Rep. Edwards sat down with USA Today’s Washington DC Bureau Chief Susan Page for “Capital Download.”
From USA Today:
Maryland Rep. Donna Edwards, 56, for the second straight time heads the “Red to Blue” program at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee — that is, the targeted effort to win Republican-held seats in November. On USA TODAY’s Capital Download newsmaker series, she talked about Democratic prospects, President Obama’s impact and the exploding immigration crisis. Answers and questions have been edited for length and clarity.
To watch the video clip, click here.
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Rep. Edwards was a recent guest on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports.” Rep. Edwards highlighted the “When Women Succeed, America Succeeds” National Bus Tour.
“Women’s voices are incredibly important in the midterm elections and getting them to turn out to vote on our three pillars: equal pay for equal work, paid sick leave and also making sure that we have quality affordable childcare. The crowds were terrific, they were tremendous [...] really enthusiastic for the agenda and for what it means for women.”
Rep. Edwards continued:
“Two-thirds of workers who work for the minimum wage are women, and what that means is that when you’re working for minimum wage you can be working 40 hours a week and you don’t even make it to the poverty line. This impacts women and families and children. [...] We haven’t raised the wage since 2006, when Democrats actually had the gavel. On the bus tour Leader Pelosi said public sentiment is everything. We have to raise that public sentiment in every single congressional district across the country, and then we will have a Congress that understands the importance of raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.”
As chair of the Democratic Women’s Working Group, Rep. Edwards helped organize and took part in the Women’s Economic Agenda Bus Tour. The tour traveled from Seneca Falls, N.Y. and ended in Chicago, focusing on engaging women across the country to the importance of the upcoming elections to help pass the policies found in the agenda. The tour included Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Rosa Delauro (D-Conn.), Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.), Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), and Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-Mass.).
The women’s economic agenda includes, increasing the minimum wage, passing equal pay, and ensuring affordable childcare that will boost the national economy and reduce income disparity. To learn more about the agenda, please click here.
Click here to read an article in the Huffington Post about the bus tour. Here is an excerpt:
Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and Donna Edwards (D-Md.) huddled around Tiffany Payne, a mother of three young children who lives in a shelter in Lowell because she cannot afford childcare and housing with a part-time, minimum-wage job. “There are so many other women in the shelter that don’t speak out like I can, because they’re afraid to mention that they’re homeless,” she said.
“You have empowered your message, we have heard it,” Edwards told Payne. “Now you’re going to make us even more strident in fighting on the House floor. We’re gonna raise your name up and say, ‘This doesn’t make any sense. We cannot function this way.'”
Capital News Service highlighted Rep. Edwards work to promote “When Women Succeed, American Succeeds: An Economic Agenda for Women and Families.”
Here is an excerpt:
Maryland Congresswoman Donna Edwards remembers her son curled up in the corner of a conference room where she was having a meeting, because he was sick and she couldn’t afford time off to stay home with him.
Over the years, Edwards, D-Fort Washington, has worked for minimum wage, waited tables for tipped wages, and struggled to find quality, affordable childcare. That was before she was elected to Congress.
She said her firsthand experience with these issues has been invaluable as she works to bring awareness and change for working women around the country.
“These are the issues that really plague women in the workplace and get in the way of their economic success,” Edwards said.
As the chair of the Democratic women’s working group, she is pushing for an increase in the minimum wage, paid leave, affordable, quality childcare, and equal pay for equal work.
She speaks passionately about the importance of raising the federal minimum wage, something she says disproportionately affects women.
“I think it is a win-win situation if we raise the minimum wage…but it should be indexed to inflation” Edwards said.
To read the entire article, please click here.
Today, The Gazette announced their endorsement of Rep. Donna Edwards for reelection.
Here is an excerpt:
Edwards has been a staunch advocate for funding of STEM programs, even hosting an annual forum on the topic in her district, and has held numerous community events to help those at risk of losing their homes. She has been vocal about pay equity for women and successfully pushed for funding of an after-school meal program for children from low-income families. Edwards’ record as a supporter of federal workers, who make up a large part of her district; efforts to clean the Chesapeake Bay; work toward regulating corporate expenditures on campaigns; and record of bipartisan efforts make her the better choice in the Democratic primary.
To view the entire article, please click here.
Rep. Edwards and Donna S. Edwards, Secretary-Treasurer of the Maryland-DC AFL-CIO, had their op-ed published in the Baltimore Sun.
No one who works full time in the wealthiest nation in the world should have to raise his or her family in poverty. Yet that has become the reality for so many workers, especially women, across our country as the minimum wage has failed to keep pace with the cost of living over the last 30 years. The hard truth is that the federal minimum wage is no longer a wage that allows families to make ends meet. This is an issue of gender, economic growth and values. In order to restore real opportunity for millions of Americans, it is time to raise the federal minimum wage.While it is encouraging that Maryland legislators are working to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, the decision by the House of Delegates (if left to stand) to freeze the tipped minimum wage represents a significant step backward for thousands of workers, particularly women. In Maryland, tipped workers’ minimum wages are capped currently at $3.63, or 50 percent of the current regular minimum wage, and women make up nearly two-thirds of all of our state’s workers in tipped occupations. Freezing the tipped minimum wage instead of raising it will undermine economic opportunities for, and create an even greater gap between, our lowest-wage workers and low-wage workers. This is unacceptable. No other state has taken such action to freeze their tipped minimum wage. Tipped workers are already vulnerable, as servers are three times as likely as other workers to live in poverty. Maryland should not cave to special industry sector carve outs and leave working women behind in our efforts to promote economic security for all Marylanders.The low tipped minimum wage results in workers relying on government services to close the gap between their wages and what they need to provide for their families. I hear from many women who work a full-time job but still need food stamps, nutrition assistance, help with their utilities, and public housing assistance to make ends meet. In effect, taxpayers are subsidizing the gap between low wages and what a family needs to live on. Instead, let’s just make companies and restaurants to pay fair wages that enable families to use their paycheck to make ends meet.
Raising the tipped minimum wage to 70 percent of $10.10 per hour would mean an increase of $6,880 per year for working families across our country. Research has also found that these raises will not cost Maryland’s economy jobs because low-wage workers would use this additional income to purchase goods and services from businesses. The non-partisan Economic Policy Institute found that the original legislation proposed by Gov. Martin O’Malley, which included an increase in the tipped minimum wage, would add almost $500 million in economic activity and 1,600 new jobs even after increased labor costs and the possibility of small price increases. This makes sense for Maryland’s economy.
A robust tipped minimum wage is an essential part of any effort to raise the minimum wage. At the federal level, I have introduced H.R. 650, the WAGES Act, in the last two Congresses, which would increase the tipped minimum wage for the first time in over 20 years. This legislation was added to the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013, H.R. 1010, which would increase the minimum wage for all workers. There is no reason why legislators in Maryland should not pursue a similar strategy, and I urge our state lawmakers to support Governor O’Malley’s initial proposal by enacting a progressive minimum wage increase, including an increase in the tipped minimum wage. Let’s lead the nation by not leaving our tipped workers behind.
To view the article on the Baltimore Sun website, please click here.
Today, I received the endorsement of President Barack Obama. I am grateful that the President took the time to acknowledge our work on health care reform, job creation, and an economic agenda for women and families that includes making affordable childcare more accessible.
Here is the President in his own words:
“Donna has been a leader and advocate for Maryland’s 4th Congressional District. She is a strong ally in our fight for affordable healthcare, using innovative thinking to add a provision to the Affordable Care Act that holds insurance companies accountable for unjustifiable rate increases. Through her hard work, Maryland was added to the Afterschool Suppers Program. She has not stopped there. As Chair of the Democratic Women’s Working Group, she is leading the charge to ensure that women are treated fairly in our economy – from affordable childcare to ensuring equal pay for equal work. Her leadership is proof of what I said in the State of the Union: when women succeed, America succeeds. As President, I know firsthand the creative thinking that makes Donna a tireless fighter and effective leader for America’s working families. She has the ideas to meet the future challenges our nation faces in the 21st century.” – President Barack Obama, 4/2/14
Our successes derive from our continued commitment to improving the lives of working families, and I want to thank the President for his endorsement and for his leadership. I also want to thank you for the work you have done and your ongoing support of our campaign. I look forward to continue working with the President and each of you over the next two years on our shared priorities.