Durbin To Host Aurora Air Traffic Controller For President Trump's State Of The Union Address

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) will host Toby Hauck as his guest for President Donald Trump’s State of the Union Address.  Toby, an Aurora, Illinois, air traffic controller and Air Force veteran, was one of the more than 8,000 federal employees in Illinois who were impacted by President Trump’s 35-day government shutdown, the longest in U.S. history.  During the shutdown, Durbin met with Toby and air traffic controllers in Aurora and St. Louis, Missouri, to hear their concerns about the shutdown’s impact on their families and Americans’ safety. 

“Air traffic controllers have some of the most important and stressful jobs in America.  They have the awesome responsibility to safely direct our nation’s aircraft, and their service is often overlooked or taken for granted,” Durbin said.  “When President Trump made the irrational decision to shut down his own government for an unrealistic campaign promise, one of the many consequences was unnecessary stress and heartache in air traffic control towers across the country.  Federal employees – like Toby – never deserved to be punished and forced to work without pay while Washington squabbled over a political disagreement.  Simply put, President Trump’s shutdown was a kick in the gut to Toby Hauck and all of his fellow air traffic controllers.  Their stories and pleas to reopen the government in the name of public safety stopped this President from inflicting more damage to our country.  I’m honored to have him by my side at the State of the Union.”

During the shutdown, Durbin met with federal employees who were reeling as President Trump’s shutdown forced them to work without pay.  Durbin met with air traffic controllers in Aurora, Illinois, and St. Louis, Missouri, and federal correctional officers in Pekin, Illinois, and Marion, Illinois, to discuss the impact of the shutdown.  He also met with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees at O’Hare Airport in Chicago to hear how the shutdown affected their lives.  More than 1,600 TSA employees at O’Hare Airport and more than 400 TSA employees at Midway Airport worked without pay during the shutdown.  Durbin also met with employees of the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research – also known as the Peoria Ag Lab – to learn how the government shutdown was threatening critical research projects, including key antibiotic research.

Toby Hauck

Toby Hauck is an Air Force veteran and air traffic controller in Aurora, Illinois.  Toby’s father and grandfather served in the U.S. military and now his son and daughter-in-law are deployed overseas. Toby and his wife, a neonatal nurse, are looking after their two-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter during the ten-month deployment.  During the shutdown, Durbin told Toby’s story on the Senate floor.