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Dems scrap old platform for new
Apr 15, 2012 - By Joshua Scheer, Staff Writer
In addition to nominating President Barack Obama for a second term in office, Fremont County Democrats decided Saturday to scrap a revised version of their platform for an entirely new set of standards.
More than 30 people met for the party's local convention at the Fremont County Courthouse.
Under the motion of Mike Lieberman, the party approved, with a few dissenting votes, a much shorter platform. Debate on the specifics of the platform was ongoing as of press time.
Lieberman's motion consisted of the following: "1. Work to improve and strengthen the development of business and job opportunities; 2. Close the gender wage gap; 3. Equal access to quality health care and maintenance of Social Security and Medicare; 4. Support a woman's right to choose; 5. Fair and equitable tax system; (and) 6. Support for quality education for all Wyoming citizens."
The party's previous platform was three pages and included recommended changes by members. It also included subcategories under topics such as the environment, conflict resolution, the economy, civil rights and lifting families out of poverty.
"Those are the true core democratic positions," Lieberman said of his shorter proposal. "These are what we stand for."
He said the party should refrain from creating a laundry list.
One man said he thought the proposed new platform was too simple and failed to include the environment and international issues.
"I do not agree we should throw the baby out with the bathwater," he said.
Former Riverton Mayor John Vincent liked the change, saying he hoped those who put the original proposed platform together were not offended.
"We need to elect candidates," he said. "We need to have a Democrat in office."
He said these changes could help candidates work more freely.
Dale Groutage disagreed.
"It's very broad-brushed," he said, noting the absence of addressing the financial crisis that students with loans face.
"To me this is a pledge of commitment to the people of Wyoming," Cynthia Nunley said.
Local party chairman Jack Lee was in "total support" of the rewrite.
The motion passed with four or five individuals dissenting.
As of press time, the group was considering adding the line, "Protect our environment within the frameworks of the law and evidence-based science."
The line, "Economic and civil equity for all Wyoming residents regardless of race, religion, gender and gender identity, or sexual orientation," was also being considered.
Convention chairman Perry Kaufman began the day's work by introducing local Democrats who hold public office. In attendance were Rep. Patrick Goggles, of Ethete, Fremont County Clerk Julie Freese and Lander City Councilor Linda Barton. Not attending was Fremont County Commissioner Keja Whiteman.
Kaufman said he believes Democrats have a shot at filling some of the open seats in the upcoming November election. Those positions include three Fremont County Commission districts, a state senate seat held by Sen. Eli Bebout, of Riverton, and the state representative district seat currently held by Rep. Del McOmie.
Goggles announced his intention to seek re-election in November in House District 33 in a short speech that was met with applause.
"I wouldn't be here if I wasn't committed to what I do," he said, adding that the base of his commitment comes from his family.
Kaufman asked the audience if anyone else attending would like to pursue office this year, but no one came forward.
At Barton's suggestion, a committee of six was formed to seek out and help other Democrats run this year.
Goggles stressed the need to find someone for McOmie's seat, because he announced he would not seek re-election.
"He's making sure ... they can field a very strong candidate," Goggles said.
He also moved to nominate Obama for a second term.
Kaufman read a statement from the state party which declared Democratic hopeful Randall Terry a non-viable candidate.
There were no other nominations other than Obama. After a showing of hands, Kaufman proclaimed the nomination unanimous.
The group also nominated 22 individuals to May's state convention, with several alternates and two empty spots. Layha Spoonhunter was nominated to pursue attendance at the national convention.