DES MOINES - An event in the background of the debate is trying to work its way into the forefront. That's the fight for $15, as in minimum wage.
Hundreds of people walked off the job Thursday. All of it serving as a sign of solidarity about raising the minimum wage.
It's a message many of these protesters have trying to give for many years now.
"I believe $15 an hour to cover the basis: rent, transportation, health care and our children,” said Wiley King, a worker at Wendy’s in Des Moines.
Their fight for a higher minimum wage rate took them outside the Republican presidential candidate debate. As they walked the streets, they wanted the candidates to know that their votes have authority.
"And we deserve so much more. We can't even pay our basic needs in life,” said Simone Davis, a worker at a Des Moines McDonald’s. “We have to struggle from month to month, borrowing, getting loans and depending on the government. We shouldn't have to do that. We work too hard."
Hundreds of workers left work early to participate in these rallies throughout the day. Many traveled to Iowa's capitol because they believe the message has national weight.
"Just like we fought in LA and we know how important it is in LA. I know how important it is in Iowa,” said Anggie Godoy, a Los Angeles resident.
Last June, Godoy's county around Los Angeles passed a law to make $15 per hour the standard. She says it's made a big difference in her lifestyle.
"It's great,” she said. “I can actually go to college now."
They say raising the minimum wage won't hurt the rest of the economy either.
"No, I actually believe that the businesses will profit because if we have more money in our pocket, we're going to spend it,” said King.
And now, they say with thousands of others joining this cause, they think it's closer to reality than ever before.
"It makes you feel like it's possible, and it is possible,” said Godoy. “We've seen it in LA and in New York."
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