So earlier this week I wrote about gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer (D. MI) making raising the minimum wage a big campaign issue in next year's election.  Well his opponent, Governor Rick Snyder, doesn't see what the big deal is about raising the minimum wage:


Michigan Governor Rick Snyder delivers his State of the State address at the State Capitol in Lansing. Angela J. Cesere
Schauer wants to see minimum wage raised from $7.40 per hour to $8 at first, then to $8.60 and $9.25 in subsequent years, with automatic future increases tied to inflation, arguing that the change would help poor families and help economic growth.

Snyder's office responded by pointing out that Michigan's minimum wage is already higher than the federal government's $7.25, arguing that there are other ways to boost economy without risking job loss.

"It hasn't been a burning issue because Michigan is already above the federal minimum," said Snyder spokesperson Dave Murray in a statement.

"This is a policy area that requires careful consideration and may have unintended consequences. The governor is going to stay focused on creating an environment for more and better jobs and the resulting economic growth that leads to increased wages. There are so many other unique, innovative and/or real ways the governor and administration are helping address the environment around this issue too." - MLive, 11/18/13

Oh really?  Well the people of Michigan beg to differ:


Protesters rallied for a Michigan minimum wage increase before an event featuring Gov. Rick Snyder in Kalamazoo Wednesday.

Snyder was in Kalamazoo for the 10th Anniversary Celebration of the Southwest Michigan Innovation Center.

Snyder was greeted by protestors outside the Radisson Plaza Hotel who were urging lawmakers to raise the minimum wage to $10 per hour. They said they believe $7.40 per hour simply isn't enough anymore.

This comes on the heels of a poll commissioned by Inside Michigan Politics that found that 58% of people support raising the minimum wage. - WOOD TV, 10/23/13

Then again, it shouldn't be that surprising that Snyder's not a big fan of raising the minimum wage.  In fact, it's just one of the few things he's not really crazy about.  Like government transparency:


Gov. Rick Snyder says he is too busy to go hunting, although he owns guns. Yet he finds himself in the political cross-hairs brought on by yet another flap within his own party.

Some of his friends want to hide the identity of big-shooter donors who flush millions of dollars into “issue ads.” And some of his friends want to shine some light on the process, calling for full disclosure.

And the governor is with his friends, which is to say he is on the fence.

GOP Secretary of State Ruth Johnson got high marks for demanding more transparency for political donors. But before she could take a victory lap, senate Republicans tripped her up at the starting blocks.

Sen. Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) was the chief tripper-upper, contending that this was a free-speech issue. He's carrying water on behalf of the big funders with a bill to undo what Ms. Johnson wanted to do.

It was Mr. Meekhof, who wants to be the senate GOP leader in 2015, who advised capitol scribes that when he ran all this by the governor the other day, he was “supportive.” - MLive, 11/20/13

And Snyder's new civil rights leader won't really give his opinion on marriage equality:


Turns out, based on his first media interview on the subject, Matt Wesaw is not revealing how he feels but quickly pledges, “I work for the commission so I’m O.K. with what they want to do.”

Given a second opportunity to self-disclose, he stayed on message.

“Ah, I’m not here to run the department based on my personal position.”

At this juncture it was suggested that those answers might raise some eyebrows in the gay community. He seemed comfortable and prepared for that. “I’m here to treat everybody fairly. To work, to make sure everybody is treated fairly and equally.”

“But you don’t give your personal position?”

“I don’t think my personal opinion is important. What’s important is equal access.” That was his story and obviously he was sticking to it.

To be fair, just because he won’t acknowledge his position does not necessarily mean he’s against gay marriage, but wouldn’t you think if he was, he would just say so to be in sync with his new bosses?

Emily Deivendorf, who lobbies for the LGBT community, was asked to check in on this. She selected her words very carefully, obviously not wanting to diss the new guy right off the bat.

“I’ve heard wonderful things about him,” she offered while suggesting she would give him the benefit of the doubt.

However she did concede that his job is not only to represent the civil rights commission but “It’s his job to speak for us” and in this instance she concludes he did not "stand-up." - MLive, 11/22/13

It's interesting because transparency, raising the minimum wage and marriage equality have been three big issues Schauer has been highlighting on the campaign trail and Snyder is trying to avoid talking about these issues.  Schauer though has been getting praise for his support for raising the minimum wage:


The Michigan League for Public Policy is applauding the move by Schauer on the minimum wage.

“No one who works hard should be forced to work for poverty wages, whether they are parents supporting young kids or teenagers who are just starting their working lives,” said Gilda Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy. “But this is exactly what we’re asking many minimum-wage workers to do — to put in their time at work and still remain poor.”

Erica Hill, Detroit political observer and campaign veteran, said while Schauer’s minimum wage announcement is a good start, the leader of the Democratic pack for 2014 cannot just rely on traditional supporters.

“He has to identify with newer, non-traditional voters, within the 18-35 demographic, utilize social media, establish a ground game in urban centers early and establish solutions that challenge Gov. Synder on issues such as emergency management, Right to Work, pension dissolution and public education,” Hill said. “He should clearly establish how democracy is currently being undermined and how he can help to restore it.”

Hill said minimum wage is not enough to reduce voter apathy and give voters a reason to show up at the polls.

“I believe it is a step in the right direction, as long as the party is prepared to take on the fight by our corporate friends,” Hill said. “We don’t want to muddy the water like we did in 2012, with an extremely crowded ballot, but taking another stab at the Emergency Manager Law may excite some voters, considering how Detroit is currently fairing under the law.” - Michigan Chronicle, 11/20/13

I too applaud Schauer for making raising the minimum wage a campaign issue.  It may not be the only issue that will motivate voters to get to the polls but it's one that I am looking forward to being talked about in this campaign.  For this, Schauer deserves our support.  If you would like to get involved or donate to Schauer's campaign, you can do so here:

Originally posted to pdc on Fri Nov 22, 2013 at 09:00 AM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions, The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, Kossacks for Marriage Equality, Milk Men And Women, and Motor City Kossacks.

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