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Obama heaps more praise on Punch Pizza owner in weekly address


President Barack Obama once again lauded a Twin Cities pizza maker during his weekly address to the nation Saturday, part of his latest pitch to boost the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, the Star Tribune reports.

Soranno, who owns St. Paul-based Punch Pizza, caught the attention of Obama after he and his business partner, John Puckett, announced in December that they were raising the minimum wage at all of their eight Twin Cities locations to $10 per hour. Obama mentioned Punch Pizza in his State of the Union Address in January, which was attended by Sorrano and one of his employees.

In Saturday's address, Obama noted a letter he received a couple weeks ago from small business owner Yasmin Ibrahim, who was so inspired by Sorrano's actions that she decided to raise wages for her deli employees from $8 to $10 per hour by the end of the year. Ibrahim wrote that she was concerned about her employees' ability to survive on $8 an hour in New York City, where her business is based, the president noted.

“But here’s the thing – Yasmin isn’t just raising her employees’ wages because it’s the right thing to do," Obama said. "She’s doing it for the same reason John Soranno did. It makes good business sense.”

Ibrahim also plans on opening another deli this summer, Obama noted.

The president's latest push for an increase in the federal minimum wage comes about two weeks after Gov. Mark Dayton signed the state's $9.50 minimum wage into law.

CNN says House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) used his address Saturday defend the Republicans' record on small businesses and blamed Democrats for holding up legislation on the party's jobs bill.

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