Tucson federal corrections officer reacts to President Trump’s speech on border wall, shutdown

Federal workers frustrated by shutdown

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - For one of the millions of federal employees who don’t know when his next paycheck will come, the President’s prime-time address was downright disappointing.

“The same political posturing continues to happen while the first of the month gets closer for me," said Richard Hernandez, a federal corrections officer at the Tucson prison complex on Wilmot Road.

Tucson News Now joined the Hernandez family as they streamed the address Tuesday night.

“I feel like the federal employees are the forgotten part of this shutdown" said Hernandez. “What I’m hearing at work is anger. As the first of the month draws closer and closer, we want to know how we are going to pay our bills.”

Hernandez has been a corrections officer for more than a decade. He is also the Vice President of Local 3955, the union representing more than 400 employees who work at this prison complex.

His family was quiet as the President talked about border security measures to keep drugs and dangerous individuals from crossing the border.

“We’re supervising these people he’s talking about," said Hernandez. "We’re in the prison supervising MS-13, supervising cartel members, supervising drug interdiction.”

The government shutdown has been frustrating for the whole family, now having to play close attention to finances just after the holiday season.

“All these decisions of how we are going to do financially because we have no for sure answer now,” said Hernandez’s wife, Leslie. “I listen to the other wives and its a very disappointing and frustrating time, to see them go through that because we know what they have done and see what they go through in their job.”

Hearing the Democrats demand to “separate the shutdown from arguments over border security” didn’t seem to hold strong for Hernandez.

He will believe it, when he sees it.

“It’s a good tag line, but really what I would like to hear - no matter what, this is how we are going to support you, this is how you are going to pay your bills next month," said Hernandez.

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