Target: Florida Republican Representative C. W. Bill Young
Goal: Apologize for dismissing a low-wage constituent by telling him to “get a job.”
For someone who makes an estimated $174,000 each year, Republican Representative C. W. Bill Young doesn’t seem to harbor much sympathy for those in need. When a constituent approached him about increasing the minimum wage, Young repeatedly told him to “get a job” in response to his question. Tell this representative that he must issue a public apology for his hurtful and thoughtless words.
According to a recent report by The Fiscal Times, 4.4 million Americans are struggling to get by on minimum wage jobs. At $7.25 an hour, the federal minimum wage simply isn’t enough to cover many workers’ basic needs. According to MIT’s Living Wage Calculator, many low wage workers would need to make significantly more than the federal minimum wage to cover basic needs like shelter and health care expenses.
This disparity between the haves and have-nots was what inspired the constituent, believed to be Andrew “Pepe” Kovanis by the Daily News, to speak up. At a July 4th event, Kovanis asked Young if he would support legislation that would raise the minimum wage to $10 per hour, considered by many to be a living wage.
“How about getting a job?” the lawmaker asked in response, clearly sidestepping the question.
“I do have one,” Kovanis replied. The Daily News reported that he does indeed have a job, though it only pays $8.50 an hour.
“Well then, why do you want that benefit? Get a job,” the lawmaker finally said. He then proceeded to walk away, but the footage was captured by FLDemocracy2012.com, a local political news website in Florida.
No matter what your beliefs on the minimum wage, it’s difficult to understand how any politician could treat a voter in this manner. Nevertheless, Young is campaigning for a 22nd term in the U.S. House. By signing the petition below, you will tell this representative to treat low wage constituents with the dignity and respect they deserve.
Dear Representative Young,
It is disheartening to learn that you would treat a low wage constituent who asked if you’d support an increase in the minimum wage with such blatant disrespect. Repeatedly telling someone to “get a job” when he already has one is uncalled for and hurtful. There are countless people in this country struggling to find work or accepting low paying jobs simply to survive.
As someone who is relatively privileged in this society, it is shocking that you appear to be so out of touch with the needs of working class constituents. Those who are trapped in low wage work must be treated with dignity and understanding. As a lawmaker, it is your job to work with voters to solve issues like these.
It is imperative that you issue an apology for these offensive statements. Please commit to taking action immediately.
[Your Name Here]