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Thursday, May 23
The Indiana Daily Student

District 4 candidates talk raising minimum wage

During his addresses last week at Northwestern University and Millennium Steel Services in Princeton, Ind., President Obama pushed for many economic policy changes he would like to see enacted to help Americans fully recover from the Great Recession.

The policy he most emphasized was raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour.

An increase in the minimum wage has already helped millions of Americans living in states who have increased their respective minimum wages, but 21 million other people would benefit from a federal wage increase, Obama said during his visit to Millennium Steel.

“We should be raising the minimum wage to make sure that more workers, if they’re working ?full-time, shouldn’t be living in poverty,” he said in his speech Friday.

Raising the minimum wage is an issue that divides candidates for U.S. representative in Indiana’s fourth ?district.

Rep. Todd Rokita, R-District 4, could not be reached for comment. However, in a weekly editorial report for his office published July 25, Rokita said raising the minimum wage would be detrimental to low-income workers’ jobs.

“According to Census Bureau data, a significant number of low-wage workers are not in low-income families,” Rokita wrote. “Also not mentioned by the President is that some low-income workers may not work full-time, and that half of poor families have no workers.”

Democratic challenger John Dale said he believes the wage should be raised and adapted for inflation.

“People would be spending the money, and we would be saving taxpayer dollars by not paying for food stamps,” Dale said.

Dale said he believes that by not raising the pay rate, workers at large companies who pay the minimum wage are not paying their workers fairly and forcing tax money to pay for the welfare of underpaid workers.

“We’re subsidizing these companies,” he said.

Earlier this year, Obama issued an executive order that set the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour for people working on federal service contracts. The president proposed the Minimum Wage Fairness Act in April, but the act was blocked by the Senate from being ?voted on.

Approximately 666,000 workers in Indiana would benefit from a raise in the minimum wage, according to data from the Council of Economic Advisers on the White House website.

Obama’s speeches last week came one month before the midterm elections Nov. 4. All 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are up for election.

This story is part of a weekly series profiling members of the U.S. Congress and their opposing candidates for the midterm election Nov. 4. Candidates from each district will be interviewed on a rolling basis.

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