President Barack Obama visited Central Connecticut State University in New Britain Wednesday and told the audience that "it's time to give America a raise."
The president chose to make a stop at the school to highlight his plan to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.
Wednesday's visit was Obama's first of the year to the state. He arrived in Connecticut around noon and left shortly before 4 P.M.
When Obama addressed the crowd at Detrick Gymnasium Wednesday afternoon, the president said average wages/incomes haven't gone up.
"This isn't about politics, it's about common sense," Obama said.
The president said people in the United States are working harder than ever to stay afloat and should not be in poverty if they are working hard.
"If you work 40 hours a week, you should not live in poverty here in Connecticut or other states," Obama said.
If the minimum wage was raised, it would impact 200,000 people in Connecticut. The average age of those people that would benefit from the increase is 35 years old.
Obama said the country can simply do better.
"There's some trends out there that have been battering the middle class," Obama said. "We've got to do better to build an economy for everyone."
During his speech, Obama said in America we believe in opportunity for all and that success shouldn't be determined by the circumstances of our birth.
Central premise of this country, is the chance to achieve your dreams if you work hard, take responsibility," Obama said.
The president also said he has a four-point agenda:
Getting more good jobs that pay good wages
Training more people to fill those good jobs
Guaranteeing every young person gets a world class education
Making sure if you are working hard, you get ahead
"No young person should be priced out of a higher education."
The president also stated that women should get equal pay and benefit.
Six states including Connecticut have passed laws to raise minimum wage since president asked them to do so one year ago.
"This country should pay a wage those folks can live on," Obama said.
Obama said that three in four Americans support raising minimum wage
"It's good for business and it's good for America," he said.
For anyone who was able to receive a ticket, the doors to Detrick Gymnasium opened at 11:30 a.m. Attendees were asked to arrive as early as possible.
"I got a blue ticket, and I think they're saying if you got a blue ticket you are good," said Michael Garvey, a CCSU student.
People who wanted to attend had to wait in line Tuesday and the number of free tickets available was limited.
In Connecticut, a Quinnipiac Poll released Tuesday showed that 71 percent of people polled support raising the state's minimum wage. Gov. Dannel Malloy has been a supporter of that and has pushed to raise it.
In addition to Malloy, the president was joined by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee and Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin. They went to lunch at Cafe Beauregard in New Britain.
After his visit in Connecticut, Obama attended a DNC event in Massachusetts.
The line at CCSU was hundreds of people deep filled. They were bundled up in bitterly cold temperatures and waiving their tickets from the White House.
CCSU Senior Ryan Begin said he was "a little freaked out" to see the president, but thinks it is "really nice."
"Well I work at Target, so it affects me directly," said Brandon Baron, who is the junior Vice President of the NAACP at CCSU "(I hope they) get this bill passed and raise the minimum wage."
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