NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (WTNH/AP) — President Obama promoted raising the minimum wage and making sure women receive equal pay for equal work during a visit to Central Connecticut State University in New Britain Wednesday.
The president said raising the minimum wage is good for business and for the country. He proposes to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour in steps, but faces opposition to the idea on Capitol Hill.
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy has also proposed raising the state minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2017.
Obama congratulated Govs. Dannel Malloy of Connecticut, Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and Peter Shumlin of Vermont for “making sure that work pays.”
Speaking to a crowd that included CCSU students, the president said his administration is offering millions of students a chance to cap their student loan payments at 10 percent of their income, because “no young person should be priced out of a higher education.” He also said that nobody who works full time should have to raise a family in poverty.
“I think it makes sense to treat your employees the way you want them to treat you in the end,” said Chad Jacob, New Haven.
“I thought it was actually really cool he was here talking about minimum wage and raising it because that affects a lot us right now working while in college so it was really exciting to hear that from his point of view,” said Brittany Wasilewski, a student.
Pres. Obama, Gov. Dannel Malloy and others stopped for lunch at a New Britain cafe before the president spoke. The president, along with Malloy, Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, Gov. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, and Gov. Peter Shumlin of Vermont, ate at Café Beauregard on Main Street in New Britain. That restaurant was selected because it pays its workers above the minimum wage.
For the record, they ate a Korean beef sandwich.
Before eating, the president stopped at Courtside Cuts Barber Shop to shake hands.
From a pool report:
Gervais Barger of Plainville was seated in a chair at the Courtside Cuts Barber Shop on Main Street when he heard a commotion outside at lunchtime. “They started seeing the motorcade, and we came outside,” Barger said as he stood outside – still wearing a smock and without a coat on a cold day. Tracy Gonzalez, who said she works in the emergency room at New Britain Hospital, was inside the barbershop with her husband, Jose, when Obama came by to shake hands outside on his way to lunch.
“I was maybe 10 years old when President Reagan came to Miss Washington’s diner in the 1980s,” she said
From the restaurant, the group will travel the short distance to CCSU for the president’s speech.
Air Force One left Andrews Air Force Base around 11:15, and landed at Bradley International Airport shortly after noon. The president and other dignitaries will travel by motorcade to Central Connecticut State University in New Britain.
The president was greeted on the ground by Gov. Dannel Malloy, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, First Selectman James Hayden of East Granby, and the governors of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
Obama is scheduled to appear Wednesday at CCSU for an afternoon address. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who has been outspoken about his support for eventually increasing both the state and federal minimum wages to $10.10 an hour, is scheduled to be on hand for the public event.
CCSU announced Tuesday it was notified by the White House Advance Team that all available tickets for the general public had been distributed.
Students were urged to come to campus earlier than usual to avoid delays caused by heavier than normal traffic. Temporary road closures were possible.
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