused on small changes to the platform or amendments that didn’t change the overall meaning.

The complete platform and resolutions text can be found online at http://wisdems.org/about/issues.

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