"With the financial struggles we are having I can't see how anyone in Maine could get by on near or minimum wage. It's impossible" - Steve Husson
Steve is in his early 60s and lives with his family in Penobscot County. For years Steve had a good job, but the company he worked for moved offshore.
Now he works nights. His wife has a full time job too. They struggle to get by.
Steve and his wife were able to scrape by until last November when his son and his family couldn’t find work, became homeless and Steve and his wife took them in. Steve and his wife are raising a grandson and sometimes a granddaughter. Since last fall things have been really tight. The family fell behind on utility bills and sacrificed to pay for food and heating fuel. They are remortgaging their home that they had worked so hard to pay off to buy a car that can pass inspection so Steve can get to work. Into their sixties, Steve and his wife see no hope of retiring anytime soon.
For these reasons Steve believes we should increase the minimum wage and create more jobs that pay a decent wage. Steve recognizes that the economy is out of balance and there is something wrong when people who work so hard are still unable to get by and support their family during difficult times.
In Maine, even though the number of people employed grew from 2010 to 2013, the number of people who were employed, but still lived under poverty, grew much faster. For example, the number of people working full-time but living under poverty grew by 11%. The number of part-time workers living under poverty grew by 13%. Steve understands that we need to address these economic imbalances in order to reduce poverty.