COD

Raising the minimum wage would raise up communities across the state

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Op-ed columnist Ward Tefft is right: Virginia needs a $15 minimum wage.

I’m not an economist, but I see firsthand every day that wealth is not trickling down from the top to working families like mine. It is hard to support your community when you’re barely surviving on poverty wages.

I’ve been a caregiver for my mother since 2006, largely because she is more comfortable with me than a stranger. Although I’m paid $9 an hour, it’s not enough to survive on, and there is a 40-hour cap on how many hours I’m compensated for.

Every month, I have to call the water or the gas company to get an extension or pay just part of what I owe. I can’t keep up with my bills, and I’m struggling to stretch my paycheck as far as it will go. But it doesn’t go very far. If I didn’t have my husband, I don’t know what I would do.

Raising the minimum wage would not only help our families, it would help every community.

When working people earn more money, we’re able to pay bills, buy houses, afford health care, invest in education and boost our local economy by supporting small businesses.

It’s time for Virginia’s lawmakers to stand with working families and our communities by raising the minimum wage to $15 for all Virginians.

Brenda Cosby Ruffin.

Richmond.

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