“What’s gonna fix our democracy is you … you and your vote.” BARACK OBAMA 9/7/2018

“Here’s the good news:  In one month, we have the chance—not the certainty, but the chance—to restore some semblance of sanity to our politics. Because there is only one real check on bad policy and abuses of power. And that’s you—you and your vote.

“What’s gonna fix our democracy is you … The threat to our democracy doesn’t just come from Donald Trump … the biggest threat to our democracy is indifference … ”

BARACK OBAMA
September 7, 2018

THE DEMOCRATIC PLATFORM

The Chester County (Pennsylvania) Democratic Committee believes in Freedom, Fairness, and Opportunity for all Americans, regardless of what they believe, who they are, and where they came from. Join CCDC in making Chester County a better place for all!

We have a chance to fundamentally shape the future of our country.
But that will only happen if all of us work together — starting right now.

Watch Our Video!

Every four years, the Democratic Party puts together our party platform, the ideas and beliefs that govern our party as a whole.

What follows is our 2016 platform — our most progressive platform in our party’s history and a declaration of how we plan to move America forward. Democrats believe that cooperation is better than conflict, unity is better than division, empowerment is better than resentment, and bridges are better than walls.

This party platform was voted on and passed by our membership at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in 2016. The platform will be updated and re-approved at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

Download 2016 Party Platform PDF

Platform Contents

To read the entire platform, choose a section to jump ahead or scroll down.

Preamble

Raise Incomes and Restore Economic Security for the Middle Class

Create Good-Paying Jobs

Fight for Economic Fairness and Against Inequality

Bring Americans Together and Remove Barriers to Opportunities

Protect Voting Rights, Fix Our Campaign Finance System, and Restore Our Democracy

Combat Climate Change, Build a Clean Energy Economy, and Secure Environmental Justice

Provide Quality and Affordable Education

Ensure the Health and Safety of All Americans

Principled Leadership

Confront Global Threats

Protect Our Values

A Leader in the World

Vice Chairman’s Take on Vietnam 50 Years Ago Today

A few of my close buddies leaning over the ship rail. I flew back thirteen months later, but some of these guys did not.

A few of my close buddies leaning over the ship rail. I flew back thirteen months later, but some of these guys did not.

Fifty years ago today, I shipped from Jacksonville aboard the USS Boxer with others from the 1st Air Cavalry Division, bound for Vietnam via the Suez Canal. We were the first full division sent to the war.

Please hold off on what has become the obligatory “thank you for your service” comment. As I look back on this anniversary with mixed feelings, I would like you to thank me another way.

As with many of our wars before and since, we fought in Vietnam for the wrong reasons and wasted lives, treasure and some of our claim to honor as a country. We were lied to. We were misled. If we learned something from that waste, I’d be prouder to have served. As it is, we repeated and magnified our mistakes and we now find ourselves in an endless war of attrition, again because of the lies of our leaders.

As Pete Seeger sang, we’re still “waist deep in the big muddy and the big fool says to push on.”

So, yes, you can thank us for our service, but not with a few perfunctory words. Do it by holding our leaders more accountable. Make them prove the effort is worth the sacrifice. And demand to throw them in jail when you find out they lied again. Don’t just “support the troops.” DEFEND the troops!

Anyway, the photo is one I took the day we sailed. It shows a few of my close buddies leaning over the ship rail. I flew back thirteen months later, but some of these guys did not. Not many smiles then or now, I’m afraid.

Jim Salvas

Community Bill of Rights

Borough of West Chester Community Rights Alliance. Please, Sign Our Petition.

The West Chester Community Rights Alliance (WCCRA), a growing group of West Chester Borough citizens, wants to add a “Community Bill of Rights” to the Borough’s Home Rule Charter. Our Community Bill of Rights reclaims our “natural” rights to clean air, clean water, community self-government, a sustainable energy future, and peaceful enjoyment of our homes. We ask registered Borough voters to sign our petition to place this question on the November ballot.

What is a Community Bill of Rights? A Community Bill of Rights acknowledges that we have an inalienable right to local self-governance.

Why Do We Need It? More than 100 PA communities have passed Community Bills of Rights to secure their rights to self-government, protect citizens from harmful corporate activities, and move toward sustainability. In many cases, communities are protecting themselves from exploitation by natural gas companies. In fact, gas companies are aggressively pushing pipeline construction all around us, disregarding our interests while claiming exemption from local zoning ordinances and environmental protections. We don’t need to look far to see the threats. It’s happening in West Goshen, and it happened in State College, where a Community Bill of Rights passed with a 72% majority and helped stop a pipeline from going right through town.

What Does the Petition Do? By signing, you are not passing the Community Bill of Rights. You are saying you want this question on the ballot in November, so We The People (not We The Corporations) can decide our own future. We need 500 signatures before August 4, 2015.

What Happens When We Get the 500 Signatures? WCCRA will initiate a campaign to inform Borough residents, so you’ll understand fully before you vote. Representatives from the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF.org) will visit the Borough to support us and answer questions. Everyone will have a chance to weigh in.

Our system of local self-governance will work if we think it will. It won’t work if we don’t.

Will YOU help?

Photo Credit: Jim Salvas

Photo Credit: Jim Salvas

Natural rights are innately part of being human. The self-evident rights of the Declaration of Independence—life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness—are inalienable natural rights. Legal rights are those acknowledged and protected by a government.

The Founders understood that powerful interests often prevent individuals from exercising their natural rights, and this is why they deemed them to be inalienable, or unable to be taken away.

Today, we are prevented from protecting our right to clean air, clean water, and a sustainable energy future because powerful

and single-minded corporate interests manipulate legal rights with money and lobbying, by directly writing laws, and by claiming exemption from local protections.

Reclaim our natural rights. Now is the time.

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Find us on Facebook

To carry a WC Community Rights Alliance petition, email WestChesterCRA@gmail.com — we will bring a petition to you!

You’ll see, the petition text is somewhat microscopic. If you want to read every word comfortably, download it in larger print here: WCCRA petition text.

Bayard Rustin a Medal of Freedom honoree

By Jeremy Gerrard, Daily Local News, 11/21/13

The borough of West Chester was represented Wednesday at the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony, where borough native Bayard Rustin was one of 16 individuals honored this year.

West Chester Mayor Carolyn Comitta was invited to be a guest at the ceremony in the East Room of the White House.

“It was really amazing and unbelievably remarkable on so many levels,” Comitta said.

According to White House officials, the Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest civilian honor, “presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

White House officials said this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Executive Order signed by President John F. Kennedy establishing the medal. Since the inaugural class of 31 recipients, more than 500 individuals have been awarded the honor.

President Barack Obama read brief biographies of the recipients before any were awarded Wednesday. During this time, Comitta said the audience remained quiet to hear the bios, though some spontaneous applause erupted during the president’s remarks on Rustin.

“I thought that was very moving and touching,” Comitta said.

Other recipients of the honor were former president Bill Clinton; broadcaster Oprah Winfrey; former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee; former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar; women’s rights activist Gloria Steinem; baseball Hall of Famer Ernie Banks; Nobel Prize laureate Daniel Kahneman; country music singer Loretta Lynn; Nobel Prize laureate Maria Molina; jazz musician Arturo Sandoval; former University of North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith; former U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judge Patricia Wald; and civil rights leader and minister C.T. Vivian.

Former U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye and astronaut Sally Ride were honored posthumously.

At the ceremony, Rustin was described as “a giant in the American Civil Rights movement. Openly gay at a time when many had to hide who they loved, his unwavering belief that we are all equal members of a single human family took him from his first freedom ride to the LGBT rights movement. Thanks to his unparalleled skills as an organizer, progress that once seemed impossible, appears in retrospect, to have been inevitable.”

Walter Nagle, Rustin’s partner, accepted the award on his behalf.

Comitta and Borough Council commemorated Rustin’s legacy and his posthumous reception of the medal in August. …

keep reading at Daily Local News

Mayor invited to White House to honor Bayard Rustin!

email from Mayor Comitta, 11/18/13

I am honored to have been invited by President and Mrs. Obama to the White House for the Presidential Medal of Freedom Ceremony and Reception on November 20th.

West Chester’s own Bayard Rustin is one of the recipients of the 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor bestowed in our country. When the announcement was made in August, we held a celebration at Borough Hall on August 21st. Please see the Mayor’s citation from that event below (click to enlarge). The citation includes some background information about Bayard Rustin, his important civil and human rights work, and some information about his roots in West Chester.

Bayard Rustin’s vision and tireless work toward equality and justice for all is critical work each of us must continue today and always in West Chester and across our country and the world.

Best regards,
Carolyn

Carolyn T. Comitta
Mayor of West Chester

MayorCitation