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We have now set a record for the longest ever government shutdown. This is not an accomplishment to be proud of, for all the wrong reasons, and needs to end now.

Americans are overwhelmingly in favor of secure borders, both north and south. However, any discussion of border security must not be at the expense of keeping the federal government open and functioning.

It is not fair to hold government workers and the American people hostage. Government workers need their paychecks and the American people need the services that their government provides. Here in Flagstaff, there are hundreds of government workers at the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, the USGS and the military. By not providing these people with their paychecks, we will soon see a ripple effect on the economy.

Congress needs to work with their colleagues on both sides of the aisle to craft legislation that will reopen our government. Border security is a separate issue that has nothing to do with keeping the government running. Pass legislation and send it to the president. If he doesn't sign it, the shutdown is all on him. Override his veto if necessary. Congress needs to do this for the sake of our country.

JEFF GOULDEN

Flagstaff

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