If you want innovation, bring ‘smart growth’ to the party

If what you want in a platform is innovation, science, the Democratic platform does not disappoint. As the Democratic National Convention wrapped up on Tuesday night, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam — who will pick…

If you want innovation, bring ‘smart growth’ to the party

If what you want in a platform is innovation, science, the Democratic platform does not disappoint.

As the Democratic National Convention wrapped up on Tuesday night, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam — who will pick up the mantle of the party at the state’s gubernatorial election this fall — delivered the keynote speech at the convention, focusing on economic innovation and a push to break down the gridlock in Washington. He also expressed concerns about the state of civility in the country, which he said has disappeared without a trace.

“At the Democratic National Convention, I want you to know this: If what you want in a platform is innovation, science, the Democratic Party does not disappoint,” Northam said.

The platform, which was announced at the convention last Thursday, states that Democrats support smart growth, including expanding affordable housing, increasing transit ridership and increasing access to active transportation options.

The party also supports living wage jobs and investments in early childhood education, after-school programs and workforce training programs, climate change research and adaptation, job training and technology development.

In his talk, Northam included a number of his own proposals, including doubling funding for support programs for at-risk and distressed children. He also encouraged the party to adopt an all-payer model of Medicaid and to collaborate with communities to enact universal health care.

For Northam, one of the platforms highlights was a push for the government to embrace the promise of diversity and extend protections against harassment and discrimination.

“This is the American story. These children have been a beacon of hope and optimism for generations,” Northam said, adding that the children of immigrants have the same “pride, promise and American spirit as all of our citizens.”

Northam’s stance on diversity runs counter to party chairman Tom Perez, who encouraged the party to release a platform “that embraces all Americans — no matter their race, gender, or sexuality.”

In an interview with CNN, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe slammed Republican critics of the platform.

“I think the Republican Party has a convention coming up and they got to stop chasing big ideas on all these different fronts. They have nothing to offer Americans. They keep saying Republican Policies are dumb, I can’t stand some of the policies … Why is it so serious that we got to admit our ambition is only 11 percent?” McAuliffe said.

He continued, “I think what they are now desperately trying to do is prove that the Democrats, somehow or another, have abandoned the president. They tried to say that and they couldn’t.”

The party already has a record 23 members of the Virginia House of Delegates voting for open primaries. On Tuesday, McAuliffe referenced that as well, adding that Vice President Joe Biden — who will deliver the final prime-time speech at the convention — will offer a vision of unity as the party moves on to make governing in the future its “first order of business.”

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