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Minimum Wage a Political Issue in 2006 Elections?

By Maria Carter

Kansas City, MO – Former U.S. Senator and vice presidential candidate John Edwards met with local union leaders to roll out a campaign for increasing Missouri's minimum wage. The proposed ballot measure would raise the state's minimum wage more than a dollar to $6.50 an hour and link the wage to inflation. KCUR's Maria Carter reports.

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Similar initiatives are expected to be on the ballot in five other states attracting Democratic voters to the polls during this falls mid-term elections. The Missouri Chamber of Commerce opposes the ballot measure saying it hurts businesses and Chamber president Dan Mehan says the supporters are playing politics with the state's economy.

Dan Mehan: "We're playing around with our economic viability because of a political wish. That's to me problematic."

Senator John Edwards says raising the minimum wage will help the working poor out of poverty.

John Edwards: "The purpose of this initiative is to make sure the the hundreds of thousands who work for minimum wage here in the state of Missouri earn a decent living. That's all it is."

Supporters turned in some 210-thousand signatures more than twice the number needed. The Secretary of State's office has to certify the signatures before it appears on the November ballot.

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