Campaign 2014 Democratic Referenda Items - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Campaign 2014 Democratic Referenda Items

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Texas Democrats are pushing for change in the form of four referenda items. The items include immigration reform, increasing the minimum wage, expanding medicaid and non-discrimination legislation.  John Richie is of the Wichita County Democrats said all four issues need to be addressed, especially immigration reform.
 
"We have 11-million people who could be in the tax roles, if nothing else.  Along with the idea that they would like to quit looking over their shoulder.  They are functioning members of society, so its time we brought those people out of the shadows and let them have a shot at the American dream," said Richie.
 
Currently, Texas follows the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.  Richie believes that a minimum wage should be a livable wage.  Texas democrats are calling for the minimum wage to increase to $10.10 an hour.

"It does not meet the $10.77 an hour that inflation would obviously be paid for, but it does certainly narrow the deficit and were certainly wanting that if nothing else.  If we can do that from a federal level, maybe put some pressure on state folks to do that as well," said Richie.

Democrats are also calling for an expansion of Medicaid.  The referendum is calling for the governor and the Texas Legislature to accept federal funds, as provided in the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act 2010.  Richie said that million of Texans could benefit.

"We have people that are caught in the gap.  They are not going to be able to find a way to get covered by either medicare, medicaid or may have difficulties getting into the federal exchange.  We've got to bring these people in and help them.  They deserve insurance just like everybody else does, whether you supported that health care incentive or not it's unfair," said Richie.
 
The last referenda item asks for congress and the Texas Legislature to adopt legislation that expands protections against discriminations in employment, housing, and public accommodations based upon sexual orientation and gender identity.  Richie said we need to push for laws that bring all of society together instead of pushing for laws that could further divide.

"Then how can we call ourselves a democratic society if you can't have equality for all," said Richie.

Early voter turnout numbers in Wichita County were lower than expected for both republicans and democrats.  Richie said that many voters have party identification issues and are unwilling to commit to a party this early.  All democrats in Wichita County are running uncontested with no primary to vote Richie said it's hard to get an idea of what democratic numbers are here.

Jack Carney, Newschannel 6