On the Issues: Strong Working Class, Fair Living Wage

Massachusetts cannot maintain an economy that allows full-time, adult workers to remain impoverished. Poverty is devastating to individuals and families, and costly to society in immeasurable ways.

I clearly remember the days when my father’s salary, as a middle class worker employed as a newspaper mailer, was sufficient to secure a stable livelihood and a healthy environment to raise a family of seven children. We have lost those days, with today’s wages leaving working adults still in poverty, still struggling to advance, and still creating heavy costs on public assistance programs – costs that are borne by every taxpayer. For this reason, I support policies that help raise families out of poverty, build a strong working class, and promote fair labor practices.

For example, I supported a law passed in 2014 which will gradually raise the minimum wage for workers in the Commonwealth, starting from the then-existing rate of $8 per hour up to $11 per hour in 2017. This gradually stepped method, I believe, is responsible and prudent, allowing time for our small businesses and employers to adjust, while also providing a path to stronger wages that can generate economic activity and raise families out of poverty.

I also supported an increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit (“EITC”), which is viewed as one of the most effective ways to help working families. The increase in the EITC passed both the Senate and the House of Representatives, and was signed by Governor Baker. It, along with an increase in the personal exemption on state income, will benefit over 400,000 workers in the Commonwealth.

I support policies and proposals to create stability and fairness among our working class – proposals like family and medical leave, and the pregnant workers fairness act, both of which passed in the Senate recently, and I am opposed to the outsourcing and privatization of essential public sector jobs. I’m also proud to be part of an institution that has led the nation, with the strongest steps to date towards pay equity for women.

Providing for a decent wage and a fair tax system are the right things to do for our middle class individuals and families. As your State Senator I will continue to advocate for the working class, and for an economy built on fairness and opportunity for every family.