Garamendi backs $10 minimum wage, extended unemployment benefits

By From page A6 | January 29, 2014

FAIRFIELD — Three people seek every available job in America, Rep. John Garamendi said Tuesday in calling for an extension of unemployment insurance benefits.

“A lot of Americans are living on the edge,” he said of other people who rely on Social Security.

Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, spoke during a telephone town hall that followed the president’s State of the Union address. Garamendi, who represents the 3rd Congressional District that includes Solano County, said during the teleforum that he wanted to focus on the president’s speech as well as the state of the congressional district.

“This has been a really good night for America,” Garamendi said of President Obama’s address. “I thought he gave an uplifting, positive speech.”

Garamendi took more than a dozen questions during the telephone town hall that through computer-generated phone calls contact about 50,000 constituents. Several people asked him about unemployment, including a woman who said it’s incredibly difficult to reach the state Employment Development Department or to find one of its offices.

“It’s a disgrace,” Garamendi said.

The congressman said that he’s been known to throw a tantrum after three minutes of waiting on the phone and getting a recorded announcement. He said the federal government is not responsible for the state employment agency and suggested the caller contact Gov. Jerry Brown’s office about getting a human being to answer the phone at the Employment Development Department.

Asked about President Obama’s support for raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour, Garamendi said he backs boosting the wage.

“It does give a working man or woman an opportunity to be out of poverty,” the congressman said.

A higher minimum wage also reduces welfare and reliance on food stamps, Garamendi said.

Garamendi, responding to a question about what’s being done increase water storage in Northern California, said he supports building the Sites Reservoir in Colusa and Glenn counties. He blasted a state proposal for twin tunnels to transport water and called the plan a $25 billion boondoggle.

“It is a crazy, stupid policy,” he said.

The congressman told a man who asked why Congress has different health insurance than what’s available to Americans that, “You’re wrong.”

Garamendi said his insurance is the same as anybody gets with the Affordable Care Act and spoke about buying health insurance through Kaiser Permanente.

“A lot of people assume, as you did, that we get something special,” the congressman said.

Garamendi said health care coverage in rural California is a serious problem and that if he were still insurance commissioner for California, he’d work to provide doctors for such regions.

A woman who spoke about her grandson on probation finding it hard to get work was advised by Garamendi to have him enroll in a community college to pick up more skills.

The congressman said early during the teleforum that “I love these town halls” but that they’re not a substitute for traditional, in-person meetings. A representative of the Telephone Town Hall Meeting company in Golden, Colo. has described the tele forums as “talk radio on the phone.”

Garamendi will offer 10 town halls around the 3rd Congressional District beginning Feb. 8 through the middle of March. They include:

  • 10 a.m. to noon Feb. 8 at the Solano County Board of Supervisors chamber, 675 Texas St., Fairfield.
  • 10 a.m. to noon Feb. 15 at the American Legion Hall, 1305 N. First St., Dixon.
  • 1 to 3 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Veterans Memorial Building, 610 St. Francis Way, Rio Vista.
  • 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Veterans Memorial Building, 549 Merchant St., Vacaville.

Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or [email protected]

Ryan McCarthy


Discussion | 7 comments

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  • The MisterJanuary 29, 2014 - 6:44 am

    Of course Garamendi backs increasing the minimum wage... because most union wage scales are tied exponentially to the minimum wage. So for instance, if minimum wage goes up 25 cents, union wages go up $2. Oh, guess who is a big campaign contributor and supporter of Garamendi? The unions. Who da thought?

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  • JBDragonJanuary 29, 2014 - 1:06 pm

    Yes, when minimum wage goes up, the union pay goes up automatically. We have a jobs issue, and it looks like all they want to do is everything to kill even more jobs. These are zero skill jobs a monkey could do that should be a job that pays to raise a family on. I remember me minimum wage of $3.35 a hour. High school kid working at a zero skill job! I've longed moved onto a job with far more pay and far more skill needed to do the job. Raising the pay does nothing in the end. Why, because now everything. Costs so much. Not only for those low pay jobs, but the union pay goes up, costs of everything goes up, and you're right back where you started less then a year later. The people that are actually now hurt are those making over minimum wage and not in a union. If you're making say $15 a hour, you didn't get a big jump in pay, but now everything costs more and so really you lost!! The end result after all this is even less jobs!!! When later costs get to high, it gets replaced. This happens in many industry's. You expect a fast food workerto make $10+ a hour! I mean really a living wage? Guess what, here comes Roboburger!! It's already being worked on. At some point in the future, you'll place your own order, the Robots will cook it up, and give it to you. No human involved. The only few people left and those to clean the place and stock the food, load into place. A crew of 20 is reduced to 3. Where are all the jobs now? Fleeing from over regulation, high taxes, and high labor costs. A free market which we haven't had in 100+ years would create jobs. More demand for labor, a shortage of labor means higher pay to get people to work for you.

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  • CD BrooksJanuary 29, 2014 - 3:05 pm

    JB Dragon, I agree 100%! I am "that liberal" that disagrees with raising the minimum wage. I am on record as suggesting it be returned to $5 an hr. Not popular but either is a $20 Big Mac. Although the whole "roboburger" sham is gaining steam, I don't believe it's a threat to anyone in the next century!

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  • Kyle JphnsonJanuary 29, 2014 - 1:49 pm

    The congressman won re-election with close to 60% of the district voting for him. Union households make up less than 10% of the electorate..you do the math. That dog won't hunt.

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  • The MisterJanuary 29, 2014 - 3:20 pm

    Really Kyle? I can't find anything from a Google search that supports your 10 percent of households include a union member. Any sources on that? Additionally, it's not so much union members who vote for Garamendi (but I'm sure it helps), but it's union money that funds Garamendi's campaign and media buys that influences voters, union or not, to vote for him. Your dog won't hunt 'cuz he's blind.

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  • Rich GiddensJanuary 29, 2014 - 7:05 am

    Garamendi is a hyper-partisan wrecker of the economy and our national security.

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  • patrickJanuary 29, 2014 - 1:36 pm

    I am a voter, perhaps it would be a good idea to raise the taxes on the liberals who want to spend my money. I assume they can afford it. they can also donate their own money as donations to good causes are usually tax deductible

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