Republican Georgia candidate says she 'does not support a livable wage' during election debate

Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff are running in a special election to fill vacant Congressional seat

Mythili Sampathkumar
New York
Wednesday 07 June 2017 22:13
Republican candidate Karen Handel: 'I do not support a living wage'

Karen Handel, the Republican candidate running in a special election in Georgia’s sixth district, has said during a televised debate that she does “not support a livable wage.”

The district is holding a special runoff election between Ms Handel and Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff to fill the seat left vacant when Republican Tom Price was appointed by Donald Trump to be the Secretary of Health and Human services.

The opponents were asked to comment on the minimum wage in Georgia, which is currently $5.15 per hour. According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Living Wage Calculator, people working 40 hours a week in the sixth district should make a minimum of $12.01 in order to not have “trouble making ends meet,” with Mr Ossoff saying that that is the exact problem many in the district face.

Mr Ossoff said the “minimum wage should be a living wage.”

“Look, if somebody’s working a 40-hour workweek, they deserve the kind of standard of living that Americans expect,” Mr Ossoff added.

Ms Handel said she does “not support a livable wage, what I support is making sure that we have an economy that is robust with low taxes and less regulations.”

She called it the “fundamental difference between a liberal and conservative.”

Ms Handel said small business would be most hurt if the government “impose[s] a higher minimum wage on them,” leaving them without the ability “to do what they do best: grow jobs and create good paying jobs”.

Mr Ossoff had said he wants an increased minimum wage plan to be “implemented at a pace” that gives small businesses time to “adjust their business plans”.

Voters are set to go to the polls on 20 June.

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