Yesterday's Kent County Democratic Convention served as a prelim to the Michigan Democratic Party Convention in two weeks. At this and other county Democratic Conventions across Michigan, precinct delegates elected delegates and alternates to sit on the State Convention Committees on Rules, Credentials, and Resolutions, while also introducing resolutions for adoption by the county Party and possibly the State Party.
Having been re-elected Precinct Delegate by one vote last summer, I felt compelled to do more than merely attend this convention and second the motion to approve the Credentials Committee report (which I actually did at the August Convention!).
So I introduced two resolutions for delegates to consider. Here they are, as slightly modified by the County Convention Rules Committee and adopted by the convention as a whole.
Resolution Opposing Orientation-Based Discrimination Regarding Blood Donation
WHEREAS, the Kent County Democratic Party is committed to equal rights and the health and safety of all people, while valuing community service;
WHEREAS, donating blood is widely recognized as a great way to give back to the community;
WHEREAS, blood centers often experience shortages of blood, particularly during the winter and summer months. Should blood supplies be depleted, a considerable number of lives would be in jeopardy;
WHEREAS, homosexual men in the United States are prohibited from donating blood if they have had contact with another male at any time since 1977, even if neither man has ever been tested positive for HIV. Neither homosexual women nore heterosexuals are subject to this restriction;
WHEREAS, currently all blood is tested for HIV/AIDS and other diseases after it is donated, meaning that it is unnecessary to prohibit anyone from donating blood based on their gender and sexual orientation;
WHEREAS, the Food and Drug Administration has estimated that if this restriction were to be lifted, more than 112,000 more Americans would be eligible to donate blood. While not all of these 112,000 would actually give blood, blood supplies would be greatly increased if even a small proportion were to donate.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party opposes restrictions on blood donations based on a person's gender and sexual orientation; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party urges the Obama Administration to direct the Food and Drug Administration to end this form of discrimination against homosexual men.
Resolution Declaring College Affordability a Critical Component of Economic Health and Social EqualityHere's a list of the resolutions we adopted at the 2007 State Convention. As I recall, all of the ones we adopted at the 2007 County Convention were adopted at the state level, too.
WHEREAS, the Democratic Party has always led the way when it comes to strengthening our economy and promoting opportunity for all;
WHEREAS, a college degree is no longer seen as an option, but rather as an essential part of a person’s success in the global economy;
WHEREAS, a large, highly skilled workforce is essential to the economic health of our state and nation;
WHEREAS, our state and national economies are experiencing the most severe challenges since the Great Depression;
WHEREAS, according to the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, tuition and fees at American colleges and universities rose 439 percent from 1982 through 2007, while median family income increased by only 147 percent during the same period;
WHEREAS, even after accounting for financial aid, low- and middle-income families are forced to pay a far greater share of family income for college expenses than more affluent families. Thus, the cost of college is an obstacle to the achievement of our Party’s vision of equal opportunity for all;
WHEREAS, according to the College Board, the average college student graduates with roughly $20,000 of debt;
WHEREAS, it is estimated that 200,000 young people per year opt not to go to college due to cost. This not only hurts that person's ability to succeed, it also impairs our nation’s efforts to compete in the 21st century global economy while further exacerbating the economic inequalities that persist to this day.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party recognizes college affordability as a critical component of both overall economic health and social equality for all; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that Michigan Democratic Party calls upon President Obama, Governor Granholm, and all other Democratic elected officials to place college affordability as a top priority when it comes to ensuring equal opportunity and a healthy economy for Michigan and the United States.