PUYALLUP, Wash. — Shirley Hingada of Puyallup is a furloughed federal employee who has not been to work since December 22. She is a management and program analyst with the Federal Aviation Administration.
"I've been with the FAA for thirty years. This is my career. This is my life," said Hingada. "This is getting a little worrisome. It's very stressful right now because I didn't receive any paycheck this week."
Paychecks did not arrive for nearly 13,000 federal employees in Washington state because the partial government shutdown.
"A lot of our controllers and technicians, they are working without pay. They are essential employees so they have to go to work," said Hingada. "I feel for them."
She decided to share her story by writing to U.S. Senator Patty Murray, explaining the sleepless nights worrying about expenses. On Wednesday, Hingada was surprised to see Senator Murray holding her picture outside the U.S. Capitol during a news conference.
Murray told the crowd, "People like Shirley, she is from my home state of Washington, she is a furloughed employee with the FAA. She shared her story with me through my website. She told me hers is a single-income family with monthly bills to pay."
"I was glad that Senator Murray was able to see my story," Hingada said. "There's hundreds and thousands of us out there with the same story. If there is no resolution by the end of this week, and it doesn't look like it, then I will not receive a paycheck again."
Her reality is that bills are piling up.
"I'm thinking about finding a part-time job to just help with the expenses," she said.
As the shutdown lingers, she says it is messing with the livelihood of thousands of people.
"We are dedicated federal employees. All we want to do is go back to work and get paid," said Hingada.