Candidate for Lt. Governor, Representative Frank Ferri, in conversation with Ian Donnis and Scott McKay on RIPR this morning, became the first candidate for statewide office to publicly declare his support for the workers presently engaged with the Providence City Council to pass a $15 minimum wage for all hotel employees in the city.
First asked sked if the minimum wage should be raised, Ferri said, “I believe the minimum wage should be raised. I’m a small business person, I pay more than the minimum wage. We’re in such income inequity right now that I have no problem with raising it.”
McKay then asked Ferri where the minimum wage should be set, and Donnis asked if he supported the $15 minimum wage proposed by Providence hotel workers. Ferri replied, “I support raising the minimum wage. Where that should be right now? There’s a proposal at the Senate for $9, I’ll support that. I’ve traveled a lot. I’ve seen hotel workers. I know how hard they work and to say that they’re not making $15 an hour… I don’t like that. I think that it should be higher.”
When Donnis asked Ferri to clarify, Ferri said, “I would support $15” for hotel workers in Providence.
This is a game changer. No other candidate for statewide office has made such a bold and progressive declaration in support of these workers. Outside of some members of the Providence City Council, I don’t believe there has been any support from elected officials.
Ferri should find his support of the hotel workers a boost to his campaign. In Providence, an “overwhelming 64% support the $15 minimum wage for hotel workers,” according to a recent poll. In this time of rising economic inequality, measures that bring relief and decent living wages to working families are going to become increasingly popular. Let’s face it, restructuring the estate tax isn’t doing many of us any good, and in truth, merely increases the tax burden on all of us.
The advocacy and work of Frank Ferri was critical in passing marriage equality in Rhode Island last year, and his solid stand on progressive issues has set him apart from his rather dull and predictable opponents, Cumberland Mayor Dan McKee and Secretary of State Ralph Mollis. It should be an interesting primary, as both Mollis and McKee have been in the race for a while and have a fundraising advantage, but Frank Ferri has the support of Rhode Islanders statewide eager to support this progressive champion.
You know what? I’m just going to come right out and say it: Frank Ferri should be our next Lt. Governor. I’m voting for him, you should too. Donate time and money to his campaign. Tell your friends to vote for him. This is our chance to advocate for a real, tried and true progressive for statewide office. Let’s make this happen.