My story is a strong argument for voting “yes” on Question 4 this November to raise the minimum wage for all workers in Maine.

When my daughter was small, I worked for four years as a cashier, making minimum wage. Each year, I got a 25-cent increase. Fifteen years ago, I became the sole support of my 13-year-old daughter and myself after a divorce that put us through some devastating transitions when we lost everything and had no hope of child support.

Starting at only $8.50 per hour, it took me 10 years to get to $12. During those years, our housing (that was nearly uninhabitable) and poor quality food were all I could afford, which broke my heart.

I had no money to go to college and no one to watch over my daughter if I went to school at night. We were trapped in poverty even though I worked full time.

I have worked hard all my life, and I believe people need to earn a decent wage so that families can be safe and healthy at home.

Whatever product or service I was doing for people should cost what it really takes for a minimum wage family to have the basics of life in the community. Otherwise, where is the dignity for us? We’re working every day, doing our best for our families.

Those who are still at minimum wage now need help. I encourage everyone to vote “yes” on Question 4 on Nov. 8.

Julie Turner, Mechanic Falls

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