Within this framework of belief, Montana Democrats are guided by these enduring principles:
Agriculture and Rural Development
Directly or indirectly, agriculture affects all economic activity in Montana. The family farm and ranch is the backbone of our small-town, rural way of life, and as our population ages, sustaining the family farm or ranch becomes more challenging. We regard family farming and ranching as a cornerstone of our heritage and economy that must be preserved.
We believe in the equality of all people, but as Montanans we have a particular obligation to Montana’s first people. We recognize that Montana’s American Indians are not only Montanans, but also members of their own tribal nations with the sovereignty to govern themselves and the right to preserve their cultural integrity.
We believe that access to the arts, libraries, museums, and cultural experiences is an essential component of the quality of life and the economy in Montana. We are committed to ensuring that those who create and provide this access are encouraged to prompt us to imagine, marvel, reflect, and learn.
As we confront global climate change, Montana Democrats believe that we must reduce our reliance on fossil fuels through a combination of energy conservation, energy efficiency, and the development of clean, renewable energy sources. We believe that we can achieve this goal AND create or provide transitions into good Montana jobs.
We view government as the means by which individuals work together to solve mutual problems, balance competing interests, and accomplish common goals. Good government meets its constitutional obligations to protect health and safety and to promote community, commerce, and culture. At every level, good government is open, accountable, and responsive to the people.
Health Care and Human Services
We are dedicated to ensuring quality of life and equality of opportunity for all individuals and families, regardless of their socio-economic status. Fundamental to such quality and equality is access to the basic necessities of life, including, at a minimum, health care, education, shelter, adequate nutrition, human dignity, and lives free of violence.
Human and Civil Rights
We believe that neither a peaceful planet nor a democratic society can survive without appreciation for the diversity of all people and respect for the unique value of each person. We embrace the rights guaranteed by the constitutions of our state and nation, recognizing that the meaning and application of those rights evolve as our knowledge and understanding as human beings in a democratic republic evolve.
Hunting, Fishing, and Outdoor Recreation
We recognize that the opportunity for Montanans to enjoy our spectacular landscapes, clean waters, and abundant fish and wildlife is an integral part of our heritage, identity, and lifestyle. We believe in public ownership of the fish, wildlife, streams and rivers of our state and rely on our government to hold these resources in trust for the beneficial use of our citizens and future generations.
In the spirit of the late Senator Mike Mansfield, we believe that America should treat all nations and peoples with the same dignity and respect we expect of one another. While we must maintain the military strength to be secure as a nation, we believe our greatest strength and our greatest security lie in our effective use of commerce, aid, diplomacy, and collaboration to improve the well-being and good will of all peoples and all nations.
Jobs and the Economy
We know that it requires both government and private business to create the quality jobs necessary to sustain a healthy economy. Government at both federal and state levels is responsible for funding infrastructure, education programs, and economic growth policies that are major job creators and strengthen and diversify our private-sector economy.
Justice – Access to Justice
We expect our justice system to operate impartially and efficiently to protect and enforce the rights of all citizens equally, to provide every citizen with a venue to seek redress of grievances, and to ensure the safety and well-being of our communities.
Justice – Crime and Punishment
We believe that the best approach to reducing crime is providing the education, opportunities, and social services that prevent crime. When crime does occur, we believe in a fair, balanced approach that seeks to restore the victim, safeguard the public, and rehabilitate the offender.
We believe that stable jobs with livable wages are another cornerstone of a stable economy and a healthy society. Because the vast majority of Montanans make their living as wage-earners, we seek fair compensation for their labor so that they can provide for their families and sustain their communities. Montana workers deserve safety, security, and dignity as conditions of their employment, as well as conditions of their retirement after a lifetime of hard work.
We believe that public education not only acts as the primary catalyst for a strong economy, upward mobility, and the quality of life in Montana, but also fosters the lasting bonds of understanding, acceptance, and community that make Montana such a desirable place to live. We are therefore committed to a continuum of high-quality public education opportunities that develop the potential of every Montanan and of Montana itself.
Stewarding Our Natural Resources
The teeming bounty of Montana’s natural resources has always been at the heart of our prosperity, our heritage, and our lifestyle as Montanans. We believe that we must work together to ensure that these resources not only contribute to the strong economy needed to sustain families and communities in the 21st century, but also provide the clean and healthful environment that is our constitutional right.
We seek a progressive, broad-based, equitable tax system that reflects and enhances our changing economy and adequately supports a full range of quality public services and public education. We believe in being fiscally responsible while promoting quality of life and equality of opportunity for all our citizens.
Veterans and Active Military
We ask Americans in the military to risk their lives and disrupt their families’ lives to serve our country. In gratitude for their sacrifice, Montana Democrats regard as sacred our obligation to care for America’s military – during active duty and for the rest of their lives.