Today, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai"i) released the following statement following President Obama's annual State of the Union speech to a joint session of Congress.
"Tonight, we heard a real commitment from President Obama to reversing income inequality. Helping those who are stretched thin is even more important in Hawai"i, where so many of our families struggle with the high cost of living. People who work hard and play by the rules should be able to get ahead.
"I've been working with a group of my colleagues, including Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders to urge President Obama to use his authority to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for federal contract workers. I was glad he answered that call tonight. We need to do more on this issue, and raise the minimum wage for all workers. That's why I'm pushing legislation in the Senate to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for all workers.
"There is a real wage gap for too many workers. And in Hawai"i, women still make 83 cents for every dollar a man makes. That's unacceptable. We need to strengthen our laws to ensure equal pay for equal work.
"I was glad the President also focused on seniors and retirement security. It's important to make sure our seniors can retire with security, and with dignity. That's why I'm supporting legislation to increase Social Security benefits by about $65 a month for the average senior in Hawai"i. Every generation needs to have opportunities for upward mobility and security.
"I applaud the President's renewed call for action on climate change. Hawai"i is a leader on clean energy, and I am bringing our lessons learned to Washington, DC. We've formed a Climate Change Task Force in the Senate and we intend to be a real partner for President Obama in these efforts to support a clean energy economy.
"Tonight, our president laid out an agenda that will help to give families across Hawai"i the opportunities they need to achieve greater economic security, and I plan on working with him to make these goals a reality."