Democrats Talk Education And Economy At Red, White & Blue Banque - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Democrats Talk Education And Economy At Red, White & Blue Banquet

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Democratic candidates and party officials meeting for the annual Red, White and Blue Banquet at the Mississippi Fair Grounds tonight.

A lot of talk about how to boost the economy at the banquet. From the people we talked to, it seems like they believe bolstering education and raising wages is needed to do that. 

US Senator Tom Harkin has a bill that'll be on the senate floor in a few weeks looking to raise the federal minimum wage. His legislation proposes raising it to $10.10, up from $7.25 now.

"The minimum wage has fallen so low, that you could go to work everyday, go to work everyday at the minimum wage and still fall below the poverty line," said Harkin.

Harkin said every time that wage gets raised, businesses say they can't afford it. But he said that's not the case and people and the economy will see a big benefit.

"When you raise someone's minimum wage up, they tend to spend that money," said Harkin. "They do. The GDP, our gross domestic product will increase. We'll have more jobs and people will live better."

Along with raising the minimum wage and getting better paying jobs, Harkin said Iowa needs an education system that can get people better job opportunities.

"We need more and better paying jobs in Iowa," said Harkin. "We need to have and education system, especially our community colleges to upgrade our skills."

Representative Dave Loebsack said it's especially critical to make sure the state bolsters education as much as it can, especially with a 6.5% unemployment rate in the area.         

"People want to get back to work," said Loebsack. "They want to take care of themselves and their families, but we need to get them the opportunities and we got to get them the skills they need too."

State Senator Jack Hatch agrees, saying Iowa needs education reform especially for lowering college costs to students.

"Education which was a bedrock of Iowa values has been questioned by the Republican party and by this governor by not funding at levels that continue to keep up and are truly falling farther behind," said Hatch.
     
Last week at the Jo Daviess County Republican Party's annual Lincoln Day Dinner, candidates and lawmakers told us their big focus is addressing issues with infighting in the party and passing legislation to set term limits.