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California draws strength from our cultural and geographical diversity. Water, timber, food, fiber, and heritage, are among the many invaluable resources coming from rural spaces that are essential to supporting robust agriculture, commercial enterprises, and industry statewide, making California the fifth largest economy in the world. Rural areas are at the heart of the social, economic, and environmental health and well-being of all Californians.

In recognition of the unique opportunities and challenges in developing policies and programs that work in rural communities, California Democrats will:

  • Encourage elected officials to consider the effect on rural California when proposing new policies or programs by evaluating whether the outcome is fair and feasible in rural communities;
  • Support legislation that invests in and protects the natural resources of rural areas, i.e., maintaining the health of rural watersheds, and funding the needed infrastructure for water storage, surface and ground water, aquifer replenishment, water conveyance–and to shore up dams and levees, and secure ongoing funding in the State budget to provide safe, clean, affordable and accessible drinking water to rural communities affected by water contamination or shortage;
  • Support mandatory funding for Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) to counties that have relinquished taxable land to the state for wildlife conservation;
  • Advocate for policies that protect against acquisitions of large swaths of rural land by private investment groups, government entities, and foreign investors posing threats to our vital natural resources, such as water and agricultural land, to the local communities and national security;
  • Support legislation that bolsters the vibrant culture, historical significance, and the economy of rural communities;
  • Improve messaging in rural regions that will heighten awareness of the work, investment, and progress elected Democrats are making in rural communities and counteract disinformation promulgated by Republicans;
  • Support policies that consider limited financial capacity in rural areas when implementing state requirements, such as those for recycling, composting, hazardous waste, and storm water control; adjust compliance timelines and targets as needed; and provide funding to support such programs where the local population cannot;
  • Support equitable distribution of state resources, programs, and tax dollars based on need, not solely population, and alleviate the disproportionate burden on rural areas, ensuring equitable investment in rural healthcare including telemedicine; education including broadband in schools and on buses; community development; infrastructure, such as
  • water, sewer, power (i.e., strengthening the electrical grid to support future needs like EV charging, solar, battery storage, renewable energy); affordable, reliable, high speed, public safety grade internet; and public transportation;
  • Support increased funding, community education and other resources to improve access and quality of mental healthcare for rural populations;
  • Support policies that balance the lawful and responsible ownership of firearms for hunting, sport, and personal protection with the growing need for gun safety laws;
  • Sustain a lasting and respectful relationship with Tribal Nations, and bolster efforts to support tribal sovereignty, economic development, culture, language, and restoration of ancestral land, such as the conservation efforts of Open Space Districts;
  • Respect the value and cultural diversity of immigrants’ contributions to California’s rural and agricultural economy by mandating stronger protections for agricultural workers, such as public benefits, regulation of work hours, worker safety protection from extreme heat and unhealthy air from wildfires, ensuring clean, affordable drinking water, provisions for safe, affordable, adequate housing and health services for migrant workers, disaster relief when federal funds are inaccessible, and harassment protections;
  • Support programs which fulfill the commitment to close the “digital divide” by ensuring adequate funding in the state budget for the equitable and expeditious deployment of state owned and operated, open access, public safety grade broadband “middle mile” infrastructure, as deeply and densely as possible in rural areas, as well as “last mile” infrastructure to homes, businesses, anchor institutions such as schools, hospitals, libraries, fairgrounds, community centers, and on working agricultural lands to help farmers monitor water use and other inputs as we adapt to climate change;
  • Support resources to improve rural election technology and voting procedures and provide funding for vote-by-mail elections in rural counties, strengthen protections of election administration in rural counties, and bar governing bodies from terminating existing voting system contracts without a transition plan and a replacement contract in place that has been approved by the Secretary of State;
  • Support increased financing, subsidy options, and tax incentives to promote new, affordable housing development, including workforce housing in rural counties; facilitate access and help smaller communities of every socio-economic status navigate the application process; and help with grant writing for such programs and funding;
  • Support access to clean, affordable water to make new housing development viable;
  • Support local public transit options and facilities necessary to ensure residents’ access to economic centers, including completion of the state’s High-Speed Rail (HSR) network;
  • Advocate for funding for rural economic development and encourage rural business growth to create and retain jobs;
  • Support programs that improve rural disaster resilience by increasing vegetation management on both public and private rural roads, providing fire safe clearing on State and Federal land at the Wildland-Urban Interface (“WUI”); providing funding for emergency equipment; and fund public safety grade communications for wildfire, flood and earthquake evacuation and recovery;
  • Support policies that provide financial incentives for private homeowners to remove biomass fuels from properties;
  • Advocate for a stable, sustainable insurance market, modernized to adapt to climate change, that will offer affordable homeowner, commercial property and fire insurance policies, in all areas of California, including designated wildfire zones and bolster the insurer backed insurance of last resort (FAIR Plan) to provide accessible, adequate coverage for those who have no other option; and,
  • Support policies that require that all utilities including PG&E and Southern California Edison invest in infrastructure such as undergrounding power lines in fire prone areas, where beneficial and feasible, and require utilities to initiate electrical services to new or existing development projects within eight weeks of governmental approval to proceed.


join us for the 2024 Democratic National Convention

California Democrats will send 496 delegates and 35 Alternates to the Democratic National Convention in 2024. Learn more how you can get involved!