Columbia rally calls on Rep. Vicky Hartzler to end shutdown

Wednesday, October 9, 2013 | 5:29 p.m. CDT; updated 8:34 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, October 9, 2013

COLUMBIA — If a solution to the government shutdown doesn't come soon, it isn't just Ken and Irene Livingston's Social Security checks that could stop coming. Without a solution, their federally-employed daughters' paychecks could stop, and their 10-month-old grandchild could feel the effects.

The Livingston family stood outside the Roger B. Wilson County Government Center on Wednesday afternoon holding red, white and blue signs.

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"The Radical Right is the Problem! Do your job — End the Shutdown!" Ken Livingston's sign read. Irene Livingston's displayed a similar message: "Vicky Hartzler — DO YOUR JOB! Call for a VOTE & END THE SHUTDOWN!"

They were among about 20 people who had gathered at a rally organized by Boone County Democratic Central Committee to send a message to Rep. Vicky Hartzler — "get back to work."

"To heck with a continuing resolution," Ken Livingston said. "We need a budget."

For Tom Pauley, a financial adviser, the effects of the shutdown are already real. His wife, an employee of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, hasn't been able to go back to work since the shutdown. His household has gone from two sources of income to one.

"These people work for a living," Pauley said of people like his wife. "And they actually work; they're not just running for re-election."

The government shutdown affects more than just personal finances. Agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency have been affected as well. This means people's health could be at stake, said Homer Page, retiree and chair of the Boone County Democratic Central Committee.

A salmonella outbreak has affected 18 states in recent months, according to The Associated Press. The CDC's capability to track the illness have been hampered by the shutdown. Page is concerned about the CDC's reduced ability to respond to disease outbreaks.

"I haven't eaten diseased food yet," Page said. "But I could, and you could."

Columbia City Council members Karl Skala and Barbara Hoppe made remarks at the rally, and both said city government will keep functioning during the shutdown. But that doesn't leave people unaffected, Skala said.

"They are affected. Maybe it doesn't seem that way since life is still going on, but it is going to get progressively worse," he said.

Page said while addressing the other rally participants that if a solution to the shutdown doesn't come soon, he'll be back.

"I hope I don't see you back here again," Page said.

Supervising editor is Allie Hinga.

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