I support a $15 per hour living wage. However, our struggling communities deserve more. Ignoring the necessity of public assistance in the wage conversation would undermine our neighbors who need help most. Instead, I believe in a “dignified wage,” which is more comprehensive and ethical.

Many people rely on public assistance to survive. Whether it’s for food, housing, and/or Medicaid, they all require people to be under a certain income level to qualify. Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour doesn’t mean someone can suddenly afford the $1,500 per month premium to give their family health insurance, let alone the added costs of rent, food, etc.

Fighting for a dignified wage means supporting at least $15 an hour minimum wage, but ensuring that we expand Medicaid and other support systems so people aren’t punished for earning more.