Donna Kuzemchak, candidate for Alderman of Frederick City, Md., made a brief and important public statement Saturday, at the fountain outside City Hall.
"Good morning and thanks to everyone for coming out today. As most of you know, I'm Donna Kuzemchak (Donna K, as our signs say) and I'm a candidate for Frederick City Alderman. I have a message that is short and sweet, but nonetheless, a message I feel deserves immediate attention. We all know our Federal Government is not working right now. For the first time in 16 years, Washington has collectively decided to literally turn off its engine, shut its doors and hang up a "closed for business" sign. Our Federal officials have decided they'd rather come to a full stop than actually govern our nation. As a result, children with life threatening illnesses can't get treatment at the National Institute of Health. Frederick City History and Science teachers can't carry out lesson plans because NASA, National Park Services and Federal agencies are closed. Because of the shutdown, everyday citizens are being put out of work, losing pay, or working without pay! This situation is inexcusable, and it's causing great harm to the American people. What happens nationally affects what happens locally. Not just tomorrow or a week from now, TODAY. And this shutdown only highlights struggles many of our city residents are already facing. Nearly 15% of Frederick city citizens live near or below the federal poverty line. Of those, two out of three are women without husbands. Many of these poor women are single mothers with children. Nearly one in seven furloughed government worker is a resident of Maryland. Over 120,000 of our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and children are forced to stay home until Washington can get its act together. In our beloved City of Frederick, Fort Detrick faces intense pressure because they cannot keep all of their doors open. The point is, many of our neighbors are already hurting from the government shutdown. Not tomorrow, or a week from now. Today."
Kuzemchak went on to say "We can't solve national problems at the local level, and I'm not pretending that we can. But this is a real, teachable moment that shows us all we should and we must practice Democracy, not just speak about it. Today, our campaign pledges to commit a weekly contribution of non perishable items to the Frederick Community Action Agency Food Bank. We've asked everyone to join us. We do this because that is what Democracy is, working together for the common good."
The affects of the government shutdown on the local economy are starting to show, and some local businesses in Frederick County are offering those furloughed some freebies. Voltaggio's restaurant Family Meal is giving out free "furlough fitters" and over at the Flying Dog Brewery, furloughed workers are able to get a free tour of the brewery, along with beer samples, as long as they show a federal I.D.