OP-ED: It’s Time to Raise the Minimum Wage – Support Measure FF

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I’m proud to say that Oakland is at the forefront of the national minimum wage movement, according the San Francisco Chronicle, and this November, there is an important measure on the local ballot to raise the minimum wage to $12.25.

With low voter turnout expected, we need to encourage our friends, family and neighbors to get out and vote for Measure FF to raise the minimum wage.

As a former city councilman and school board member, and as a youth advocate at Lincoln Child Center here in Oakland, it has been my job to fight for smart policies and better solutions to improve the lives of people across the East Bay, and I believe one of the most powerful things we can do to improve the lives of working families is to increase the minimum wage.

It will be good for our economy and vital for kids and families.

I know firsthand what it’s like to earn minimum wage. I put myself through college the first year by working at McDonald’s for just $3.35 an hour, and a series of other minimum wage jobs in the restaurant industry. It was hard work with long hours, but I was able to make ends meet while going to school.

Iwould not be able to do the same thing today. The minimum wage is not a livable wage, and it has not increased at a rate to meet the skyrocketing costs, like rent. The purchasing power of a minimum wage income peaked in 1968 – it’s time to do better than we’re doing today.

That’s why I’ve been a fierce advocate for raising the minimum wage, and it’s been a long fight. I’ve testified in front of the Berkeley City Council and have spoken with organizers in Oakland and Richmond Councilmembers about looking for ways to tie it all together regionally.

Richmond ultimately approved an increase to $13 per hour by 2018. Just last week, Berkeley’s minimum wage increase took effect.

We need wage increases across the Bay Area – and San Francisco, San Jose, Berkeley and Richmond are doing just that. Now it’s time for Oakland to do the same.

Measure FF is important legislation that needs your support – and we need to make sure we get voters to the polls. October 20th is the last day to register to vote for the upcoming election, and now you can easily do so online. You can learn more at http://tonythurmond.com/register.

Tony Thurmond
Tony Thurmond

Tony Thurmond is the former Richmond City Councilmember and West Contra County School Boardmember and is a candidate for California State Assembly District 15.

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