The Maine Democratic Party issued the following statement in response to comments made by Republican State Representative Amy Volk in an interview with MPBN. In the article, Rep. Volk states her opposition to raising the minimum wage, even going as to far to claim that there aren’t “many” adults in Southern Maine that currently make the minimum wage:

“I don’t believe that there are many adults out there – particularly in southern Maine, in my part of the state – working for minimum wage.” – Republican State Rep. Amy Volk

The Maine Department of Labor (DOL) Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that in 2012,there were 20,000 Maine workers making the state minimum wage of $7.50 an hour or less. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.

A recent report by the Center for American Progress Action Fund finds that a minimum wage increase to $10.10 an hour, as proposed on the federal level,would increase wages for 121,000 workers in Maine by $153,746,000. This wage increase would also generate $97,321,000 of economic activity in the state.

In further analysis by the Economic Policy Institute, approximately 66,000 Maine workers would get a combined raise of more than $45 million per year if the state minimum wage is raised from $7.50 an hour to $9. Of those thousands of impacted Maine workers, most are women and more than two-thirds are over the age of 20. 

“Representative Amy Volk’s comments show how completely out of touch Maine Republicans are when it comes to working-class Mainers and what it means to earn a living wage,” said Assistant Majority Leader Anne Haskell. “Maine families continue to fall deeper into poverty because of Governor LePage’s failed policies that hurt the middle class. It’s a shame that Maine Republicans want to put corporate profits ahead of minimum wage earners, especially when most of those workers are women.”

“Voters should know that Maine Democrats are the ones who have their back on this issue,” said Ben Grant, Chairman of the Maine Democratic Party. “Not only is raising the minimum wage good for Maine’s economy, it’s also good for Maine families who struggle to pay their bills. It’s time for Republicans on the state and federal level to stand up and fight for working class Mainers.”

Democratic candidates including gubernatorial candidate Rep. Mike Michaud, Congressional candidate for the first district, Rep. Chellie Pingree and U.S. Senate candidate Shenna Bellows, support increasing the federal minimum wage to more than $10. Reps. Michaud and Pingree are cosponsors of the Fair Minimum Wage Act in Congress, which would raise the federal minimum, currently at $7.25 per hour, to $10.10 per hour in two years. Bellows is a strong advocate for ensuring that Mainers make a living wage, calling on opponent Senator Susan Collins to support the increase to $10.10 an hour. 

 

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