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The Scoop

The Midwest's Premiere Politics Magazine. 

 

(I may do something with a graphic at a later date) 

Edited by MrAnderson
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Who Represents Us? Interviews of Our Representatives

Jackson Clay: The Midwest's Only House Leader

Democrat from Indiana's 6th Congressional District

Chairman of the House HELP Committee

 

Representative Jackson Clay is from the little town of Muncie, Indiana, and currently represents his hometown and the district around it in the House of Representatives. Representative Clay first became politically involved when he attended a speech given by Bobby Kennedy at his university, the day that Martin Luther King was shot. Hearing the words of that speech, Jackson changed his major from business to political science, and dedicated his life to public service. He has a wife Stacy, and a one year old son also named Jackson. He is currently serving his second term in Congress, and was recently named chair of the HELP committee, where he is pushing a pro-worker, higher wage agenda through the Congress. 

 

What made you decide to run for the House? 

When I decided to run, I was the Mayor of Muncie. I was watching how the politics of the liberal wing of my party and the conservative wing of the other party were negatively affecting the people of my town and my district, and I figured that I was in the right position to run and make a change. 

 

What are your biggest priorities in the HELP Committee? 

My goal is to pass legislation that will help grow the economy, and grow wages. Wages have been dropping since President Reagan was re-elected in 1984, and the people of my district are suffering as a result. As the chair of this committee, I'm going to work to make sure that wages are growing, health insurance coverage is expanded, and that everyone is able to pursue the American dream. 

 

Were you concerned that your chairmanship was in jeopardy during the nepotism scandal? 

I have been concerned about the scandal, but I don't think my appointment has anything to do with it. The investigation that has been about whether Chairman King's appointment was nepotistic, not whether he was qualified. There is no reason why my being appointed would present any difficulties. There is a lot that is up in the air right now with regards to committee appointments, but to my mind, my appointment was fair and done by any reasonable standard. 

 

How would you describe your district? 

My district is a really good model for this country. The people of my district are farmers, industrial workers, professors, and business people. My district includes a major university, multiple auto manufacturing facilities, dozens of schools, hundreds of small businesses and so much more. It's filled with good people, who work hard, pay their taxes, and expect their government to work for them.

 

What’s one thing outside of being a politician that your constituents should know about you?

There's not a lot that I do beyond my work, because I'm a bit of a workaholic.  Beyond that, even though I'm a member of the House of Representatives, I still am a pretty normal guy. I make my own cup of coffee in the morning, I eat dinner at night with my family and I spend every Sunday in the pews of my church. Even though I spend a lot of time in Washington, I still am a Hoosier at heart, and I always take the values that I learned growing up in Muncie into every committee hearing or budget meeting.

Edited by MrAnderson

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The Problem With Raising the Minimum Wage: Midwestern Jobs

 

The US House of Representatives has been engaged in a discussion of raising the minimum wage that appears to be across party-lines, after the same bill passed the HELP committee by a 3-2 party-line vote. There are real economic benefits and concerns about such a measure, and it appears to have a strong benefit based on national region. 

 

The rhetoric in Washington from the GOP has been about economic concerns, citing fear of rising costs and concerns about small businesses in one speech from Rep. James Jefferson (R-VA). Democrats such as Rep. Thomas Blackstone (D-MA), on the other hand, have largely condemned Republicans for fear mongering and have wrongfully claimed that opposing the bill was the same as opposing any minimum wage. The minimum wage was first set in 1938 and has continued uninterrupted since then. Blackstone's biggest ally has been Maine Representative Rosemarie DuBois-Granger (D), who has seconded his amendment to tie the minimum wage to Congressional salaries. 

 

Here in the Midwest, no state has a minimum wage higher than the national average, although Minnesota may be raising theirs in the next year by twenty cents. This helps foster domestic work leaving higher-wage states and relocating in states with lower costs. So who does benefit from raising the national minimum wage? 

 

There are seven states with minimum wages currently higher than $3.35, six of which are located in the Northeast. Alaska is the outlier, though they lack the same issues of people crossing state borders to purchase cheaper goods in neighbors and have significantly higher costs regarding shipment and sales to turn businesses away as well. In total, Massachusetts and Maine are tied for the highest minimum wage in the continental United States, and in no surprise the loudest Democrats in support of it are advocating for bringing other states to the same level. Each state has a minimum wage of $3.65, lower than the lowest hike in the bill, which will shortly be dwarfed by the bill calling for minimum wages as high as $5.00 per hour in five years. 

 

So how would a change impact us here in the Midwest? The industrial Northeast has seen its economic power weakened in recent years, as manufacturing leaves and heads to greener pastures in other states and abroad. Companies in the Midwest could see the chance to move to the Northeast, if wage costs were equal, giving it more direct routes to sea ports thereby lowering shipment costs. This incentive to move their base of operation would hinder the Midwest economy, while boosting economies in the Northeast that have seen damaging effects from raising their own wages. 

 

So of course, for those Representatives from Massachusetts and Maine, raising the minimum wage makes a lot of sense. For the rest of us, it may draw away jobs and hurt our local economies. 

 

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