Democratic candidate for Governor of the state of Texas Beto O’Rourke continues his campaign towards the November elections, and part of his message is his promise to raise the minimum wage if he is elected.
O’Rourke has been Governor Greg Abbott’s opposite on most controversial topics: he is in favor of the legalization of marijuana, the protection of women’s reproductive rights, raising public school funding, and supporting immigrant, black, and LGBTQ communities. Along with these positions, he also advocates for a raise in the minimum wage in Texas.
At the moment, the state of Texas has a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, one of the lowest in the country, compared to states like Washington D.C. ($15 an hour) or Colorado ($12.32). This means that Texans working jobs like retail or service are the ones that are most affected, earning so little to get by and support themselves and their families.
O’Rourke has sent the message since 2019 that a rise in the minimum wage would benefit everyone, stimulate the economy, and boost jobs. He has been present in movements like the janitor protest in May that happened in Houston, where janitors took the streets to demand a salary raise and better working conditions.
“That ensures that somebody working full time doesn’t have to work a second or a third job,” O’Rourke said on abc13 News. “They can provide for themselves, take care of their kids, and contribute back to their community.”
He has also been criticized by republicans like Greg Abbott, who insist paying workers a more reasonable salary is a threat to the Texan economy and would mean losing jobs. In response, he has stated on Twitter and in news interviews that the current Governor’s decision to maintain the minimum wage is hurting Texans who have to keep more than one job to get by.
A report by Axios shows that the tendency to increase the minimum wage is reaching most states in the country, but Texas seems to be staying behind. And once more, the data shows that what people are earning is not enough to maintain a good quality of life.
According to the post, a person must earn at least $27.58 an hour to comfortably make rent for a two-bedroom apartment in the Austin-Round Rock metro area, making Austin the most expensive city in Texas, the data taken from a housing report published last summer.
It is also important to highlight that Black and Latino communities are more vulnerable to poor living conditions and poor pay in their jobs. They are more likely to be paid just the minimum wage than white people, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
There must be a balance between companies boosting the economy and workers being able to live their lives comfortably with the salaries they earn. O’Rourke brings a promise that Abbott refuses to change, and it is worth taking into account.