The Associated Press
TRENTON, N.J. — The Democrat seeking to unseat Gov. Chris Christie has joined others in calling for a higher minimum wage in New Jersey.
Barbara Buono and her running mate Milly Silva were among several lawmakers, community activists and workers who spoke Monday at a news conference in Trenton organized by Working Families United for New Jersey's "Raise the Wage" campaign.
New Jersey voters will be asked in November to consider a constitutional amendment that would boost the minimum wage by $1 to $8.25 and link it to automatic annual adjustments to the Consumer Price Index.
Christie vetoed legislation that would have increased the wage by $1.25 and provide automatic yearly increases. He has offered to raise the wage by $1 per hour over three years instead.
Several speakers at the news conference condemned Christie's proposal. Citing high rents and increasing prices for food and other necessities, they said it is nearly impossible for those earning minimum wage to live in New Jersey.
"By vetoing the minimum wage, this governor has in essence vetoed the hopes and promises a better quality of life for a quarter of a million women in New Jersey," Buono said.
Regina Thompson-Jenkins, a Trenton resident whose son was fatally shot at a home while trying to protect two women who were with him, said many people in her community work two or even three jobs and still have trouble making ends meet.
"Poverty begets violence," Thompson-Jenkins said. "When children see their parents struggling, they become worried about their parents, and it affects them as well. ... We must raise the minimum wage."