In an article written by John Cox, appearing in The Bakersfield Californian, he cited a variety of ways the nation’s shutdown is causing detrimental situations in Kern County.

Cox wrote in his lead that:

“The shutdown of the federal government is beginning to take a toll on individuals and businesses in Kern County.

“As the disruption entered its fourth week — Friday marked its 21st day, making it the longest stretch of unfunded federal operations in U.S. history — employees who either were forced to work without pay or were furloughed, reported sagging morale and mounting financial strains.”

Among those who have to work but aren’t receiving regular pay is Tehachapi resident Ryan Squires. An air traffic controller at Edwards Air Force Base, he expects to receive a paycheck next week for $28.15, far below the usual amount, because of the shutdown.

“The job’s already stressful,” he said. “But the added stress of not knowing how long I’ll be able to pay my mortgage and car … it’s demoralizing.”  He said he is considering selling his truck “as a first step” to protect his finances and that he may have to borrow from his retirement savings if the shutdown carries on much longer.

Squires and his wife, Kate, expect they will miss their planned vacation in Thailand this year because of the financial shortfall the shutdown has created. While he expects to be repaid for the money he is owed, Kate probably won’t be because of her status as a contract employee at Edwards NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center.

Kate Squires, a public affairs specialist, said she hasn’t worked since Christmas. On Friday, she filed for unemployment benefits.

She reported that most of the 1,200 people at the NASA Armstrong center are furloughed.  

“People are on pins and needles, nervous for what’s to come,” she said. “We’re all just watching the news anxiously and hoping that this ends soon.”

Yes, people throughout Antelope Valley and across the breadth of the nation are all hoping the shutdown ends soon. Why are the people we’ve elected to serve in Washington D.C., so stubbornly neglectful of their duties to aid Americans who have bills to pay and groceries to buy?

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