HELENA-WEST HELENA, AR - Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards says that, if the working poor could get more money for their labor, be paid for their vacations, and get universal health care, "that would change everything."
Edwards said yesterday that raising the minimum wage and providing incentives for businesses for locating in impoverished communities could help struggling areas like the Delta region of east Arkansas. Edwards appeared yesterday evening at a campaign event in the Mississippi River town of Helena-West Helena.
He told a crowd of about 100 people that people who are working and trying to do everything they can to support their families are living at or near the poverty level, and that's not right. He called for an increase in the federal minimum wage to $9.50 an hour. A new law is already scheduled to boost the minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $7.25 an hour over two years, with the first increase of 70 cents to take effect this month.
Appearing in a town hall format at a church community hall, Edwards heard from a group of home health care workers who complained of low wages for their work, and no health insurance.