When the president delivers his State of the Union address tonight, three NTEU members will be in the audience representing the hundreds of thousands of hardworking and dedicated federal employees who struggled due to the impacts of the 35-day government shutdown and now face the possibility of another one.
Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) is bringing Chante Copeland-Smith, vice president of Chapter 86 (IRS K Street, Washington, D.C.) and an individual tax advisory specialist at a Taxpayer Assistance Center who has worked at the IRS for 16 years.
“Chante has dedicated her life’s work to helping American taxpayers navigate the complex refund process and collect the money they rely on to make ends meet,” said Quigley, chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government. “The shutdown did not only impact her ability to perform her job, it is also directly affected her entire family, causing uncertainty and fear surrounding their own financial responsibilities.”
“The shutdown impacted me personally causing me not to be able to pay my freshman in college’s tuition and her classes to be dropped,” said Copeland-Smith. “I had to contact the University and begged them to reconsider because of the shutdown. I’ve had to haggle and make open ended arrangements with bill collectors and didn’t have gas to put in my car.”
Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) chose to bring Chapter 280 (EPA Headquarters) President Amer Al-Mudallal, a chemist at the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, Office of Pesticides Programs. Al-Mudallal, who was furloughed along with his wife during the shutdown, has worked at the EPA for 22 years.
“We all recognize the importance of border security, but I'm disappointed to see the suffering of federal employees and their families being used for political gain,” said Amer Al-Mudallal.
“I want to thank Amer and his wife for the sacrifices they’ve made, and I hope they know we will continue to work to protect federal employees,” said Connolly.
Chapter 97 (IRS Fresno Service Center) President Jason Sisk will be the guest of Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.). Sisk has served as an IRS customer service representative for more than 30 years.
“I am grateful to these representatives for using their ticket to draw attention to the plight of federal employees who suffered so much during the shutdown and whose commitment to the American people is unwavering as they face more uncertainty next week," said President Tony Reardon.