Raise Up Massachusetts, the grass-roots coalition behind multiple ballot campaigns this election cycle, kicked off its statewide lobbying tour Saturday at Carney Academy in New Bedford.

It is an effort to build support to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and guarantee workers paid family and medical leave .

Anabel Santiago of Raise Up Massachusetts tells WBSM's Brian Thomas, despite what's perceived as a growing economy, people still need help.

"A lot of people here are still struggling, living pay check to pay check," said Santiago. "They're struggling to put food on the table and making tough decisions, like 'Should I pay the rent, or should I buy my medicine?'"

Santiago believes raising the minimum wage will mean less stress for individuals struggling to make ends meet.

"If we respect workers enough to give them the living wage then we take away the struggle that they're going through at home," she said. "They'll say 'okay, now I can better support my family.'"

With seven stops around the state already planned, representatives from the coalition's labor, civic and religious organizations hope to pitch state lawmakers and residents on the merits of both the $15 minimum wage and paid family and medical leave.

The coalition is pushing for the Legislature to approve bills for those proposals, rather than rely on a statewide ballot question in November.

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