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Jane Raybould

Jane Raybould

Democratic lieutenant gubernatorial candidate Jane Raybould used Labor Day to promote the ballot initiative to raise the state’s minimum wage and set the stage for Monday night’s debate at the Nebraska State Fair.

“Right after this press conference, Chuck Hassebrook and I will be heading to Grand Island for Chuck’s first debate with our opponent Pete Ricketts,” she said. “It is especially meaningful that their first meeting will be on Labor Day given their very different views on a number of issues ... including their completely different view on Initiative 425.”

Ricketts, the Republican candidate for governor, opposes the ballot initiative to raise the state’s minimum wage to $9 an hour by 2016; Hassebrook, the democratic candidate, supports it.

"Nebraska voters have a critically important decision to make this November about their futures,” Raybould said. “Do you want a governor and a lieutenant governor who will fight for you, or do you want Pete Ricketts?”

Raybould was joined by state Sen. Danielle Conrad, who ran the initiative campaign, and a small group of supporters in the Capitol rotunda Monday afternoon to encourage support of Initiative 425.

Raybould said the Nebraska Legislature’s failure to pass minimum wage legislation demonstrates “the triumph of partisan politics over common sense.”

She noted that seven in 10 minimum wage workers are women and that raising the minimum wage would bring in an extra $300 a month, which she says goes a long way.

“I think we can all agree if you work 40 hours a week you should not have to rely on the government to afford food, rent or transportation,” she said.

Raybould is vice president of B&R Stores, a grocery chain that employs about 2,200 people. She said it makes good business sense to raise the minimum wage.

About 2.5 percent of B&R's employees make minimum wage, she said.

She said raising the minimum wage would be "impactful" to the bottom line, but when "all employees are in this together" less so than they had originally thought. 

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7226 or mreist@journalstar.com.

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Education reporter

Margaret Reist is a Lincoln native, the mom of three high school graduates now navigating college and an education junkie who covers students, teachers and policymakers inside and outside the K-12 classroom.

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