Good morning, I am delighted to get together today to celebrate the achievement of my top priority for the short session: to raise Oregon’s minimum wage.
Over the past few weeks, I have done a lot of talking about how important it is for hard-working Oregonians to get a much-needed raise in order to keep up with rising costs of rent, food, and other necessities.
Today, I am pleased to be able to demonstrate, with two real-world examples, how raising the minimum wage will have a positive impact on the lives of Oregonians.
First, I’d like to introduce you to Kasil Kapriel. She moved here from Micronesia eight years ago. Like so many, she came in search of a better life – and that means a good job that helps her provide for her three children.
She found that job at PDX as a passenger service agent – essentially helping fliers get where they need to go.
Every day she gives it her all. But at 9.25 an hour, it’s not enough. In the last two years, her rent has gone up three times. Last year, it went up by 100 dollars. What’s worse, her hours were cut around the same time.
Every time she gets ahead by a little bit, another barrier gets in her way.
Today, we are signing a bill that gets her a little bit closer to the American dream.. It means just an extra $15 or 20 a week starting in July. But for this mom of three, there are months where that small amount will make all the difference.
Thank you, Kasil, for being here today and allowing me to share your story.
Next, I am pleased to introduce John Stadter. John is one of the founders of First Call Resolution, a call center and contracted services company based out of Roseburg. He operates locations in Grants Pass, Coos Bay, Veneta, Eugene, Independence, and even Seattle. The company started in 2005, has grown every year since, and has almost tripled in size in the last three years.
He employs almost 1500 people. With a workforce that size, he was worried when he first saw proposed ballot measures to raise the minimum wage. He was concerned that it raised wages too quickly for his business to accommodate. At the same time, he also understood that the cost of living was rising fast, and Oregonians – including his employees – were not always able to make ends meet.
John says the solution presented to us today strikes the reasonable balance he was looking for – a sensible plan to increase the minimum wage that would allow his business to continue to grow while also paying his employees above minimum wage, with regular raises as they gain experience.
As Governor, I am proud of the collaborative spirit of the stakeholders groups that worked to develop this legislation. Oregon has not only avoided a number of potentially problematic ballot measures, we have taken a smart approach by implementing the raise in wages in a way that makes sense for workers and for businesses – no matter where in Oregon they are.
I’m proud to sign a bill that so well represents the innovative and collaborative spirit of Oregon.