Capito’s Clogged Minimum Wage Pipeline

It’s now been six months since a group of citizens delivered to Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito’s Martinsburg office a petition from 400 of Capito’s constituents, calling on her to meet to discuss raising the minimum wage from the current $7.25 an hour to $10.50 an hour.

The petition pointed out that adjusted for inflation since 1968, the federal minimum wage, now stagnant at $7.25 per hour, would be $10.67 per hour.

The petition called on Congresswoman Capito “to meet with us at a town meeting, at a convenient public space to discuss the legislative necessity of a $10.50 federal minimum wage for the working poor of our country who produce, serve and care for us each day.”

On July 9, Adam Tomlinson, Capito’s legislative director, sent an email saying that “Mrs. Capito has received your petition and is reviewing it.”

On July 15, Capito sent a letter saying she voted for the raise in 2007 to the current $7.25 an hour — but she ignored the call for a meeting.

Followup emails to Tomlinson went unanswered.

On July 29, a call was made to Capito’s Martinsburg office, asking why she hasn’t answered the 400 petitioners’ request for a meeting. Chris Strovel, of Capito’s Martinsburg office, said he will forward the message to Washington.

On August 5, a message was left for Strovel with the same request.

Others left similar messages. No answer.

Op-ed articles were published in the Charleston Gazette (August 6, 2013) and the Martinsburg Journal (July 28) calling on Capito to sit down and meet with her constituents to discuss raising the minimum wage.

Protesters appeared in front of her office calling on her to respond to the petition.

All to no avail.

Then on August 30, 2013, a group of citizens traveled to Mineral County, West Virginia to meet Capito at a Lincoln Day dinner at the American Legion in Keyser.

When asked about the petition to meet to discuss the minimum wage, Capito acknowledged that she was aware of the petition, but said that she hadn’t decided yet on whether to agree to a meeting.

Capito said that she wasn’t saying no to a meeting.

But she hadn’t decided yet.

Capito was asked — when might the 400 citizens who signed the petition hear from Capito on whether a meeting was possible?

At this point, Capito’s assistant interjects and says that it usually takes three months for these kinds of things to “get out of the pipeline.”

Three months — is that what it’s going to take — we asked Capito?

“Yes, maybe, three months,” she said.

Well, it’s now been six months since the petition was delivered to Capito’s office.

And still no answer.

Which raises the question.

What good is the right to petition for a redress of grievances if your Congresswoman never answers?

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