Unemployment in our district is significantly higher than the national average (7.4%, compared to 4.9% nationally in 2016). Incomes in our district are less than state averages, and the poverty rate in our district is significantly above the state and national average. Minimum wage has not been increased over the years at the same rate as inflation. In the last 50 years, the minimum wage has effectively decreased in value by one third! In the same fifty years, corporate profits have increased 500% and average CEO salaries have gone up 1,500%. Minimum wage is so low, that for a family of four where both parents work full-time at minimum wage, the family is still below the poverty line. In our district, poor infrastructure and inadequate career and technical education discourage businesses from coming to our area or expanding.
It is ethically and morally wrong to perpetuate a system where it is possible for people working full time to live below the poverty line, while the businesses they work for make a profit. It is time that workers be fairly compensated for the work that they do, which supports the thriving of our economy. It is also time that the north state be recognized for its potential as a place for business to start and to grow. Through investing in infrastructure, career and technical education, healthcare, water, and veterans, more jobs will be created in our district, and our people will be ready to take them.
I will fight for north state workers to bring more jobs to our region, increase job readiness and workforce development through improved career and technical education, and support workers’ rights.
My priorities include:
Increase availability of career and technical education locally, with localized specialties (for example Susanville needs heavy equipment operators to manage their forests), including online courses, satellite campus, and partnerships for workforce and economic development
Invest in infrastructure development (roads and broadband) to bring in new industries, and prioritize the use of local businesses in infrastructure improvements and other government spending projects
Incentivize industries to come to areas where we have ready talent pools of skilled workers and graduates from community college and career and technical education programs
Job creation in the healthcare field through fully funding VA and Medicare for all
Job creation through supporting advances in clean energy, sustainable forestry, and technology fields
Support workers’ rights to organize and bargain
Increase minimum wage (incrementally) so that full-time workers do not live below the poverty line, and then tie minimum wage to inflation increases, so that it keeps up with changes over time. Assist small businesses by assessing the financial impact of the wage increase, and providing them support or tax breaks.