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MN governor candidate proposing a statewide $15 minimum wage

Her plan also calls for two years of free college.

The Fight for 15 now has a major backer in Minnesota: State auditor Rebecca Otto, who's one of the people vying to become our next governor.

On Thursday, Otto announced a plan to raise the statewide minimum wage to $15 an hour by the year 2023.

The DFLer is calling it the "15-5-2 Plan" – in other words, 15 bucks an hour, five years to phase it in, and two years of free college on top of all that. Here's her Facebook announcement:

This "visionary plan," Otto says, will "shift Minnesota to a high-wage, 21st Century economy, renewing communities across the state and opening the doors of opportunity to every Minnesotan."

If you're wondering how such an ambitious policy might work outside the Twin Cities – where wages tend to be higher than in outstate Minnesota – the campaign attempts to address this with a couple of key points.

First, the five year phase-in period, Otto says, would allow "further time for small businesses, nonprofits, and communities in Greater Minnesota to make a gradual adjustment suited to their competitive and operating needs."

According to the campaign, the "two years of college or vocational training" part of the plan would also help educate the workforce, and in turn provide "the skilled workers needed for the high-paying jobs Minnesota companies are struggling to fill right now."

Otto's announcement comes after a long and controversial fight in Minneapolis to raise the local minimum wage to $15 an hour – which you can read about by clicking here. 

'RenewMN'

Otto says "15-5-2" is "the innovative third piece of a 5-part vision for the state" called “RenewMN.”

She describes this overarching plan as consisting of "five interlocking puzzle pieces, presented in the shape of the state of Minnesota" – which you can see below.

The Democrat seems to be staggering the release of these puzzle pieces, so it's not yet clear what the last two portions might be.

Otto was first elected as state auditor in 2006, the first woman Democrat to do so, and she is also the only Democrat to have been reelected to the office, her bio says.

She's one of 17 gubernatorial candidates currently in the running for the job. Gov. Mark Dayton is not seeking re-election.

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