For Immediate Release
March 6, 2018
Democrats Stand Up for Rural Communities
At the California Democratic Party (CDP) convention last month, the CDP adopted its first-ever Rural Plank (attached) as part of the party platform, demonstrating the state party’s commitment to addressing the distinct challenges facing rural communities in California.
The Rural Plank starts with this overarching policy pronouncement: “In recognition of the special challenges in developing policies and programs that work in rural communities, California Democrats will encourage elected officials to consider the effect of any new policies or programs on rural California, by asking, ‘Is it fair and will it work in rural California communities?’”
“Our rural areas are often the lost stepchild in California politics,” says Michael D. Evans, chair of the Fresno County Democratic Party. “The CDP’s Rural Plank draws attention to the critical issues of our rural communities so that we can begin to effectively address those concerns.”
Every two years, the CDP reviews and revises the party platform, which is a statement of the policies and principles of the party. To take advantage of this opportunity, the Del Norte County Democratic Party held a series of local workshops to review individual planks of the platform. Each “plank” focuses on a specific category of issues. On a parallel track, other rural counties reviewed the platform through the Democratic Rural Caucus Platform Committee.
Following these local and regional workshops, recommended amendments were submitted on planks related to Energy and the Environment, Sustainable Communities, Business and the Economy, Communications and the Internet, Disabilities, Health Care and Veterans. Many of these recommended changes were accepted into the platform.
These recommendations were shepherded through the process by former Del Norte County Supervisor Martha McClure, who was appointed to the Platform Committee to help represent a rural perspective in the Platform revisions. Responding to advocacy for rural communities, the Platform Committee agreed to consider a stand-alone rural plank and McClure was appointed to chair the Rural Plank Committee.
“In addition to ensuring that the Platform represents our progressive values, we especially wanted to provide suggestions for policies that will better reflect the needs of rural California,” explains McClure. “We expect to see improvements in the way that the California Democratic Party and our elected officials represent our interests. This is our chance to stand up for rural communities.”
“For years, we have been working to raise awareness and better inform urban legislators about the special considerations needed for developing policies for rural communities,” said Del Norte County Democratic Party Chair Kevin Hendrick, “This is a very tangible result of this ongoing advocacy.”
Michael D. Evans