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Democrats begin drafting party platform

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) shakes hands with Senator Bernie Sanders at the start of their debate hosted by CNN and New York One at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York April 14, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
BRIAN SNYDER, REUTERS

ST. LOUIS -- Allies of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are reviewing a 15,000-word draft of the Democratic Party's platform that will be presented at the party's convention next month.

Members of a Democratic National Convention drafting committee began discussing the document Friday in St. Louis. The draft platform includes a dozen themes, including sections dealing with the economy, climate change, education, health care, national security and other issues.

Clinton has secured enough delegates to receive the Democratic nomination, but Sanders, her primary rival, has said he hopes to influence the platform to reflect the views of his supporters, who are generally more liberal than Clinton's. The platform is a statement of the party's values and positions on a wide range of issues. While it does not bind the Democratic nominee to stances, it serves as a guidepost for the party moving forward.

Sanders said Friday in an interview with MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that he would vote for Clinton. But he has not yet endorsed her candidacy or encouraged his supporters to back her campaign. The Vermont senator has said he wants the platform to include many of his positions on income inequality, education and health care.

"We got 13 million votes, we got in virtually every primary and caucus the vast majority of young people - people 45 years of age or younger - and what those voters are saying to the establishment, to Secretary Clinton, 'Hey are you going stand up for us?'" Sanders said in an interview Friday with "CBS This Morning."

The 15-member drafting committee will discuss changes to the document ahead of a meeting of the convention's full Platform Committee in Orlando, Florida, next month..

"As Democrats, we are committed to addressing the concerns at the heart of people's lives: their children's education and well-being, the health and safety of seniors, the opportunities available in our communities and our nation's future," said Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, the drafting committee's chairman, in a statement.

The drafting committee said it had received testimony from 114 people and organizations during two recent public hearings and more than 1,000 Democrats submitted written or video testimony weighing in on the platform.