Durbn Meets Aurora Air Traffic Controller, His Guest For President Trump's State Of The Union

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today met with Toby Hauck, who will be 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 work 10 hours-a-day for six days-a-week in one of the most stressful jobs in America.  Their work is critical to our collective safety as Americans, yet President Trump chose to punish them for his unrealistic campaign promise by forcing them to work without pay for 35 days,” Durbin said. “Toby Hauck was one of the many innocent victims of the President’s historic government shutdown, and I’m thankful for his work and willingness to let me share his story in the hopes it would convince the President to finally reopen the government.  I’m glad I can have Toby join me for tonight’s State of the Union address.”

“It’s an honor to be here representing my coworkers and members of the union in Illinois,” said Hauck. “We’re still recovering from the effects of the shutdown, and will be for a long time, and many of us are fearful of another shutdown. It’s important to have leaders such as Senator Durbin speaking on our behalf about the dangers of having another shutdown on the national airspace system.”

Photos of Senator Durbin’s meeting with Toby are available here.

B-roll of Senator Durbin’s meeting with Toby is available here.

During the shutdown, Durbin met with federal employees who were reeling as President Trump’s shutdown forced them to work without pay.  In addition to meeting with air traffic controllers in Aurora, Illinois, and St. Louis, Missouri, Durbin met with 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 Aurora air traffic controller.  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.