A long-distance connection | PostIndependent.com

A long-distance connection

RIFLE – Tuesday night Leslie Robinson of Rifle had a phone conversation about the Colorado Minimum Wage, Amendment 42.On the other end of the phone was former North Carolina Senator, John Edwards and about 250 voters around the state.Robinson participated in a statewide conference call that discussed the minimum-wage amendment with Edwards, who heads the Center of Poverty, Work and Opportunity at the University of North Carolina.Robinson’s goal was to help familiarize people in Garfield County with the Colorado Minimum Wage Amendment 42 that’s on the November ballot.”I just wanted to make available my home so that people who were interested in knowing more about the initiative could participate,” Robinson said. “I thought that it was important to raise awareness of the initiative.” Amendment 42 has Colorado residents voting on weather or not to raise the state’s current minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.85 an hour. Also, the amendment proposes to adjust the minimum wage annually for inflation because there has been no raise since November 1997.”It was very exciting talking to him live on the phone,” Robinson said. “He is very passionate about the subject.”Edwards has been traveling around the nation in support of raising the national minimum wage. His stop in Colorado was just part of the tour. Progress Now organized the event, which included 57 gatherings around the state. Bobby Clark, deputy director of Progress Now, ran the call from his Denver office. Edwards was on vacation in an undisclosed location, but still made time to answer some questions. “This is the first time that we’ve done a call like this. It went very well,” Clark said. “He is such a good speaker and very passionate about the issue.” Progress Now launched its Web site in October, 2005. According to the site, it’s mission is to provide a strong, credible voice in advancing progressive solutions to critical community problems. They maintain that they are simply a communications team for the entire progressive community.Clark feels that TV disconnects the people from the political issues and “takes the personal feel out of politics.” But the Internet presents an opportunity to get personal with them again, he said. “The Internet really presents an opportunity to have a personal feel with politicians today,” Clark said.Progress Now started by having people organizing gatherings where they would write letters in support of the issues, initiatives and ballot issues. It worked so well that the conference call seemed like a positive next step.”These gatherings are a way for us to reach out to voters who support the issues and make them feel like they are part of something bigger,” Clark said. Contact John Gardner: 945-8515, ext. 535jgardner@postindependent.com

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