As I reflect back on the Labor Day holiday, I remembered what great strides our labor movement has achieved, such as the 40-hour work week, paid leave, and safe working conditions. But, I also remembered how far we still have to go. I’ve grown up in a world where each year, wealth inequality grows and grows due to tax breaks given to the wealthiest among us. The minimum wage in the 1970’s used to allow a person to afford a home and transportation - the basic necessities to thrive - but now, it barely covers anything.
When I first moved to Waldo, I recognized that many Kansas Citians struggle every day because the cost of living has outpaced our wages. And the student debt crisis has only aggravated the problem. I, like so many of my classmates, am strapped with six-figure student debt. My generation is the first generation that has to choose between owning a home and receiving quality education. All because our government chooses to work for corporations instead of actual people.
So, in Jeff City, I’ll fight to raise the minimum wage to be a liveable wage. I’ll also support union jobs by supporting tax incentives that use union labor. Likewise, we all need to make sure we are fighting Republican efforts to revive right to work. The people clearly spoke, and I will protect their voice in the General Assembly. We also need to make sure we provide proper benefits to government workers. So many states, including Arkansas, have passed presumptive cancer bills to protect first responders who fall ill due to occupational toxins. Surely, if Arkansas can do it, so can we.
Overall, we need to protect regular people, rather than pampering the prosperous.