Reprinted with permission of Catholic Digest.

Democrats and Catholic Americans share the same priorities. We endorse diversity and equality, progress and prosperity, fiscal and personal responsibility. Democrats have fought to create the Children's Health Insurance Program, raise the minimum wage, enact a Patients' Bill of Rights, and preserve the environment. We balanced the budget and have paved the way toward putting 100,000 new community police officers on the streets.

In both 1996 and 1998, Democrats won the Catholic swing vote. In the presidential election of 1996, Democrats won 54% of the Catholic vote while Republicans received 46%. We believe that in 2000, we will once again earn the Catholic vote because we champion the issues Catholic-Americans are committed to.

Democrats are the party of progress. Democrats fight to ensure prosperity for all American families, not just a few. We are the party of fiscal responsibility, the party that can keep the economy growing. We want to protect Social Security and Medicare without altering the fundamental nature of those programs.

Democrats support diversity. We are the party of tolerance and inclusion. We oppose the anti-Catholic rhetoric of the Christian Right, as well as its anti-Semitism. We believe a Catholic has the right to be chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Democrats want to help people help themselves. We support a minimum wage, safe working conditions, and the earned-income tax credit. We've sought to raise the minimum wage and enact an equal-work-for-equal-pay statute for women. We have also tried to vigorously enforce the American With Disabilities Act. And as the party of fiscal responsibility, we've fought for a balanced budget to ensure that we have the funds for the programs Americans depend upon.

Democrats support education. We are committed to ensuring accountability in education, making class sizes smaller, and making schools safer. We also support school safety initiatives to take guns out of schools. We support higher education through Hope Scholarships (a $1,500 tax credit for individuals, spouses, or dependents) and other tax credits.

Democrats stand up for America's children. Democrats have fought for increased funding for school lunches and kids' health programs through the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). We introduced the Family and Medical Leave Act and created the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) assistance program.

Democrats fight crime and violence. Democrats support the Brady Bill as well as waiting periods to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and kids; also, we support commonsense reforms such as trigger locks, background checks, and closing the gun-show loophole. We have worked to put a diverse and knowledgeable collection of judges on the federal bench, particularly minorities and women, and fought to put 100,000 new community police officers on our streets.

Democrats fight AIDS. Democrats address the need for HIV/AIDS treatment and awareness domestically and globally, particularly in Africa, which has been hit hardest by the disease.

Democrats help the homeless. We have worked hard to address homelessness and have fought to increase the availability of public housing. The administration's Continuum of Care approach has helped more than 300,000 homeless people get housing, jobs, and become self-sufficient. The Continuum of Care program focuses on long-term solutions: housing, job training, drug treatment, mental health services, and domestic-violence counseling.

Democrats support public broadcasting. Al Gore and the Democrats led the drive to control violence on television and have pushed for a TV ratings system. We also support Public Broadcasting, which brings shows like "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" to children.

Democrats understand international affairs. We are experienced in foreign policy. We support the United Nations along with its efforts to promote peace and end poverty worldwide. Recently, our efforts have come to bear in the Middle East, in Russia, and in Ireland. We support arms control, especially the comprehensive test-ban treaty.

Democrats protect the environment. Democrats have led the way to ensure clean water and clean air. We support alternative energy efforts and global environmental programs that allow poorer nations to have cleaner air and water. We have preserved additional national parks and monuments so future generations of Americans can enjoy them.

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