During this week, in which we celebrated Labor Day, I want to state that the issue most important to Western Pennsylvania and our local economy is an increase in the minimum wage, which has stagnated at $7.25 an hour for the last five years.
President Barack Obama has called for an increase in the minimum wage, and this year every Democratic gubernatorial candidate has called for an increase in the minimum wage. Dan LaVallee, the Democratic candidate running for Congress against Mike Kelly in the 3rd Congressional District, joins every other Democratic candidate for Congress in championing an increase in the minimum wage.
Increase the minimum wage and our expenditure on the food stamp program will be reduced. Increase the minimum wage and the cost of Medicaid will decrease. Increase the minimum wage and the incidence of domestic violence will decrease as young couples will be able to replace the constant frustration of poverty and empty promises with hope and plans. Give that same young family a living wage between them and the divorce rate will decline. This is only a partial list. As people are given the opportunity to escape poverty the overall cost of the safety net is reduced. The list goes on and on.
Let us as a nation resolve that American workers deserve the opportunity to live in dignity. They deserve a living wage, and an increase in the minimum wage is long overdue. This November brings an important election.
Please remember to vote, and if you are not yet registered to vote, Oct. 6 is the last day to do so to be able to participate this November.
Butler County Democratic Committee
The writer is a member of the Pennsylvania State Democratic Committee.