I founded Fedco Seeds, a garden and farm products cooperative. As an area businessman for 38 years, I support Bernie Sanders’ proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

When workers are underpaid, they bring their problems to work. Our work demands attention to detail. No one can concentrate when they are worrying about how to make ends meet. After a one-week probationary period, our starting wage is close to Bernie’s proposal.

When workers don’t get sick leave, they bring communicable diseases to work. Their illness not only hurts their own job performance, it also spreads to healthy workers. We have a paid health days program as Bernie advocates.

Ronald Reagan’s campaign slogan was “Morning in America.” But he ought to have called it “Mourning in America.” America tried his way the last 35 years. It didn’t work. It left working people poorer, shrank the middle class, and coagulated wealth in the hands of the few. Time to organize, not mourn. Enter Bernie.

Money is energy. When it circulates everyone is better off. When it stops, the economy freezes. When folks work for starvation wages, the economy contracts. Most don’t have the money to buy what they need. The well-off hoard their savings.

Rising wages release pent up demand. People spend more on local businesses. Merchants prosper and hire more people and circulate still more money. It’s called the multiplier effect.

When more money is spent in the community, tax revenues rise. That not only balances budgets, it also makes money available for our schools and colleges for the better training our workforce desperately needs.

Fifteen dollars an hour is not pie in the sky — it is what we need for a healthy economy. That’s a big reason I’m voting for Bernie Sanders at my March 6 caucus.

Paul N. Lawn

Waterville