Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn received the endorsement today of Hollywood actor Martin Sheen, who credited his support to the governor’s push to increase the minimum wage.
Sheen, a long-time Democratic activist and workers’ rights advocate, praised Quinn who is in a tough political battle with wealthy Republican businessman Bruce Rauner.
Sheen wrote, “I’ve been an actor all my life — that’s what I do for a living. But activism is what I do to stay alive. Not that long ago, I was able to join Governor Quinn in Chicago to speak out about one of the most important issues facing our country today: raising the minimum wage.”
The star of “Apocalypse Now,” “The Departed,” and TV’s “The West Wing,” called Quinn “a friend” and said the governor has “always fought the good fight — and we’re in a real fight right now to raise the minimum wage in Illinois.”
Sheen’s statement continued urging readers and his fans to support Quinn by making an online donation:
“It was exactly 76 years ago today that President Roosevelt signed the country’s first minimum wage into law. It was 25 cents an hour. F.D.R. saw the minimum wage as one of the most important parts of the New Deal — second only to the creation of Social Security. But even then, there were people who fought it tooth and nail. It was F.D.R. himself who warned us not to let “calamity-howling” executives with an income of $1,000 a day claim that a wage of $11 a week would bankrupt all of American industry.”
Sheen, born of immigrant parents, changed his name from Ramón Antonio Gerardo Estévez.
“We still have some of those calamity-howling executives today, but F.D.R. was right to create the minimum wage and Governor Quinn is right to try and raise it,” Sheen said.
“For me, this is far less a political issue than a moral one. This is about doing what we know in our hearts is right. Governor Quinn is committed to getting the job done — let’s show that we’ve got his back.”
(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and columnist. He is managing editor of the Illinois News Network Online www.IllinoisNewsNetwork.com.)