Santa Monica City Councilmember Kevin McKeown was among local delegates aligned with Progressive Democrats of America which authored Iraq withdrawal amendments to the Democratic state platform at the California Democratic Party convention in San Jose Sunday, March 30th.

New language to end the war in Iraq was added to the Democratic state platform.

“Acceptance of the more immediate language signals a sea change for Democrats,” says McKeown. “The whole party now acknowledges that we must end the war and bring our troops home now, not later.”

For the first time, the written platform for California Democrats states, “We support the repeal of the 2002 Authorization to Use Military Force in Iraq; oppose further appropriations, except those necessary for a safe and orderly withdrawal of our troops from Iraq to begin without delay; and call for an international conference to implement a cease-fire in Iraq.”

Another focus for the over 2,100 delegates at the state convention was budget cuts proposed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for the state budget.

Across-the-board reductions will devastate education and other core programs California families depend on, delegates said.

The convention also supported recall of a Central California State Senator, a Republican who refused to vote for education funding.

Proposition 98 on the June ballot, which would end rent control statewide by constitutional amendment, was unanimously opposed at the convention.

Delegates also urged a yes vote on Proposition 99, which would protect homeowners by reforming eminent domain without ending rent control, gutting environmental protections, and crippling local zoning powers, as Proposition 98 would.

McKeown says he is now preparing to carry progressive platform amendments to the August national Democratic Party convention in Denver. He is one of the Progressive Democrats of America candidates vying to represent the 30th Congressional District, which includes Santa Monica.

Local Democrats will caucus at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 13th, on the UCLA Campus to select national delegates.

“I’d be honored to carry our progressive ideals from the Westside to Denver,” says McKeown. “This will be the most exciting election season in a generation, and a tremendous opportunity to move the Democratic Party forward, and, with it, our country.”