PENN HILLS, Pa. (KDKA) – On Tuesday night, President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to Congress and other dignitaries in the house chamber.
Among them will be a federal worker from Pittsburgh who has a special invitation to be there.
The State of the Union address is the one occasion all parts of the federal government gather to hear the President.
It’s a big deal.
But when U.S. Sen. Bob Casey offered his one guest pass in the House Gallery to Monica Hughes of Penn Hills, she was hesitant, she told KDKA.
“Shocked, nerves right away,” Hughes said about her initial reluctance to attend. “Made me want to say, no, can’t do it. That was my first response — can’t do it.”
“And then after speaking with my significant other, we talked about it, and he said it’s something that you should do, and I decided that I’m going to go ahead and do it,” added Hughes.
Hughes, a U.S. Army reservist and TSA employee, worked more than a month without a paycheck, and is emblematic of thousands of Pennsylvania federal workers, Casey told KDKA.
“Because of the shutdown, she and her family had to draw upon her savings and apply for food stamps and accept donations,” said Casey. “If that doesn’t tell you how bad and wrong-headed this shutdown was, nothing could better indicate that.”
Hughes says the shutdown was tough.
“Utility bills go up this time of year. I live a good distance from the airport where I work so gas, fuel, costs money,” Hughes said. “So it took a toll.”
“She’s a good reason why we should never shut the government down. That’s the point,” says Casey.
Of course, President Trump has threatened to do just that on Feb. 15 if Congress doesn’t approve his wall with Mexico.
“Of course I want him to say he’s not going to shut the government down again,” Hughes said. “Definitely. I don’t want anyone to go through what we just went through.”
Hughes can’t predict what the President will say, but she’s one Pittsburgher who will hear his words up close and personal.