Connor D. Wolf
Oregon Democratic Gov. Kate Brown unveiled a proposal Thursday to bring the state minimum wage to roughly $15 an hour, just a week after accepting a $100,000 union contribution.
Brown has done little to increase the minimum wage in the year since taking office. She made the policy a sudden priority, however, after excepting a large campaign contribution from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). She wants to increase the minimum wage in the Portland metro area to $15.52 and $13.50 in the rest of the state by 2022.
“The costs of essentials such as food, child care, and rent are rising so fast that wages can’t keep up,” Brown said in a statement. “Many Oregonians working full-time can’t make ends meet, and that’s not right.”
AFSCME has been an adamant supporter of increasing the minimum wage nationally and in the states. It dumped the six-figure political contribution on Brown Jan. 5, and within the next week, she unveiled her proposal. AFSCME supports the Raise the Wage Oregon campaign, which advocates for a $13.50 minimum wage.
Brown is not likely to face significant opposition, since Democrats have a majority in the state legislature. Additionally those lawmakers opposed to the increase were silenced during a joint committee hearing. The hearing was the first formal opportunity for lawmakers to better understand the proposal. Democratic Committee Co-Chair Paul Holvey allegedly told opposition members that they would not be allowed to ask questions to those testifying.
Brown has previously pursued policy initiatives after questionable encounters. She held a private meeting June 16 with environmental activist Tom Steyer. Her administration soon after released data to state lawmakers making it seem carbon emissions were worse than they actually were. The next week a repeal of the low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) failed.
The repeal was included in a state transportation bill and was very much opposed by environmentalists. Emails from her administration, which were obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation, show it knew the data was wrong. Steyer has had a history of allegedly influencing state lawmakers including former Gov. John Kitzhaber.
Kitzhaber also worked to advance environmentalist policies when in office. He resigned after it was revealed his fiance had close business connections to Steyer. She received contracts from groups funded by Steyer to help advance environmentalist policies, according to The Washington Times.
Brown, AFSCME, Holvey and Steyer did not respond to request for comment by TheDCNF.