Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) is expected to add his voice Friday to those calling for an increase in the state’s minimum wage.
Gansler, who has said he will announce his 2014 candidacy for governor next month, plans to appear Friday in Gaithersburg with members of SEIU Local 500, a union that backs an increase in the next session of the Maryland legislature.
Maryland lawmakers rejected legislation last session that would have raised the state’s minimum wage to $10 by mid-2015 — significantly exceeding the $7.25 an hour mandated by federal law.
“Clearly the time has come to raise the minimum wage here in Maryland,” Gansler said in a statement. “While the economy shows signs of recovery, too many working families are struggling. We can and we must do better. Raising the minimum wage is one step we can take to strengthen the middle class.”
Gansler’s two Democratic primary rivals have previously announced support for raising Maryland’s minimum wage.
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Del. Heather R. Mizeur (D-Montgomery) was a co-sponsor of the bill that failed last session. And Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D) pledged during a campaign stop in June that he would make the issue a priority in the upcoming legislative session.
According to an advisory issued by Gansler’s campaign, he will be joined Friday by union members and a representative from the campaign of Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.).
Earlier this month, Delaney announced that he would draw upon personal funds to launch a campaign to raise the state’s minimum wage in next year’s legislative session.
Delaney said the campaign would involve a grass-roots component, digital ads and more traditional media, including television, as the start of the legislative session draws closer. He said he plans to hire a campaign director and retain a media firm.
“We look forward to standing with other Maryland political leaders — Democrats and Republicans, other elected officials and candidates for office from either party, including Lt. Gov. Brown and Del. Mizeur — in supporting this important project of ours,” Delaney said in a statement Friday.
In a speech this week, Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) called raising the minimum wage consistent with the work of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. An aide said he is considering whether to sponsor legislation in the upcoming session, which starts in January.
Gansler also voiced support Thursday for cutting the state’s corporate income tax to the same level as Virginia’s.