Lawmakers and activists held a rally in East Orlando Monday morning, pushing to raise Florida’s minimum wage to $15 per hour.
The rally was centered around a trio of state lawmakers who have accepted the minimum wage challenge, which requires them to live off of $8.05 for one week.
“It is something that is necessary for our working class.” said state Rep. Victor Torres, who is one of the lawmakers taking the challenge, and is sponsoring legislation in the state house for an increase to $15.”This time I’m going to challenge. Those out there who haven’t lived off of eight dollars an hour, let’s see how far it takes you.”
Torres, along with Kissimmee State Rep. John Cortes and a delegation of 17 other Democratic lawmakers from across the state are participating in the challenge.
State Sen. Geraldine Thompson announced at the press conference she would also be joining the challenge adding “I’m here to join the challenge, because I know here in Central Florida, we have one of the lowest wages in the nation. We have people that work everyday but can’t even afford to go to the doctor.”
Opponents of raising the minimum wage say that the measure would raise costs too quickly and hurt hiring. They also say a hike would compel business owners to seek cheaper automated labor. Last week, Osceola County failed to pass a living wage that would have raised the minimum amount the county could pay workers to $11.65.
Other notable attendees included Orange County Tax Collector Scott Randolph, Florida’s 9th Congressional District candidate Susannah Randolph, and Carlos Guillermo Smith, who is running for House District 49.