This past week, Joe Garcia, candidate for Florida’s 26th Congressional District, brought attention to the need for a minimum wage increase for South Florida’s families. He also took that message directly to the doors of District 26 voters who, according to two new polls, strongly support the work he has done to move the community forward.
Earlier in the week, Joe Garcia took the Minimum Wage Challenge in order to bring attention to the difficulties that South Florida workers face every day on the state’s $8.05 minimum wage. To do this, Joe pledged to live on $17 per day to cover basic daily expenses like food, transportation and entertainment. On the second day of the challenge, Joe joined a South Dade resident on a trip to the grocery store to learn how she manages to get by on minimum wage.
The take away? It just isn’t enough. The $8.05 she makes per hour will not even cover the most basic needs of her household. After spending over $50 at the store, Careliz, who is a single mother to her 12-year-old daughter and 18 year old enlisted U.S. Airman son, could not afford to buy any hygienic products, cleaning products or fresh produce apart from three bananas. When asked by Joe what it would take for her to meet her household’s needs, she estimated it would take 10 more hours of overtime work just so she could afford the basics.
Joe Garcia highlighted the experience of Careliz because like so many other South Florida workers, she is forced to choose between working multiple jobs to get by or spending time raising her family. Even the help from her daughter’s free school breakfast and lunch is not enough to offset the costs of daily transportation, basic necessities and unexpected emergency expenses. Joe Garcia was firm on his call for a living wage of $15 an hour, so South Florida workers can have the resources they need to invest in their families.
Joe Garcia took to the airwaves to share the stories of people like Careliz with a series of TV and radio interviews about the Minimum Wage Challenge. Most notably, he appeared on Spanish language network shows Preparen Apunten Voten on America TeVé and Al Punto Florida on Univision.
Joe Garcia then took this message directly to the people of District 26 with a series of walks and phone banks. Joined by the volunteers of Team Joe, he walked Kendall and South Dade neighborhoods to talk about how investing in the working class not only benefits the workers, but also the small businesses who service them.
Friday night, Joe called voters to speak about his accomplishments on behalf of this community while he served them in Congress. He highlighted his successes of passing legislation that cut student loan rates to their lowest point in ten years, as well as winning federal dollars for local job training and stopping Republican attempts to strip millions of people of healthcare through Obamacare.
On Saturday, Joe Garcia stepped up his canvassing efforts alongside members of Team Joe, as they went door to door in neighborhoods across South Dade.
Also this week, two new polls revealed that Joe Garcia is leading in his Democratic primary contest by as much as 25 points. These new poll results show that his campaign is surging in momentum since an earlier poll reported him leading in his primary by 10 points. This larger lead reflects the success the Joe Garcia campaign has had in building a top notch team of grassroots volunteers who have been able to speak with voters about his accomplishments on behalf of this community.
To close the week, Joe first joined the members of Martin Memorial A.M.E. Church and Community Bible Baptist Church for their Sunday church services. Later, he joined the Friends of the Asian American Advisory Board for their annual dinner. During each event, Joe continued his ongoing dialogue with community members about how to best move forward on jobs, access to affordable education and healthcare, and on the environment.
“This week was about bringing the focus back to our community,” said Joe Garcia. “When I represented the people of District 26, we were the voice on important issues like college affordability, increasing funding for local job training, working towards an Obamacare that works for all Floridians, and on protecting our environment. And although I may have failed the Minimum Wage Challenge almost immediately, I am proud to bring light to the conditions families in our community struggle through and pledge to continue the fight for a $15 minimum wage.”