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Maggie Hansford is a Prince William County speech teacher and a Democratic candidate for the Brentsville District seat on the Prince William Board of Supervisors

The government shutdown doesn’t just impact my family. It also impacts yours.  My husband is furloughed due to the shutdown and missed his paycheck this weekend. We are not alone. More than 30,000 families in Virginia are missing paychecks and more than 800,000 families are impacted nationwide. 

My brother is a border patrol agent working on the border of Arizona and Mexico. He and my sister-in-law, who is a customs agent, are both working without pay. 

My husband is an attorney for the Department of Justice. He is the main provider for our family. Every withheld paycheck requires our family to dig deeper into savings and rely on my income as a teacher in Prince William County, which unfortunately pays the lowest average teacher salary in Northern Virginia. 

We are a middle-class family. Fortunately, we do not live paycheck to paycheck, but we live close enough to be scared for our family’s financial future. We, like most federal employees, don’t have the luxury of waiting for eventual back pay. Our bills require prompt payment. 

Federal employees and their families are not asking for handouts. We want to work and be paid for our work. Playing partisan politics on the backs of hardworking federal employees is not the answer. 

Our president says he feels strongly about national security. Yet he allows FBI agents, border patrol agents, customs agents, prison guards, secret service, Coast Guard, DEA and ATF employees to all work without pay or stay home. For an administration that claims to support federal law-enforcement employees, they are being treated as if they are not essential to our nation’s security. 

Federal employees, contractors and their families have stopped spending. We aren’t supporting local businesses because of financial insecurity. My family is fortunate to have savings, but with no end to the shutdown in sight, we have stopped going out to eat, limited spending on groceries and are not making large purchases. My friend, Cher Muzyk, is also feeling the pinch. You may have seen her on the news recently. Her furloughed husband is also their family’s main income-earner. They have twins and are truly scared about the future if this shutdown continues. As families like ours limit spending, local businesses will feel the pinch.

For the sake of our local economy, I ask that we come together as a community and ask our elected officials, including our representatives and senators, to support federal employees and end this unnecessary shutdown. We must urge our elected officials to stop playing partisan games on the backs of our federal employees. 

While they dig in deep and play to their base, our community pays the price.  My congressman, Rep. Rob Wittman, continues to earn a salary. His staff continues to be paid. Yet, his office offers no solutions. This is disgraceful. Our community owes it to each other to come together and demand that the shutdown end immediately. Our community’s financial security depends upon it.

The writer is a Prince William County speech teacher and a Democratic candidate for the Brentsville District seat on the Prince William Board of Supervisors.

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(4) comments

jmathieu

Mrs. Hansford, let’s try to keep your personal politics out of your government paid position. All of us within government positions have sworn to uphold the constitution: "that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same". Your citing of PWC which unfortunately pays the lowest average teacher salary in Northern Virginia is by all means ma’am, a personal and family decision since you do have the freedom(s) to move about anywhere in our beloved United States and seek increased wages elsewhere, if justified and earned; however, our military cannot move about and pick and chose higher paying jobs while serving. I truly believe every citizen (a legally recognized subject or national of a state or commonwealth, either native or naturalized) feels strongly about our national security and law enforcement, yet many will still lock their doors to protect loved ones but sometimes place blame the very enforcers of our country’s laws which are designed to protect you, your family and our country. As a professional teacher and prospective candidate, whether Democratic, Republican or Independent for the Brentsville District seat on the PWC Board of Supervisors, I respectfully ask you directly this one question: In class every morning when our Pledge of Allegiance it played and recited, do you allow any of your students to turn their backs on our Flag, or do you allow them to leave the room? Finally ma’am, those federal law-enforcement employees reporting to work every day without pay keeping our nation’s security up and running, you are all are heroes and heroines for bearing true faith and allegiance to the same.

danny

As it's a shame that our two democrat Senators are getting paid. This is nothing but an anti POTUS piece. I'm sure glad she's not my children's Speech teacher. I'm hoping she's not bringing her politics into the workplace but I have a feeling she probably does.

Kevin Raymond

Mrs. Hansford provides an outstanding summary of the pains associated with furloughed federal employees. If the president had just a small understanding of the federal government, he would not have caused the shutdown. Not only are federal employees impacted by the shutdown, but the problems are reverberating throughout the nation. Agencies that provide safety to our borders and airlines are no longer fully staffed. Farmers and small businessmen cannot receive federally backed loans to continue to serve their communities, and some food pantries are running on empty. The proposed "border wall" was initially estimated to cost $25 billion - a total waste of taxpayer funds. If the president understood shovels, ladders and drones, he might have understood how easy it is to traverse the walls. And like, Israel, there are tunnels throughout the nation to provide protection for their citizens. The president appears not to understand the overwhelming mistake he has made, and it will take years of responsible management to fix all the things he has broken in trashing our economy and foreign affairs.

danny

Kevin, why don't you and Mrs. Hansford take some of illegals into your homes? I see you're really not a fan of POTUS are you? Do you know how much the children of these illegals are costing PWCS? You should really do some research. I hope that you and Mrs. Hansford who is nothing more than a partisan hack with an ax to grind, will take in these illegals into your home.

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