I will vote to raise the minimum wage rate in Maine (Question 4). People cannot live on $7.50 per hour. Tipped workers, especially, need a raise to have a decent, stable standard of living.

Some companies are already paying more than the minimum wage because they value their workers. Other places, including some where I worked, did not value their workers.

Years ago, I was stuck at minimum wage for four years at one place and the pay went up only 25 cents per hour in working for eight years at another place. Minimum wage work can be hot and dangerous in many places. Back in the 1980s, I could not afford a decent place to live. Landlords were terrible where I could live. And even though I was taking home less than $100/week, I qualified for only $10/month in help with food.

It is such a bad system, I could have gotten more financial help if I had quit. Things aren’t much better today.

I want to work and do good things for my community. I want to help my neighbors have a better life when they are working full time and not able to make ends meet. I am not talking about teenagers. I am talking about adults and elderly people who really need jobs to survive.

Everyone should be able to live with dignity, not in poverty, if they are working hard.

I hope others will join me in voting “yes” on Question 4 to raise the minimum wage for everyone.

Kenny Derboghosian, Lewiston

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