Stennis shutdown hits the 'small guy' in the wallet

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The government shutdown is already having an impact at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Hancock County. Workers there were sent home Tuesday, and people who normally do business at the space center found themselves out of luck. They say the government shutdown has hit them hard where it counts: their wallets.

Dan Fowler was supposed to do work at Stennis, but no one was there to let him in Tuesday. His company builds handicapped guard rails. Fowler drove more than 300 miles from Brantley, Alabama to install one on a new building at Stennis.

"It's a $500 trip. Every time I come down here, it costs me $500 minimum. And if I have to turn around and go back, I just wasted $500 that I don't have," said Fowler.

Fowler, as you might imagine, wasn't happy.

"The small guy is the one that's going to pay for this. That's who will pay for this shutdown will be the small guy. The guys sitting up there in Washington, it's not going to affect them. Truly, it's not. It's guys like me trying to make a living struggling every day. We're the ones that's going to pay for it."

When Fowler couldn't get in, he left. So did a delivery man trying to deliver bread to Stennis.

"I needed to deliver my product to the NEX and, apparently, I can't get through. So I'm not going to be able to make money there today," said truck driver Jim Herron.

There were clearly more cars leaving Stennis than going in. We talked with a Stennis employee who did not want to be identified.

"I'm kind of surprised that the government, everybody couldn't get their act together to get the problem solved and fixed before it came down to this," said the unidentified woman.

The worker said she's not sure right now how the shutdown will impact her pay check.

"They are going to charge my vacation, but when I run out of vacation, I might not get paid. I think if Congress had to go without their pay checks for a couple of weeks, they might understand how we feel."

When asked how long she thought the shutdown might last, she was hopeful.

"A day? Fingers crossed. I don't know. "

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