Richfield legislators respond: Should minimum wage go up?

Proposals for raising the minimum wage in Minnesota have floated various figures at which to raise the hourly rate Minnesota employers must pay their employees.

President Obama called for a $9 an hour federal minimum wage in his State of the Union address.

The Sun Current asked Richfield’s legislators, “Do you support raising Minnesota’s minimum wage?”

Responses from two of Richfield’s four house and senate members are as follows:


Melissa Halvorson Wiklund, Senate District 50 (D-Bloomington): A number of proposals to raise the minimum wage in Minnesota have been circulating around the legislature. One of the first bills introduced in the Senate would raise it to $7.50 per hour for large businesses and would index it to inflation.

A separate proposal in the House of Representatives would raise it to $9.38 per hour. Additionally, a proposal with both House and Senate authors would increase the minimum wage to $9.50 per hour. Finally, President Obama also called for a minimum wage increase to $9.00 per hour in his State of the Union address last week.

With so many different proposals, it remains to be seen what the final result will be. I would need to study the full economic impact, but ultimately, I would lean toward putting more money in the pockets of lower-income Minnesotans and bringing the minimum wage in line with the current federal level.


Jean Wagenius, House District 63B (D-Minneapolis): I fully support raising Minnesota’s minimum wage. Our current minimum wage, $6.15 an hour, is far below the wage needed for someone to be self sufficient. The Minnesota Department of

Labor and Industry reports that about 93,000 Minnesotans earn at or below the current minimum wage. They tend to be young, female and from greater Minnesota. If our goal is to build our middle class—I believe it should be—then we must raise the minimum wage.


Linda Slocum, House District 50A (D-Richfield) and Patricia Torres Ray, Senate District 63 (D-Minneapolis) did not respond.


Contact Mike Hanks at [email protected]