Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick joined Gov. Dannel P. Malloy at a Jamaican bakery in Hartford Friday to tout minimum wage hikes in both Democrat-led states and rally support ahead of next month’s election.
Malloy a first-term Democrat, is facing a tight rematch against his 2010 Republican rival Tom Foley.
Patrick, also a Democrat, precedes a week of high-profile surrogates coming to Connecticut to stump for Malloy. Both President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton will travel to the state next week for Malloy. Meanwhile, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will appear with Foley next Friday.
Outside Scotts’ Jamaican Bakery, Malloy and Patrick focused on Democratic efforts to raise the minimum wage.
This year, lawmakers and Malloy passed a bill to raise Connecticut’s minimum wage to $10.10 by 2017. It followed legislation passed last year, which raised the wage 45 cents to $8.70 in January.
The January raise “was a shot in the arm for working families,” Malloy told a small crowd standing outside the bakery. “No person working in America for 35, 40 hours a week should be living in poverty.”
In June, Patrick signed a bill that will raise Massachusetts’ minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2017.
“This is not some academic thing,” Patrick said. “This is about what we do and can do and should do to help lift people, or rather, help people lift themselves. It’s a simple, straightforward act of good public policy and human decency.”
Asked about the Hartford event, Foley’s campaign issued a statement saying “Tom supports the minimum wage.” In March, Foley said he supports raising the federal minimum wage and said $10.10 an hour did not sound like an unreasonable rate. Foley said the wage should be multi-tiered. However, he said he did not support raising the state’s rate exclusively.
“I think we need to be careful about having a minimum wage in Connecticut that’s higher than other states because that drives jobs out of the state. That’s why I support a national minimum wage,” he said.
On Friday, Malloy said it was unreasonable to think Congress would pass legislation to raise the federal minimum wage, leaving the change up to individual states to enact.
While he was there, Malloy also praised the Hartford bakery known for its meat pies and dropped a not-so-subtle hint the owners were free to name a meat pie after him.
“Scotts’ Jamaican Bakery is a very important place in Hartford. I want to thank you for having us. I don’t know whether you ever named a meat pie after somebody but, you know, I’m just, you know—maybe something with corned beef in it or something like that,” he said.