People who work hard and play by the rules should be able to earn a good living for themselves and their families. They should have the freedom to pursue the American Dream of home ownership, high-quality child care, affordable college or job training, and a safe and dignified retirement.

Indiana has the potential to deliver for hardworking families and small business owners. We have strong public schools and thriving career and technical education programs. We also have a large manufacturing sector, which is a source of good-paying, steady jobs. At about three percent, our unemployment rate is well below the national average.

But our economy isn’t working the way it should: too many people are stuck with low wages while costs keep rising. Working people have more than doubled our nation’s productivity in the last four decades, yet their wages have barely grown. At the same time, CEO pay has risen by more than 900 percent. This isn’t good for families, and it isn’t good for our economy. It’s not fair that Hoosier families are struggling to keep their heads above water. The minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 per hour for the past decade, which leaves families who work full-time, year-round living in poverty. Today, nearly 14 percent of families in our district have household incomes below the poverty line.

Working people who are underpaid cannot invest in their families, their neighborhoods, and or retrain for the jobs of the future. Hoosiers deserve a long overdue raise, access to training for in-demand careers, fair treatment on the job, help juggling work and family life, and a secure and dignified retirement. They also need the freedom to join together at work to speak up for their fair share. But for far too many, these basic protections have slipped out of reach.

The solutions to these problems are there, if we are ready to stand up for what’s fair. We need a new economic approach that helps working people and businesses, not just the one percent. We have to decide whether we are going to let special interests continue to manipulate the rules of our economy for their own short-term gain, or whether we’re going to invest in the future of our families and our nation.

Click here for more information on important steps we can take to move Indiana’s working families, our businesses, and our economy forward.