successful minimum wage campaign

colist at colist at
Fri Nov 5 18:53:19 CST 2004

[ed:  here are some followups on the Florida minimum wage campaign from 
Kathleen and Doug.]

From: "Kathleen de la Peña McCook" <kmccook at>

But of course the republicans, chamber of commerce people are filing a 
lawsuit today to fight it....Wage hike may end up in court A business 
group may challenge the validity of the amendment raising the minimum 
wage by $1.
 [ed:  Kathleen included a copyrighted article that can be possibly be 
accessed at 
or by going to the St. Petersburg Times home page 
( and doing a search on "Wage hike may end up in 
court, Scott Barancik).


From: DougRHess at

In agreement with Peter, but to be even more explict, I think that  the
lesson we need to ensure funders hear about the summer/fall GOTV and voter 
registration work is that it needs to be part ongoing support for 
Funding voter mobilizing (which is not organizing) just during the 
summer makes  the
poor out to be little more than extras from "casting call" in politics. If 
the poor are to be given any credit, they realize it's not sincerely about 
them and will, naturally, remain hard to turnout. In short: What's  
happened so
far is not organizing. What's still needed involves more  organizing.
Doug  Hess
School of Public Policy & Public Administration,
George  Washington University

Home address:
2114 N St., NW Apt.  23
Washington, DC 20037
colist at wrote:

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> [ed:  my message yesterday was partly a response to Peter's post below.]
> From: "Peter Dreier" <dreier at>
> In the midst of the national train wreck, here's some good news -- and 
> perh aps some political lessons -- out of Florida.
> According to this morning's Miami Herald and Tampa Tribune, Florida 
> voters approved, by a 72% to 28% margin (4.95 million to 1.96 
> million), the statew ide ballot initiative to raise the state minimum 
> wage by one dollar an hour , to $6.15/hour (and index it to inflation) 
> -- sponsored by ACORN with a br oad coalition of unions and others 
> liberal groups -- despite the united opp osition (and heavy spending) 
> by the state's big business community. 
> This margin was much higher than the very slim (and still counting) 
> margin for Republican Mel Martinez over Democrat Betty Castor for 
> Florida's open U S Senate seat The Tampa Tribune shows Martinez with a 
> lead of slightly less than 1 percen tage point - about 68,000 votes 
> out of 6.85 million cast - with 98.3 percen t of the state's precincts 
> reporting). Bush beat Kerry in Florida by slight ly more than 300,000 
> votes.
> Obviously, many Floridians, including many middle class voters, who 
> voted f or Bush and Martinez also voted to raise the minimum wage.  
> Florida saw a s ignificant increase in turnout among low-income and 
> working class voters, a s well as African American and Latino voters, 
> in Florida -- thanks to a gra ssroots voter registration and GOTV 
> campaign by the coalition of liberal an d progressive groups -- but it 
> wasn't sufficient to beat Bush and (probably ) Martinez.
> Lessons?
> 1. Americans are NOT divided about the economy. Appeals for economic 
> justic e and improving the economic fortunes of the bottom half of the 
> economic la dder -- raising wages, expanding jobs, providing health 
> insurance for all -
> - resonate with many middle class voters. Had Kerry put more emphasis 
> on th ese issues, they might have trumped more divisive cultural 
> issues (abortion , gay marriage), the devastating war in Iraq, and 
> Karl Rove's successful ef fort to portray Kerry as a flip-flopping 
> ultra-liberal with a controversial
> military record.
> 2. Despite the significant increase in voter turnout among the 
> have-nots, t he overall turnout rate among poor, working class and 
> minority voters (in F lorida, Ohio, and other swing states) was still 
> much lower than it should a nd could be, especially when compared to 
> turnout rates among more affluent voters, including evangelicals 
> (whose churches did a great job of mobilizin g voters). There are no 
> quick fixes for this. Despite the incredibly good w ork of the 
> liberal-labor 527 groups, even more emphasis on voter registrati on 
> and GOTV is needed. Also, as more Hispanic immigrants become 
> naturalized , register to vote, and turn out to vote, the political 
> balance may shift i n some of the key swing states, including NM, 
> Ohio, Pennsylvania.
> That's all for now.
> Peter
> *********************************************
> Peter Dreier
> Dr. E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics
> Director, Urban & Environmental Policy Program
> Occidental College
> 1600 Campus Road
> Los Angeles, CA 90041
> Phone: (323) 259-2913
> FAX: (323) 259-2734
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