ORLANDO, Fla. — When President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to Congress on Tuesday, one Orlando International Airport worker will be there.
- Orlando FAA worker to attend State of the Union in Washington
- He's been invited by US District 9 Rep. Darren Soto of Osceola County
- Worker says he hopes to underscore hardships that shutdown created
Doug Lowe, an FAA safety inspector, has been invited to attend as a guest of U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, whose 9th District includes Osceola County and parts of southern Orange County.
As a Federal Aviation Administration employee, he's is also the chapter president of the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists. He was considered an essential worker during the partial government shutdown, so he had to work without pay to make sure runways at the airport were up and running.
Lowe says he's just now beginning to get some of the pay he went without for more than a month during the shutdown. Now, he worries it could happen again in just two weeks, since the reopening of the government was for a three-week period.
"All of us are on eggshells. All of us are nervous of another shutdown," Lowe said Friday. "The morale is still in the dirt."
Meanwhile, Lowe will be headed to Washington to hear the address in Congress.
"It’s going to be amazing to be there in the crowd and be surrounded by our nation's leaders, and hopefully have some sort of sliver of an influence on preventing another shutdown," Lowe said.
He also hopes to send a clear message to the president and congressional leaders.
"We're real people that are really being affected by this, and at no fault of our own have we been thrust into a financial burden," Lowe said. "So I hope when I talk about these things, they'll have some compassion and that they'll really try to find common ground."
Before heading to Washington, Lowe plans to take part in a town hall in Orlando on Saturday where union leaders, federal workers, and elected officials will discuss changes that could lessen the impact on the aviation industry if another shutdown happens.
Then, "hopefully on Tuesday, they can lay some kind of groundwork to show a path forward," Lowe said.