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Democratic Party Platform 1960

We, the Democratic Party of Maine, invigorated by the confidence reposed in us by the people of Maine in recent elections, reaffirm our dedication to the service of our fellow-citizens.

We pledge continuing effort to ensure for all the people of our beloved state the opportunity to work and strive, with promise of success, towards the objectives which give purpose and value to life.

Thus motivated, the Democratic Party of Maine in State Convention assembled this twenty-third day of April, 1960, does hereby adopt the following platform:

THE GOVERNMENT OF MAINE

A. Executive Responsibility

In keeping with the urgent need for effective leadership in state government, the Maine Democratic Party vigorously supports the proposition that the executive branch of our government would be a more energetic, as well as a more responsible institution, if the Governor were in fact the center of executive authority. We recognize that the adoption of the four year term for Governor, long recommended by the Democratic Party, was an important implementation of this principle. Yet, we firmly believe that this cardinal tenet of good government will only be fully achieved with the enactment of the following proposals:

1. Abolition of the Executive Council.

2. Election of a Lieutenant Governor for a four year term on the same ticket with the Governor.

3. Confirmation of major gubernatorial appointments by the Senate.

4. Appointment of the Secretary of State, Attorney General and the Commissioner of Agriculture by the Governor; abolition of the office of State Treasurer and transfer of its functions to the Department of Finance which is fully equipped to assume them.

5. Provision for an adequate staff for the Governor.

6. Legislation to provide that terms of department heads appointed by the Governor coincide with that of the Governor.

7. A continuing program of assessment of the need for structural and administrative reforms.

B. Legislative Reform

To strengthen and modernize the legislative branch of our government and to make it more fully representative of the people, the Maine Democratic Party urges the adoption of the following recommendations:

1. Annual sessions of the Legislature.

2. Reapportionment of the Legislature in 1961, as required by the State Constitution.

C. Election Laws

We recommend a revision of Maine’s state election laws, with particular attention given to the advisability of a uniform caucus date and improvements in the corrupt practices act.

D. Judicial Reform

As we affirm the necessity of vigilant reevaluation of our Judicial System and the manner in which it responds to the demands of present day legal problems, we acknowledge and commend the enactment of legislation sponsored by our party which completely revised the laws pertaining to juvenile offenders into a workable integrated statute with a program for detention of delinquent children separate and apart from adult criminals.

1. To promote the efficient administration of justice, the Maine Democratic Party continues to favor the improvement and modernization of our lower level court structure by substituting a system of District Courts to the extent found feasible after study of the conclusions reached by the professional study now being conducted.

2. In order to insure safeguarding of the rights of all persons appearing before state administrative agencies we advocate that uniform agency rules of procedure and appeal be provided by adoption of a state administrative practices act.

THE PEOPLE OF MAINE

A. Education

The Maine Democratic Party believes that the development of a first rate educational system is of paramount importance to the future of our state. A free society must put at the top of its agenda the demanding task of identifying and nurturing the talents of every individual. If Maine is to have a dynamic and creative economy that will stimulate productivity and attract new industries, the talents of our young people must be developed to their highest potential and the opportunities for adult education must be increased. Maine has made great strides during the past few years toward the improvement of its educational system. These include the passage of the school administrative district law, the improvement in our teacher training institutions, and the raising of teachers’ salaries.

We believe that there must be even greater progress made toward the goal of a top quality educational system and that the need for this progress is of an emergency nature. Therefore, we make the following recommendations:

1. Highest priority must be given to equalizing educational opportunities within the state, so that all Maine young people will be educated according to their energies and abilities without the arbitrary restrictions of geography and financial incapacity. This requires:

a. That the State of Maine assume a progressively larger percentage of the total cost of education in the state.

b. That the State shall not continue to deny to local communities the right to use public monies, as the individual communities deem appropriate, to provide transportation for the benefit of children who are receiving their education, in compliance with the compulsory education laws of Maine, by attending non-public schools.

c. That there be continued support for, and improvement of, the school administrative district law.

2. A survey must be made of Maine’s higher educational facilities, programs and future needs, so that the state’s effort to increase the number of persons continuing education beyond the high school will be comprehensive and carefully planned. Such a survey should recognize:

a. The need for continued improvement of the University of Maine at Orono and Portland .

b. The increasingly significant role of the teachers’ colleges.

c. The possibility of increasing the opportunities for junior college education.

d. The need for increased scholarship and loan funds.

3. Maine’s vocational education programs must be vigorously upgraded, in order to prepare youth and adults for useful and remunerative employment in occupations for which they are fitted, and in order to create the high level of technical skill that is needed for the expansion of Maine’s economy. This requires:

a. Increased vocational opportunities at the high school level.

b. Continued improvement of Maine Vocational Technical Institute and establishment of additional vocational institutes as soon as funds are available.

4. The salaries of Maine’s teachers must continue to rise if we are to attract and retain high calibre teachers for the public schools of our state. This requires raising state minimum salaries for teachers.

5. The state should assume the responsibility for making educational television available to the people of Maine, as another means of securing equality of educational opportunity.

6. To a large extent, the accomplishment of the above objectives depends on sustained citizen interest in the schools of our state. The Governor’s Advisory Committee on Education is playing a vital role in stimulating effective citizen understanding and support of public education. The committee should, therefore, be provided with adequate funds with which to continue and expand its activities.

B. HEALTH AND WELFARE

The Maine Democratic Party has demonstrated its recognition of the state’s responsibility for providing a high standard of assistance and care in the fields of health and welfare by the several advances made in these areas under Democratic leadership in recent years. These include the establishment of the Committee on Aging; increased public assistance grants; and the inauguration of the nursing home program. In order to continue the progress that has been made, we believe there must be a continual evaluation of current programs and that there should be increased cooperation between the several departments concerned with the needs in this area. We submit the following specific recommendations:

1. A more vigorous program of public education, with maximum utilization of the Health and Welfare Advisory Committee, aimed at creating public understanding of the aims and programs of the Department of Health and Welfare.

2. A planned program of research into the causes of dependency and delinquency.

3. The establishment of demonstration projects in the Department of Health and Welfare to test the advisability of expanding casework services.

4. Summer inservice training programs at the University of Maine for personnel of the Department of Health and Welfare, as a means of creating more effective programs at minimum cost.

5. Establishment of a permanent State Committee on Children and Youth, to coordinate the many programs relating to the children and youth of Maine.

6. Increased payments for Old Age Assistance, Aid to Dependent Children, Aid to the Blind and Aid to the Disabled to such amount as is necessary to approach the increase in the cost of living; liberalization of the present financial and dependency requirements for eligibility in Old Age Assistance.

7. Establishment of a rehabilitation workshop, specifically designed to provide vocational training for adults of all ages who are blind, retarded or physically handicapped.

8. Continuation of the present effort to raise living standards on the Indian reservations.

9. Establishment of a professionally staffed clinic to treat compulsive drinkers.

10. A study of the problem of providing adequate nursing homes in the state to meet the growing demand for this type of medical care.

11. Legislative action to provide more adequate payments to private hospitals for the services rendered to patients in the aid programs provided for by Maine Laws.

12. Increased encouragement offered by the state to local communities to discover the resources, problems and desires of their elderly citizens, so that a program in their behalf may be developed.

C. MENTAL HEALTH AND CORRECTIONS

The fact that the Maine Democratic Party recognizes the importance of developing quality programs to prevent mental illness and curb juvenile and adult delinquency has been demonstrated by the party’s successful effort to inaugurate a statewide probation an parole service, establish the Department of Mental Health and Corrections, and enact the Community Mental Health Service Program. As the next positive steps that must be taken to improve Maine efforts in these fields, we recommend:

1. Continued improvement of the state probation and parole system, by a gradual increase in the number of trained personnel to take care of the increasing caseload.

2. Granting pardon authority to the State Board of Probation and Parole, which would necessitate the services of a fulltime chairman of the board.

3. Construction of a new Boys’ Training Center designed to provide a modern treatment program.

4. Continuation of the Community Mental Health Service Program, which provides state matching funds for mental health programs and facilities organized on the local level.

D. State Employees

1. A study and reevaluation of the salary schedule of all state employees, with particular attention to the adequacy of the salaries department heads and other key personnel, for the purpose of enabling Maine to attract and retain high calibre personnel in state service.

2. Provision of additional classifications and pay analysis experts to the Personnel Department so that the efficiency, competency and economy of the personnel system may be increased.

3. Systematic continuance of the merit increase program for all state employees.

E. Labor

The Maine Democratic Party favors:

1. Establishment of an independent and impartial committee to make a complete study, and to find facts, regarding the Canadian labor situation in northern Maine, thereby to ascertain whether there are problems or abuses which can be the subject of corrective action by the State of Maine.

2. Legislation to protect elderly persons against discrimination in employment because of their age.

3. Legislation to improve the minimum wage law by:

a. reducing, rather than increasing, the number of exemptions;

b. affording the benefits of the law to public employees;

c. encouraging employees to report violations of the law by providing civil, injunctive and criminal sanctions to protect complaining employees against reprisals by any person;

d. fostering a vigorous enforcement of the law by unstinting use of the full powers conferred upon the Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry.

4. Legislation to improve the Workmen’s Compensation Law by:

a. reducing (from twenty-eight days to fourteen days) the period during which incapacity to work must continue to make a worker eligible to receive compensation for the seven days of incapacity;

b. authorizing the Industrial Accident Commission to award reasonable counsel fees and fees for expert witnesses on behalf of an injured employee in any disputed case in which the employee prevails;

c. allowing an injured employee to select his own physician from a panel of physicians approved by the Industrial Accident Commission.

5. Legislation to improve the Employment Security Law by:

a. revising inequities in the present disqualifications for benefits;

b. allowing an employee to receive private supplemental unemployment benefits without impairment of his right to receive State system unemployment benefits.

THE RESOURCES OF MAINE

A. Economic Development

The Maine Democratic Party believes that the future of our state is dependent on the ability of state government to become a dynamic partner with private enterprise in stimulating and aiding existing industries and in attracting new industries. An effective program of economic development, proposed by the Maine Democratic Party, has been developed during the past few years. To continue our progress in providing opportunities for Maine citizens and in improving an utilizing their skills, we recommend:

1. An increase in the availability of vocational training and apprenticeship opportunities, so that Maine may develop the skilled pool of technicians that is needed if the state is to continue to increase its productivity.

2. Greater utilization of the University of Maine, including it facilities at Portland to the extent feasible, as a research center for the state’s industrial needs.

3. Strengthening the structure of the Department of Economic Development to permit increased emphasis on effective means of modernizing and upgrading existing industries and raising the value o their products.

4. Increased availability of aid and advice on transportation matters to present and prospective industries, made possible through the Department of Economic Development.

5. Establishment of a division of foreign trade within the Department of Economic Development, having special responsibility in such areas as transportation, recreation and trade with citizens of Canada and other nations.

6. Active assistance by the Department of Economic Development in locating sources of new capital to prevent the liquidation and dismantling of industries in bankruptcy proceedings and in aiding when feasible in their reorganization and the continued employment of our citizens.

7. Increased advertising and promotion of Maine’s livability and its vacation and travel resources, as an investment in strengthening and expanding our entire economy.

8. Provision of technical assistance to public and private groups desiring to initiate recreational projects.

9. Expansion of research into Maine’s recreational opportunities with emphasis on the conservation of the state’s great natural resources of water, coastline and living space, and on means of cooperating with other New England states and Canada to our mutual advantage.

B. Agriculture

The Maine Democratic Party, knowing that the full development of a sound agricultural economy is of vital interest to every citizen of the state, makes the following recommendations:

1. Unfair freight rates for Maine and New England should be adjusted.

2. Milk prices should be revised at the retail level to make possible cash and carry and volume discounts, resulting in lower consumer prices and a more flexible retail milk market.

3. The poultry industry should be assisted by additional market research, both foreign and domestic, an industry-wide advertising program, and research on improving the product.

4. The present branding law on potatoes must be effectively enforced.

5. Federal-state programs of research in conservation and agriculture should place greater emphasis on state-directed projects.

6. More attention should be directed toward farm management assistance programs and credit problems faced by family farms.

C. Highways

1. The Maine Democratic Party continues to endorse the proposition that a modernized and expanded highway system, capable of serving all areas of the state, however remote, consistent with the magnitude of the highway program as currently envisioned, is essential to the progress and prosperity of Maine, and that the State should give assistance to any road which can be proven to benefit the economy of Maine.

2. In spite of the high level of current highway construction expenditures, Maine is not meeting all its needs in replacing worn out existing highways. In addition to the maximum use of available revenues including Federal matching funds, a study should be launched to determine the most desirable and feasible method of meeting future highway financing needs.

3. Constant improvements must be made in State – local cooperative highway programs. We recommend that larger, more efficient projects be encouraged under the State Aid program by establishing a system whereby towns accumulating funds for two-year projects will be given a 10 per cent bonus under the State Aid program.

D. Water Resources

Realizing that an abundant supply of pure water is essential to Maine’s economic growth and to the recreational needs of Maine citizens, the Maine Democratic Party makes the following recommendations:

1. The effort directed toward reducing the pollution of our rivers and streams should be accelerated.

2. The Water Improvement Commission should be authorized additional appropriations and staff so that it can step up its education and enforcement programs.

3. The state should encourage towns and municipalities to establish reserve accounts for eventual construction of sewage treatment plants.

4. All state agencies should support the Water Improvement Commission’s notices of violation, so that long delaying action can be avoided; state agencies should commence planning for the sewage treatment plants for state buildings and institutions that are require under the classification law.

5. The legislature should ratify the Northeastern Water and Related Land Resources Compact.

E. Fish and Game

The Maine Democratic Party, knowing that the State of Maine can offer to its citizens and its visitors the finest of fishing and hunting makes the following recommendations:

1. The legislature should authorize the Inland Fisheries and Game Department to regulate the taking of fish in certain areas through local public hearings.

2. The Inland Fisheries and Game Department must make certain that there are public access routes to all great lakes and ponds before these lakes are stocked with fish.

3. All citizens of the State of Maine will be eligible for a free fishing license upon application at the age of seventy.

4. In order that hunting may become a safer sport, a more comprehensive safety program should be instituted.

5. The State should encourage the multiple use of privately owned woodlands for hunting, fishing and other recreational purposes.

F. Sea and Shore Fisheries

To further the growth of the commercial fishing industry of our state, we recommend:

1. Continued expansion of the fisheries education program now being carried on in our coastal high schools and Maine Vocational Technical Institute, so that the number of young persons in the fishing industry may be increased.

2. Encouragement of the development of Fish Packing and Marketing Cooperatives.

3. Strengthening present state laws controlling water pollution to preserve and restore our clam flats.

4. Continued expansion of the cooperative clam management program.

5. Placement of Sardine Canning Inspection under the jurisdiction of the Sea and Shore Fisheries Department rather than the Department of Agriculture.

6. Increased efforts with additional personnel for scientific research in conjunction with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

7. More effective promotion of seafoods in state and out-of-state markets.

G. State Parks

We believe that the scenic splendor and outdoor recreation opportunities in our state should be made conveniently available to an increasing tourist and resident population and in furtherance of this objective we favor the development of our parks and recreational areas with the following specific recommendations:

1. Expansion of state parks and camp sites to provide attractive facilities throughout the state, so that opportunities for outdoor recreation will be available to all.

2. Prudent acquisition of land for additional park and camp site purposes, at both lakes and seashore, so that desirable sites in appropriate locations may be obtained at a reasonable cost for current and future development.

3. Establishment of improved directional markings to our state parks and memorials.

H. Forests

The Maine Democratic Party, knowing that our forests are a great and continuing natural resource, recommends:

1. The full use of the forthcoming Maine Forest Survey Report, so that we may secure the maximum development, consistent with good forestry practices, of our forest lands in terms of industry and employment, taxation and recreation.

2. Expanded guidance in good forest management to small wood-lot owners.

3. Development of our municipal forests for recreation, conservation and income.

I. Public Utilities

The Maine Democratic Party favors:

1. Vigorous support of a program designed to protect the household budget of every citizen, as well as the competitive position of industries in Maine, by aiming at the following objectives:

a. Electric power rates as low as possible consistent with good service to the public and the financial integrity of our power companies;

b. Insuring a continuing supply of low interest funds for rural electrification cooperatives and non-profit power districts, as made available by the Rural Electrification Administration;

c. Appropriate action to encourage multi-purpose development of the hydro-electric power potential existing in our river basins.

2. Full development of the Passamaquoddy Tidal Power project and full exploitation of its potential power, whether under public or private auspices, provided that it shall be done consistently with the conservation of our natural resources and wild life and with the protection of the investment of our existing private power companies.

3. Modification, or repeal, of the gross receipts tax on railroad companies, thereby to assist in the preservation of adequate railroad passenger service in the state.

4. Appropriate action by the State to assist in maintaining transportation facilities for our citizens who live in island communities.

TAXATION

The Democratic Party of Maine is committed to achieving maximum benefit from each dollar of current tax monies. We recognize, however, that continued progress in bettering the lives of all of the people of Maine, as projected in this platform, requires an extra effort to provide further revenues. We recommend that definitive decisions regarding the nature of any new tax measures await the rendition of the forthcoming professional taxation study in order that full consideration may be given to its conclusions.

IMPACT OF NATIONAL ISSUES

The Maine Democratic Party favors the following positions on national issues in the light of their importance to the people of the State of Maine:

1. Continuing and strengthening federal programs of proven value such as urban renewal, school lunch, vocational training, public assistance, anti-pollution, hospital construction, agricultural conservation and tree planting, rural electrification, and general aids to small business.

2. The removal of or compensation for the artificial differentiation between cotton prices charged to purchasers overseas and those charged to domestic textile mills.

3. Strengthening the Small Business Administration and enabling the SBA to provide additional research, technical and consulting service to small firms and to community development organizations. This effort should be accompanied by a larger and more equitable distribution of federal contracts to small businesses and in areas where economic dislocation threatens or occurs.

4. An effective program for stimulating production and employment opportunities in areas adversely affected by technologic change, shifting markets, foreign trade patterns, and by any retrenchment or closing down of defense establishments.

5. Increased research in forest management and wood product utilization, with greater reliance on state research facilities.

6. Reexamination of our federal agricultural program, with a view to arriving at a fair and workable national farm policy which does not discriminate against non-support farm and poultry products or small Maine farms and, at the same time, does not ignore the Maine consumer.

7. A more realistic Rural Development Program to develop more fully the total resources of rural communities.

8. A federal program of education assistance to meet the long standing need for aid for school construction and better teachers’ sal­aries under a formula that recognizes average per capita income as an important factor in determining need, and to provide for supple­mentary aid for liberal arts as well as for scientific education. At the same time, administrative control must be left in the hands of local authorities. Maintenance of federal programs to provide adequate schooling in areas where government installations have overburdened local facilities.

9. A thorough reexamination of the federal tax laws with the ob­jective of gaining the maximum amount of revenue and assuring equity in our system of taxation. Among the steps that should be taken to achieve this objective are the elimination of tax loopholes, the oil depletion allowance, and abuses of business expense deductions, and careful consideration of raising personal tax exemptions. Relief from the burden of war-time excise taxes on telegraph and telephone com­munications and on rail, bus and air passenger transportation.

10. An increase in the federal minimum wage to reduce the un­justified wide gap which operates to the disadvantage of New England and extension of coverage under the minimum wage provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act to selected industries, where it can be dem­onstrated that serious human hardship and economic adversity will not result from inclusion under the Act.

11. A comprehensive revision of the Social Security Act with a view to establishing more realistic, up-to-date standards for disability payments, retirement, and public assistance. This must be paralleled by a determined effort to formulate a program to provide more ade­quate medical and hospital care for persons over 65.

12. Full support of federal legislation and firm executive action designed to guarantee the civil rights of all citizens.

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