Want a vote? Want a raise? Vote Democratic!
Once again the South Dakota Democratic Party is demonstrating its belief in workers and small-d democracy. This morning, Dems interim exec Zach Crago joined the South Dakota AFL-CIO and the Teamsters in launching a statewide petition drive to place on our 2014 ballot a measure to increase the minimum wage to $8.50, with yearly cost-of-living increases.
That's still less than the $9 President Obama says he's looking for, a level that would restore the minimum wage back to the real purchasing power it had in 1979 before Reaganomics threw the working class overboard. But for the South Dakota workers who are propping up the state's vaunted business climate with their ill-recompensed sweat, it seems a fair gesture in the right direction.
Crago says the party needs to roust up 1,000 volunteers and $40,000 to place this initiated measure on the ballot. The party will need to submit 15,855 signatures from registered South Dakota voters to the Secretary of State by November 4 of this year.
Let's see: mobilizing a statewide volunteer base around a core Democratic issue that will raise awareness and appeal to working folks and Independent voters? Sounds like a heck of an idea to me! Let's bang on some doors and round up signatures!
Here are the key quotes from the press release:
South Dakota Democratic Party interim Executive Director Zach Crago: "South Dakotans know our economy is stronger when we reward honest work with honest wages. Our local businesses grow from customers with more money in their pockets to spend on things they need. And working South Dakotans with honest wages depend less on government assistance. In short, raising South Dakota's minimum wage is a step towards building an economy that works for everyone."
South Dakota's AFL-CIO President Mark Anderson: "South Dakotans believe in hard work. The South Dakota work ethic is just part of our DNA. But for many working South Dakotans, the minimum wage hasn't kept up with the rising cost of housing, food, and gas. When CEO pay has never been higher, raising the minimum wage promotes fairness for working families who want a shot at the middle class."
Teamsters Local 120 representative Brad Jenkins: "Raising South Dakota's minimum wage is about working people standing with working people. Everyone wins when hard working people have a little more money to spend at local businesses that create jobs for our growing economy. We're excited to be part of this effort to make South Dakota a land of opportunity for all working families."
Petition language will be available after the Attorney General has reviewed the Democratic Party's submitted documents.