Senate Candidate Sharifah Hardie today announced her commitment to helping the working poor. The “working poor” is defined as people who spend 27 weeks or more per year in the labor force either working or looking for work but whose incomes still fall below the poverty level.
Ms. Hardie attributes the rise in the number of individuals who make up the working poor to several factors including the lack of a safety net in case of emergencies, inadequate training on financial literacy, the inability to access free education and free healthcare, as well as the inability to find jobs with a living wage.
“I earned $16.00 per hour when I was 16 years old working as the Office Manager for a company that installed the irrigation system for the 105 freeway,” says Senate Candidate Sharifah Hardie. “I am now 46. In 2023 the minimum wage is $15.50 an hour. We shouldn’t have to work two or three jobs to survive. That is just crazy. There is simply no other word for it.”
Ms. Hardie proposes free vocational training as an immediate solution. Without vocational trades individuals are unable to learn a skill they can utilize to get a better job or to start their own business. Although she does see traditional four-year college programs as a road to success there are also downsides to going down this path.
Many students who begin four-year college programs do not complete them, which translates into a whole lot of wasted time, wasted money, and burdensome student loan debt. Of those who do finish college, many will end up in dead-end jobs they could have had without a four-year degree and without incurring debt.
Stuck in these dead-end jobs, individuals interested in learning a new trade or bettering their lives must then attend a for-profit institution and once again take on more debt. Realizing the never-ending cycle they are stuck in, many people simply just give up and remain in their current financial state without any hope of change. Then when an emergency happens, or an illness occurs there is no safety net in place to protect them. Hospital bills can be overwhelming, medicine can be expensive or time off from work due to illness can bankrupt a family and leave them unhoused.
“Politicians are talking about helping the unhoused, treating mental illness, fighting global corruption, Social Security running out and preventing even more global warming,” says Sharifah Hardie. “All of these things are important. However, at the heart of all of these issues is people. It is time we truly start taking care of people and not just corporate profits!”
Ms. Hardie believes that free education and vocational training would allow the working poor the ability to start a new career or to launch a new business. Skills that are in high demand such as Medical Assistant, H.V.A.C. Technician, I.T., Paralegal, Web Developer, Financial Manager, Software Developer or Film Producer would be life-changing careers for many individuals. Administrative positions within these vocational training facilities would also create additional jobs.
Another solution Ms. Hardie proposes is to bring film and television production back to California. The film and television industry is one of California’s main tourist attractions. Individuals come from the around the globe to visit Hollywood and to be a part of the magic.
However, in recent years, film and television productions have fled California in favor of places with more lucrative tax incentives. Georgia, which doesn’t have a cap on its film and TV tax credit program, has been the most popular destination. Canada, Mexico, New Orleans, St. Louis, and smaller U.S. states have also recently seen an increase in production.
“We must create jobs with a living wage in California and take care of people. We must stop being a Profits-First Society and focus on being a For-The People Society,” says Sharifah Hardie. “Please join me in my efforts to create a better tomorrow for all of us.”
Supporters are encouraged to donate to Sharifah Hardie’s Senate Campaign at: https://www.SharifahHardieForSenate.com
Sharifah Hardie is available for interviews.