Februrary 20, 2016 Platform Convention Report

Report to delegates for February 20, 2016 Platform Convention

Washburn Public Library – Washburn Meeting Room – Noon start time
5244 Lyndale Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN  55419

 REPORT

In October 2015, we conducted a Platform Convention.  While we passed 47 planks across eight topic areas we did not complete all eleven areas.  Today, we gather together to finish those efforts.

We will undertake individual planks in the areas of Education, Agriculture and Infrastructure/Transportation.

We also need to discuss the topic headings – longer philosophical/ideological statements. These broad statements will generally take a higher-level look at a category so that they can be used to provide foundational language and guiding principles in their area.  They will also allow us (and the public and candidates) to often infer a position on an issue where we may not have a specific plank.

In October, Convention Delegates wished to have some additional work done on the heading language before undertaking them.  The original drafts were worked up by a platform committee of six and posted to a party Facebook platform workgroup consisting of another 24 members.  In revising the headings for this convention at the direction of the previous convention more in-depth efforts, generally using committees of three people, were put forth by many of these same 30 people plus additional members of the State Executive Committee not counted among that number.  With the wordsmithing of the headings complete, they are presented to you in what is roughly their third draft form.

Finally, there are two ‘Miscellany’ planks that we recommend you vote down.  They are holdover healthcare planks.  Work is already underway to ascertain party positions on both Immigration and Healthcare and these two planks, if applicable, can be reconsidered when full language is ready for review on those two topics.

It is the recommendation of the committee that the ‘headings’ language be consistently and uniformly adopted and treated.  Therefore, we believe they should be voted on strictly as equivalents to “supporting planks” requiring 60% approval thresholds.  This level acknowledges an understanding that support tends to drop as language gets longer.  Treating them uniformly will avoid a situation of some number being treated/considered cornerstone headings and others coming in as supporting when, in presentation, they will share equal stature.

Planks themselves will be voted on and considered ‘cornerstone’ or ‘supporting’ depending on their level of support.

 

For your consideration,

Phil Fuehrer
State Chair
Independence Party of Minnesota

HEADINGS

Authentic and Innovative Leadership

We look for and offer leadership that acts for the greater good, prepares us for the future and remains accountable to the citizenry while valuing transparency and honesty above expediency.

The Independence Party believes that true leadership demands input and solicitation of opposing viewpoints with fair and open consideration of the same with debate conducted publicly and openly. The use of a variety of methods, including technology, should be utilized to broaden input and allow for affordable and adequate provisions of the citizenry to address grievances.

 

Natural Resources and Energy

The Independence Party of Minnesota believes in pursuing responsible and sustainable use of our natural resources and that government at all levels must be prudent and responsible when it buys, sells or leases natural resources.  As the Land of Sky-Blue Water, special emphasis must be placed on the cleanliness and long term health of our groundwater, lakes and rivers.

Furthermore we encourage renewable energy and investment in its development to ensure our independence from foreign energy sources, ensure future generations have adequate access to affordable energy, and to ensure ours and future generations enjoy healthy and robust natural resources.

 

Taxes and Budgets

The Independence Party believes in a tax system that is simple in it’s implementation, easy to understand, and structured so it cannot be used as a political tool to favor one group over another.

Furthermore, we believe in fiscal restraint and responsibility in government with a budgeting and spending process that limits irresponsible spending. We believe in budget reporting and formulation that leads to a clear and transparent picture of the financial health of the state and national governments that does not exist today.

Economic Growth and Small Business

The Independence Party believes a strong, free, and engaged working middle class is a key driver of economic growth and investment. Government policies that favor the political and economic elite restrict growth and lead to wealth inequality. Higher levels of inequality and a smaller working middle class diminish public engagement in government, and reduce broad acceptance of free market values.

We believe that small businesses are the backbone of a strong and thriving economy. We support policy that creates incentives for entrepreneurship, reduces burdensome start up regulations, provides for opportunities to compete and empowers small business owners to operate as they see fit.

National Security

The foremost responsibility of the federal government is the defense and security of the nation and its people. To that end, we believe in maintaining superiority in our strategic systems including technology, space, and cyber warfare.

Outside of honoring our treaty commitments, we reject military intervention without a clear threat to our national security, expect clear explanations of what that threat is, demand an enumeration of the specific objectives and desired end results, and require the approval of congress except when time requires immediate action.

 

Criminal Justice

The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world to the detriment of the taxpayers and society. We support policies and programs that reverse this trend and allow former offenders to reintegrate into society upon their release. We believe in a fair, affordable, and accessible justice system for all. We believe in restorative justice and an end to the war on drugs.

 

Election, Campaign, and Government Reform

Elections should not be driven by special interest money, overly restrictive ballot access and debate criteria, and/or affiliation with one of two major political parties. We believe a better election process, including partial public funding of campaigns and alternative voting methods, will lead to more civil campaigns, legislatures that are more reflective of the general populace and, ultimately, reformed government that is inclusive and “by the people” in a way that doesn’t exist today.

 

Civil Rights and Equality

The Independence Party of Minnesota supports policies that honor an individual’s right and capacity to decide what is best for themselves.  We believe in an inclusive society that protects everyone’s rights, and one where Americans have the right to be free of discriminatory treatment because of their race, religion, gender, political beliefs or other labels.  Furthermore, we know there is no personal freedom without privacy and we should, therefore, be free from unwarranted searches, detentions, seizures and mass secret surveillance.

 

Education

The Independence Party considers education a primary method of achieving personal freedoms, public safety, public health, and prosperity for all.  We expect state government to foster the effectiveness of a multi-faceted educational system.  We also consider education a states’ rights issue, and favor significant shifts of responsibility and involvement in education issues from the federal government to state governments.

We Support:

–  Early childhood funding with scholarships rather than a government run only monopoly (NOTE: from CD1)

-A varied educational system which would include but are not necessarily limited to: Pre-K, primary, secondary and post-secondary schools such as private, public, charter, home-schooling, on-line, etc.

-A varied system of adult educational options such as English as a second language, job retraining, schooling for inmates, etc.

-A strong public library system

-Tying all Student loan repayments to income

-Creating Student loan forgiveness terms that are based on amount borrowed

-Expanding Pell Grant offerings with profits from the Federal Student Loan program

 

We Oppose:

-The reduction of Student Loan rates without proven reduction in Student Loan default rates

 

Agriculture

The Independence Party of Minnesota believes in maintaining agriculture’s traditional role in supporting Minnesota’s economy and recognize its future potential to address the state’s broader natural resource goals.  We support the USDA Farm Bill’s trend toward risk management policies, but favor a more coordinated approach between the commodity, energy and conservation titles.

At the state level a continued investment in public-private partnerships to expand the uses of agriculture’s commodities and supporting local food ecosystems can add wealth to the varied sized and diverse agriculture enterprises and bring healthy foods to consumers and institutions.  We recognize the emerging “sustainability” demands from corporate supply chains, drinking water utilities, government watershed regulations and NGOs as generally legitimate, but in great need of unifying policies to return value back to the landscape.

We Support:

– The legalization and use of industrial hemp.

– Transitioning from crop subsidies to shared risk management support

– Tying farm bill support to natural resource management

– Public-private partnerships to expand industry uses of commodities

– The development of local food economies in urban areas

 

Infrastructure and Transportation

The Independence Party believes that maintaining and improving our entire state’s infrastructure is one of the key duties of state government and thus should be given high priority, something the other parties have failed to do.  This failure has resulted in structurally deficient bridges, and aging and crumbling wastewater/sewer systems throughout the state along with inadequate infrastructure and poor regional development in Greater Minnesota.

We Support:

– High Speed Rail

– Gov. Dayton’s Transportation Plan (NOTE: from CD 1)

– Personal Rapid Transit and other forms of mass transit

– A requirement that the State Commissioner of Transportation possess, at least, a B.S.

in Engineering

– “Border-to-Border” development of broadband internet access

 

Miscellany

We Support:

–  Transparency of information regarding health care provider cost and quality so that consumers can make informed choices.

–  Policies that enable every individual and family to afford and pay directly for routine and predictable health care costs, and carry health insurance coverage for catastrophic needs.

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