Iowa Republican Senate Nominee: Iowans Deserve A Low Minimum Wage (VIDEO)

Graphic via Good Jobs Now

Graphic via Good Jobs Now

GOP Senate candidate Joni Ernst sure doesn’t seem to appreciate just how hard the people in her state of Iowa work to earn a living. In fact, she thinks the low $7.25 minimum wage “is appropriate” for Iowans, and that the federal government shouldn’t raise the minimum wage to make their lives better.

That’s the message Ernst’s Democratic opponent, Bruce Braley, is using against her in a new devastating ad across the state.

The ad begins by featuring audio of Ernst openly telling Iowa Public Radio that she is against any effort by the federal government to raise the minimum wage.

I do not support a federal minimum wage. Every state has a different economy, different cost of living. I don’t believe that’s the role of the federal government.

President Obama has proposed raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, which would lift millions of Americans, including hundreds of thousands of Iowans, out of poverty. But Republicans in the House and Senate have opposed the effort at every step. If Ernst were elected to the Senate, she’d cast a vote against raising the wage, even if it would help her own constituents.

The ad goes on to show footage of an appearance Ernst made during a candidate forum in March where she told those in attendance that Iowans deserve no higher than the low wage they currently get. According to her, the current $7.25 wage “is appropriate” for Iowans.

Here’s the video via Politico.

Of course, Joni Ernst and her campaign are not happy about Braley telling the truth with video and audio proof. A spokeswoman for the Ernst campaign accused braley of being desperate and telling lies. “Bruce Braley is so desperate that he’s once again waging a dirty, false campaign,” spokeswoman Gretchen Hamel claimed.

“The fact is that Joni grew up working minimum-wage jobs and knows first-hand how important the minimum wage is. While Bruce Braley thinks Washington always knows best, Joni understands that a minimum wage set by Iowans, for Iowans, is the best way to help working Iowans.”

According to ThinkProgress, however, the current low wage that Iowans are scraping by on isn’t enough. In fact, it’s hurting them.

Over 300,000 Iowans survive on minimum wage, which has remained at $7.25 for the last five years. That’s only $15,000 per year at 40 hours a week. If you’re unfortunate enough to only get part time work, it’s even lower. It’s especially harsh if you have a family to support.
Joni Ernst can claim all she wants that she “understands” what working at minimum wage feels like, it doesn’t help the families who need a higher minimum wage now. People are struggling to pay the bills and put food on the table, yet Republicans are living in a fantasy world where they think low wages are good as long as jobs are plentiful. But just because you have a job, doesn’t mean you’re financially stable.

Ernst definitely has an uphill battle if Braley continues to slam her with her own minimum wage beliefs. A Des Moines Register Iowa Poll shows that 65 percent of Iowans support raising the minimum wage. Only 31 percent oppose. That’s a 34 point margin that’s difficult for any Republican to argue with when past elections have shown that when raising the minimum wage is a ballot issue, Democrats usually capture victory. Raising the minimum wage is an issue that has overwhelming support from Americans. Denying increases makes Republicans look like the pro-rich party they are, and totally contradicts their claims of being the party of “family values.” A livable wage IS a family value and Republicans are opposing it at their own peril.