To the Editor,

I am a career civil servant of over 27 years. I was supposed to retire on December 31, 2018. I have no idea what happened to my retirement paperwork because of the shutdown. So now I don't know if I am retired or not - either way, I have no paycheck to live on. The worst part is that I changed my medical insurance provider during the December Open Season and now I have no idea if I have insurance or not. I do not have a new insurance card, nor have I received any communication from my new provider. I fell and hit my head on the concrete two days ago after tripping over one of the two dogs I was walking. I did not seek medical treatment because I have no proof of insurance. I held a position of public trust as a government contracting officer. My elected leaders also hold positions of public trust. We all took oaths to perform our duties for our country. I performed my duties and I cannot understand why our elected officials do no honor their oaths and perform their duties to pass budgets so that the U S Government can operate! My message to our elected leaders is: "Either do the work that you were elected to do, or go home so that we can get someone to take your place and work for the US taxpayers!"

The inability of our elected leaders to compromise has led to the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. I am proud of my work as a federal employee in service to the country I love. Federal workers nationwide are forced to stay at home and wait for the government to reopen, and are no longer able to provide the services on which our fellow Americans rely.

Middle-class federal workers and their families are stretching their pennies until the shutdown is over. Even though pay will be restored eventually, bills still arrive on time even if paychecks don't, and many federal employees are being forced to make difficult and unnecessary financial decisions to make ends meet.

Our legislators in Congress and the president need to stop playing political games with our government's services and those who provide them. We are now in a crisis and our leaders must work to promptly reopen the government. We must call them to reach consensus immediately so committed federal employees across the nation and right here at home can get back to work for our country.

Sincerely,

Carla Brawley, Fort Worth