Tom Perriello has spoken throughout the campaign about the need to raise the minimum wage to $15. The way he puts it, it’s simply unthinkable that someone working full time on the minimum wage only makes $14,000 a year. This isn’t enough for someone to live on in rural, less expensive places to live, and doesn’t come close to covering the bills in places like Northern Virginia.
He also doesn’t stop at saying we need to increase the minimum wage. He frequently speaks about the need to have training programs available that give people the skills necessary for well paying jobs. One example he uses is a program for nurses that would only take three months, but often isn’t taken advantage of because people cannot afford to leave their minimum wage jobs for three months.
In my hometown of Charlottesville, more than 200 hospital jobs that pay at least $28,000 a year (approximately $15 an hour) went unfilled — jobs that would be a game-changer for these individuals. These jobs require a training program of less than three months, but workers living on the thinnest of margins cannot afford giving up three months of wages for such a program, much less the car to get to work from a neighborhood with poor bus access.
He touched on these subjects at his town hall in Fairfax yesterday, but was asked about the political tactics he would use to get an increase in the minimum wage. In summary, he basically said that we need to increase the number of Democrats in the House of Delegates since the Republicans in the House have refused to take any action on the issue. But, perhaps more importantly, he says we need to take the fight to the general public and make sure there’s more public support for an increase in the minimum wage.
Here’s the video of his full answer: