Last year the Legislature voted to raise the minimum wage in Maine, but Mainers are still waiting for that raise.

Growing up with a single mom who struggled to make ends meet, I saw up close and personal the harmful impacts of low wages and income inequality. Those impacts pass from one generation to the next.

There’s no doubt the rich are getting richer while working people barely get by. I earn just a few dollars over the minimum even as a manager, and recent raises haven’t been enough to combat increasing costs. I am making plenty of money for my employer: my location alone brought in millions of dollars last year, and most of that money left the state as profits for higher-ups.

Sometimes we hear it’s okay for some jobs to pay below a living wage because they’re entry-level, or they’re held by teenagers working for spending money. That’s just not true. I have assistants who are older than me. The money I make has to pay for rent, child support, child care and other expenses. And that’s after my health insurance comes out of my check.

Life is short. My time is worth a lot, and right now I’m at work more than I’m in my kids’ lives. Everybody deserves to be rewarded for working hard — it’s the ultimate American dream.

We all want to provide for our families and own a home. Raising the minimum wage to $15 would be another step toward dignity for Maine workers.

Jeffrey Adams, Lewiston

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