Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tim Walz spent Wednesday clarifying his stance on a $15 minimum wage hike, but in doing so seemed to only complicate his position on the issue.
Speaking alongside a cohort of Minnesota mayors, Walz called his previous support of a statewide $15 minimum wage “aspirational” in response to questions from reporters.
“That kind of short circuits the way I build coalitions. We have not had that general conversation. We have not built it together,” Walz stated. “What I do know is we do need to have it.”
While his campaign website clearly states that he and running mate Peggy Flanagan support a $15 minimum wage, he suggested on Wednesday that he is open to discussing it with business owners who oppose the idea.
“But we’ve also seen the passion of folks who say, ‘Hey, I want to do the right thing here but here’s the economics of my business.’ I think it’s irresponsible at this point in time not to bring them together and have that conversation of where we land,” Walz said, causing widespread confusion on social media.
On his website, Walz claims that he and Flanagan “will increase the Minnesota minimum wage to $15 an hour.”
“$15 an hour is not the answer for all of Minnesota’s woes, but it’s central to ensuring that Minnesotans can thrive. On this issue, we have to lead by example—everyone on the Walz Flanagan campaign is paid a living wage,” his website states.
Republican opponent Jeff Johnson criticized Walz for seemingly flip-flopping on the issue, accusing him of giving “yet another non answer.”
“His website states clearly that he and Peggy Flanagan would increase the statewide wage to $15—hurting our small businesses. But this isn’t the first time Tim has tried to muddy the waters on his radical policies. Tim has stated publicly something completely different than his actual policies on so many issues it’s hard to keep up,” Johnson wrote on Facebook, providing a list of issues that Walz has backtracked on.
In response, Walz tweeted later in the day that he does “support a $15 minimum wage” and “voted for a $15 minimum wage in Congress.”
I support a $15 minimum wage. I voted for a $15 minimum wage in Congress, and would be proud to sign it into law if it came to my desk as Governor.
— Tim Walz (@Tim_Walz) October 24, 2018
“My advocacy for a housing wage is directly tied to my support for a $15 minimum wage,” he added. “$15 is an important place to start, but in many places across Minnesota, that still isn’t enough for families to make ends meet.”
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