Ashdown on Minimum Wage
June 23, 2006
Brett Garner
Office: (801) 983-7383
Cell: (801) 573-4759

Ashdown Proposes Congressional-Minimum Wage Plan

Ties Any Congressional Pay Raise to Minimum Wage

SALT LAKE CITY, UT--Democratic US Senate nominee Pete Ashdown today released a
plan in response to the Senate's 7th straight failure to pass a minimum wage
increase.  Ashdown proposed that any raise in Congressional wages be tied to an
increase in the Federal minimum wage.  Ashdown assailed the "pure greed" and
"arrogance" in Utah's Republican Congressional Delegation, and praised
Representative Matheson for "exhibiting true courage" in standing up as the
lone voice against a new pay raise.

According to Ashdown's plan, any Congressional pay would amend the Fair Labor
Standards Act, raising the minimum wage by at least 25 cents an hour.  However,
Ashdown's proposal states that Congress can independently raise the minimum
wage any time, but only requires that it accompany Congressional pay raises. 
Ashdown, founder and President of Utah's first Internet service provider, cited
this proposal as part of his "Business Values" campaign, one that prioritizes
community needs over profit margins.  "When I hired my first employee, I paid
him $7 an hour; today the starting wage at XMission is $11 a hour, with
benefits."  Ashdown refuted the "flawed logic" that states small business
cannot survive a minimum wage increase.  "The debate over how this affects
business in America in my mind is not relevant, because most responsible
businesses already are paying employees well above the minimum wage and taking
care of their health care needs," Ashdown said.  "When a profitable business
does not, then they shrug their irresponsibility off to the American

Ashdown also decried his opponent's continued "arrogant indifference," ignoring
the majority of Utahns who want a minimum wage while "shoveling more and more
big-government debt onto our shoulders and our children's shoulders."  Senator
Hatch has voted several times to increase his Congressional pay, but has voted
nay to 10 different, specific proposals to increase the minimum wage in since
1989, including the 1996 raise to $5.15.  "It's time that Utahns put in
Washington someone who knows how to sacrifice their own wants for the greater
good of the nation."

Ashdown will speak be available for media inquiries Friday morning.  Ashdown
will speak to the AFL-CIO Endorsement Convention on Friday afternoon at
approximately 2:30.  For more information, visit