“There are 800,000 of us sitting at home,” said DOD civilian Gregg Guthrie. Still, even after being sent home without pay, he didn’t just sit around and twiddle his thumbs.
“I got ticked,” said Guthrie.
After day one of the government shutdown came and went with no deal, Guthrie spent his second day of unemployment in front of the Walmart and Sam’s Club on Jefferson Avenue, at one of the busiest intersections in Newport News, with a sign made especially for this occasion.
“Furloughed. Over 20 years civil servant. Vote all incumbent politicians out of office. I’m handicapped and a veteran. Don’t try to give me money! Just vote.”
“I wanted to try to make a difference, and this is the only recourse I have,” said Guthrie.
The only recourse--after 20 years of working for the military, supporting special operations troops at home and overseas, then finding out he wasn't essential to the government he served.
“I get so tired of hearing, ‘they don’t do anything, government workers don’t do anything’...I’ve got news for you,” said Guthrie. “I volunteered to go to Iraq, I volunteered to go to Afghanistan…I know what I am worth, I know I am essential to those soldiers.”
So how was the response to his public protest from passing drivers?
“94% of people that went by gave me a thumbs-up, they even tried to give me money but I wouldn't accept it,” said Guthrie. “I just told them to vote, and they rolled down their windows, and said, ‘yes you are right, vote them all out.’”
As for our current leaders who are still at odds with each other…
“I hope they can learn their lesson about being honest, about being for the people, that’s what they are supposed to be there for, not against us,” said Guthrie.