FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 16th, 2015
Carlos Guillermo Smith
Carlos Guillermo Smith FAILS Minimum Wage Challenge Attempt
Declares impossible choice between important medication OR food on the table
Orlando, FL - Carlos Guillermo Smith, Democratic candidate for Florida House District 49 took to social media late Thursday to announce his inability to successfully complete the “Minimum Wage Challenge”. The “Minimum Wage Challenge,” launched September 28 in partnership with SEIU Florida and the Florida Fight for $15, as an initiative where public figures and community leaders pledge to live on Florida’s minimum wage for one week to demonstrate how incredibly difficult it is to survive on $8.05 per hour.
After living for only 4 days on an $85 weekly budget, Smith found himself unable to continue the challenge when faced with the need to settle a $60 copay for an important prescription refill.
Smith offered the following remarks:
“Being unable to afford high out-of-pocket costs for ‘specialty-drug’ prescriptions while living on minimum wage, helped me realize the impossible choices low-wage workers in Florida have to make every single day. The choice of whether to take the medication they need to stay healthy, or put food on the table for themselves or their families. Now, my resolve to stand with those working families in calling for a fair living wage in Florida has never been stronger. ”
“I needed this medication. After recently discovering that I had ‘acquired hypothyroidism’, Tirosint-- a ‘specialty’ or ‘non-preferred’ drug-- is what keeps my thyroid gland in check, my TSH levels under control, and my symptoms manageable. By making this prescription payment, and far exceeding my $85 budget, I failed the challenge. But in doing so, I’ve learned that $8.05/hour is a starvation wage. 25% of Central Florida workers make $20,220 a year or less. That has to change. Having a full-time job and working 40 hours per week should not be what keeps so many working families in poverty.”
A graduate of the University of Central Florida, Carlos Guillermo Smith is a proven fighter for our community's working families and students. His platform of job creation, fully funded public education, and social and economic justice reflects the values of everyday working Floridians. Carlos previously served the constituents of House District 49 as the legislative assistant to former Representative Joe Saunders and was twice elected Chairman of the Orange County Democratic Party, which he resigned from in 2015 to run for the legislature. He currently is part of Equality Florida's public policy division where he manages governmental affairs.
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