Ross Johnson photo The White Pine County Democratic Convention at White Pine High School on April 2.

Ross Johnson photo
The White Pine County Democratic Convention at White Pine High School on April 2.

About 20 members of the White Pine County Republican Party met at the Prospector Hotel on April 2 to elect delegates to the party’s state convention. They also ironed out their party’s local and state platforms.

Party Chairman Mike Coster opened the convention with an optimistic outlook.

“Voter turnout statewide for the caucus was almost double that of the last election,” he said.

The Republicans elected 13 delegates and three alternates, who by rule are bound to vote at the state convention according to the results of the Feb. 23 caucus. Donald Trump won the county popular vote with 40 percent, and Texas Senator Ted Cruz earned 28 percent. Florida Senator Marco Rubio won 23 percent, but dropped out of the race in March after losing the primary in his home state to Trump by 19 percentage points.

The Republicans then turned to their local and state platforms.

Locally, their platform asked for all new proposed business regulations to be subjected to a cost-benefit analysis before a county commission vote, and for all new ordinances, taxes, fees and regulations to be subject to a “sunset” review provision, which is essentially an expiration date.

The local platform also requires the county to operate on a priority-based budget that reallocates costs without increasing them. It also asks for no new taxes without the approval of the county commission and a majority of voters, and that all bonds and new debt require voter approval. The platform also directs that all public employee contracts be subject to general public review before approval, that the number of county employees be adjusted to reflect declining revenues and that all wage increases be based on performance and not longevity.

The Republican state platform approved at the county convention addresses Nevada issues and reflects the party’s larger conservative political message.

The platform encourages policies that support entrepreneurship and private sector job creation and opposes unnecessary government regulations and taxes. It also supports local control of public education as opposed to control by the state, and it opposes federal or state government regulation of health care options. It advocates the improvement and enforcement of federal immigration laws and border security.

The White Pine Republican state platform requires fiscal responsibility through a zero-based budget that is balanced every year. It also supports land transfer from the federal government, rational implementation of sage-grouse protections and the retention of local groundwater.

The platform also supports the privatization of the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles, the reestablishment of the presidential primary election in the state, no reduction in armed forces spending and the repeal of the 17th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which provides for the direct popular election of U.S. Senators.

The Republican state convention will be held in Reno May 13-15, and the national convention in Cleveland July 18-20.

Across town, about 50 members of the White Pine Democratic Party held their county convention on the same day at White Pine High School.

First, they elected their delegates to attend the state convention. According to the results of the Feb. 20 caucus, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won five delegates and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders won four. But at the county convention the Democrats voted again, and a low Clinton supporter turnout contributed to a Sanders comeback victory. Sanders now possesses six White Pine delegates to Clinton’s three.

The party then began discussion on their platform.

The state Democratic Party platform supports an improvement of veteran’s services such as healthcare, education, financial assistance and job training. It advocates affirmative action, gender equality and the close of the gender wage gap. It supports affordable higher education, a reduction in class sizes, an increase in educational funding at all grade levels, and a reduction in interest rates on and/or forgiveness of student loans. The results of the debate on the educational platform added the party’s support for solid science and the teaching of Darwinian evolution as the foundation of biology.

The platform opposes the privatization of jails and prisons, and “Stand Your Ground” laws. It advocates a comprehensive review of criminal sentencing laws and opposes the death penalty. It supports common-sense gun control laws including universal background checks, and opposes warrantless wiretapping and surveillance programs.

White Pine Democrats support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people, including passage of the DREAM act, and oppose the use of militia-style groups patrolling the border. Their platform also supports the replacement of the minimum wage with a living wage, a revised tax code that closes corporate loopholes, and the full legalization of marijuana production and consumption for all adults.

The platform advocates an increase in Medicare funding, the expansion of social programs, and a woman’s right to reproductive health and individual choice. It also supports the protection of the American tradition of unionization, protection of workers from unsafe working conditions and the reestablishment of a state-run worker’s compensation system.

The platform supports increasing the state’s renewable energy portfolio and alternative energy development. It seeks to eliminate the practice of fracking as well as our dependance on fossil fuels. It opposes the storage of nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain and supports the creation of renewable energy transportation systems including improved bus and rail lines. It also supports campaign finance reform, full public disclosure for all sources of political contributions and the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.

The Democratic state convention will be held May 14-15 in Las Vegas, and the national convention in Philadelphia July 25-28.