from the proposed 2016 IDP Platform

Indiana Democrats refuse to believe there’s such a thing as a “standardized” child. Our public schools are not factories designed to produce a product – they are great democratic institutions designed to provide equal opportunities to students who become productive citizens. Every Hoosier student is unique, and we should encourage our teachers to teach to our students, not to a high-stakes test. We must move the power from the Statehouse back to the schoolhouse and give local school districts more local control.

Under Democratic leadership over the past four years, we have already made progress. Nearly 100,000 Hoosier students are attending better schools. We have achieved this in spite of Republican efforts to strip our elected Superintendent of power. Together, we will achieve even more in the next four years. We will work to:

  • Secure fair and adequate funding for public schools to ensure access to a balanced curriculum for all students and to ensure access to effective and highly effective teachers regardless of their ZIP code.

  • Provide access to universal preschool across the state, including the expansion of preschool programs in all public school districts to ensure every student has a fair start in school by age 5.

  • Abolish ISTEP and all other high-stakes tests and replace them with a streamlined, individualized assessment that provides quick feedback to students, families, and educators that shows performance and growth over the course of a school year.

  • Individualize high school graduation plans and expand access to college and career ready pathways. Ensure all students have a clear pathway to graduation that supports their ability to enter college and a career.

  • Foster an environment of trust that embraces great teachers and encourages the best and brightest to enter the teaching profession by promoting the proposals of Superintendent Ritz’s Blue Ribbon Commission.

  • Engage families to increase the literacy rates of Hoosier children by embracing triedand-true best practices such as Superintendent Ritz’s Hoosier Family of Readers initiative.

  • Continue to provide direct service to public schools by expanding efforts like Superintendent Ritz’s Division of Outreach for School Improvement that provides grassroots support to public schools.

  • Ensure our schools continue to be safe for all Hoosier children.

  • Continue to protect the privacy of student data from those who would profit from it.

  • Close the digital divide to ensure all students have equal access to technology and resources at school and at home.

  • Promote a positive learning climate for all students to stop the tide of bullying so all students feel included regardless of their race, color, religion, creed, national origin, economic status, disability, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

  • Promote the affordability of higher education for all Hoosiers by ensuring that tuition, textbooks, and other materials remain as low as possible and increase participation in the Democrat-designed Evan Bayh 21st Century Scholars program.

  • Offer in-state tuition rates to DREAMers who graduated from Indiana high schools and received DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status from the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service.

Hoosier families and communities are strong and prosperous because Indiana Democrats work to reinforce the interdependence between education and economic prosperity. We believe that strong education policy—when linked with intentional economic strategies—will lead to a thriving Hoosier economy that works for all of us. When Hoosier students are strong, Hoosier families are stronger. The Indiana Democratic Party will maintain our commitment to keep up the fight for our state’s future.


In order to fully stand with Hoosier women, they must be supported economically as well. It bears repeating, then, that in our state, women only make 75 cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts. Women lose substantial benefits and retirement income over their lifetime as a result. The wage gap not only affects women’s direct wages, but the entire family suffers. Women hold two-thirds of low-wage jobs, with Indiana being among the states with the largest wage gap in the nation. The Indiana Democratic Party supports equal pay for equal work, and supports efforts to realize paid family leave. We will:

  • Stand with Hoosier Women against legislation that further erodes any rights that have been gained and continue efforts for more protection under the law towards equality.

  • Continue the fight for equal pay for equal work and dispel myths associated with our counterparts’ reasons for opposing it, as well as support efforts toward making paid family leave a reality.

  • Support education on women’s rights and also work with our women’s organizations that support these efforts.

  • Promote the health and safety of women and their families, including access to vital health services and care to obtain preventive and family planning services.

  • Work to stop harmful legislation, such as 2016’s HEA 1337, which puts women and Hoosier families at risk by endangering the doctor-patient relationship.

  • Support efforts to reduce Indiana’s high infant mortality rate, including the fight to afford ALL Hoosier women access to affordable and ongoing medical care.

  • Protect survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking through legislation.


The Indiana Democratic Party is committed to ensuring Hoosier families – both urban and rural populations - have access to quality, affordable health care that includes preventive services and does not exclude citizens based on a pre-existing condition or inability to pay.

With the implementation of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, which grants every American the right to coverage, Hoosiers are receiving health care now more than ever before. Whether it’s the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0, the Children’s Health Insurance Plan, or the private exchange program, the Affordable Care Act gives Hoosiers more opportunities to have the quality health care they deserve.

As Democrats, we support expanding the necessary programs and investing in the infrastructure required to give Hoosiers the health care they need. We recognize that the 2010 law is not perfect and much work remains to achieve its long-term intent of reducing health care costs. However, we will continue our push for improvements that strengthen the law, without leaving behind our state’s most vulnerable who need coverage. We will continue to push for common sense health care solutions that work to achieve true and substantive health outcomes for Hoosiers, rather than simply serve political ones.


The Indiana Democratic Party believes in a strong, balanced approach to energy production and environmental protection. We believe a responsible and comprehensive energy policy should promote domestic production and national security, while providing affordable energy to Hoosier families and businesses. That will require taking advantage of all our energy resources from coal, natural gas, and oil to renewable energy sources like wind and solar, ethanol, and bio-diesel. Hoosiers have a tremendous opportunity to contribute to the evolving energy economy through the production of renewable and alternative energy sources that create jobs and compete economically with conventional sources of power.

We also recognize Hoosier communities and our economy are built on the foundation of our natural resources—from Lake Michigan and the Hoosier National Forest to our rivers and streams and fertile farm land. As Hoosiers continue to innovate, we should do so by protecting the air we breathe and the water we drink for future generations. The Indiana Democratic Party believes that we must:

  • Modernize and re-tool our state's economy to replace the manufacturing jobs that have vanished from Indiana. We must utilize the skills of our workforce to attract “green” manufacturing and invest in renewable energies, both of which will sustain the environment and provide high-skilled, high-paying jobs.

  • Identify and reduce Indiana's carbon footprint.

  • Protect our state forests from unnecessary lumber harvesting and regularly audit our state’s natural resources for long-term environmental sustainability.

  • Promote energy efficiency programming across the state, by restoring programs like the state’s Energize Indiana program.

  • Decrease our dependence on foreign oil, which poses a serious threat to our economy and our national security. Continually fluctuating gas prices create economic insecurity and force Hoosier families to make difficult sacrifices.

  • Support measures that will ensure and protect our supply of clean water, and encourage comprehensive water consumption and ground water protection plans.

  • Promote programs that encourage waste reduction and recycling.

  • Support measures that will ensure and protect our supply of clean water, and encourage comprehensive water consumption and ground water protection plans.

  • Promote programs that encourage waste reduction and recycling.


The Indiana Democratic Party is committed to ensuring families do not just make ends meet, but are able to thrive and make strong contributions to the Hoosier economy. What’s more, our economic approach must be one with a long-term goal in mind of attracting and retaining the very best the American workforce has to offer. To restore this vision for the Indiana economy, the Indiana Democratic Party will continue the fight to:  

  • Work to raise wages in our state, including the minimum wage. Currently, Hoosier workers make 86 cents to every one American dollar earned. Our income strength is 38th in the nation. Hoosiers must earn a livable wage if they are to care for the health and wellness of their families.

  • Work to attract and retain high-wage, high-skill jobs of the future in Indiana by: o Keeping our state’s best and brightest in Indiana by creating tax incentives for those graduating with degrees in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

  • Investing in manufacturing to help small businesses purchase equipment and hire new workers through ideas such as Manufacturing Reinvestment Accounts.

  • Promoting updated training and education that prepares Hoosiers for a changing economy through 21st Century college and career-ready institutions, both post-secondary and lifelong.

  • Promoting economic innovation through sustained investment in research and development, rather than painful funding cuts that can lead to delays in product development in the competitive marketplace.

  • Support small business in our state – especially those engaged in technological innovations that support infrastructure and industry.

  • Incentivize employers to hire unemployed and underemployed Hoosiers.

  • Encourage an extensive evaluation of tax incentives, as well as the establishment of rigorous job creation and accountability standards for economic development tools offered by the state. These tools can spur economic growth when used effectively. Unfortunately, over the last decade there have been too many stories about nevermaterialized job projects that received taxpayer-funded incentives. With the recent Carrier news, employers must be held accountable if they choose to send jobs overseas instead of employing Hoosiers.

  • Tap all of Indiana’s energy resources -- coal, natural gas, oil, wind, solar, ethanol, bio-diesel—to increase our energy independence, while respecting and protecting our environment.

All Hoosiers deserve the opportunity to reach their highest potential in our state. The pathway to greater income, success, and personal achievement is through education and training that fits each individual and industry’s workforce needs. With a globalized economy, it’s essential that Hoosier workers possess transferable skills that they may use in their current and future jobs.


from the DNC
"Democrats believe that we're greater together than we are on our own - that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules.  These are the core beliefs that tie our party together."


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