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story.lead_photo.caption Shea Wilson

The federal government closed and reopened in the span of a few days. During the shutdown, Democratic and Republican leaders blamed each other while constituents back home grew frustrated with both parties over gridlock. People who don’t normally make political posts on social media indicated they were fed up.

So, the impasse ended. Senate Democrats joined Republicans to end the government shutdown Monday, with a promise to move on immigration bills including support for undocumented people brought to the U.S. as children.

On the third day of the shutdown, the Senate voted 81-18 on a short-term continuing resolution to fund the government through Feb. 8, in part based on a promise from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to hold a debate over immigration measures soon.

During the shutdown, much discussion centered on federal officials not doing their jobs — or what was best for the country. As I watched discussions on television and social media posts, I wondered what people think our federal officials should be doing. So I asked: What is the most important expectation you have of Congressmen and Senators at the federal level?

A number of people from across South Arkansas — and a couple from beyond — replied. The expectations are simple, just basic stuff federal officials should be doing. When you read the comments, let the fact sink in that these things are not happening. Tax dollars are paying people in elected positions and they are not doing their jobs.

Here are the expectations for senators and representatives:

“To sit down and reason together with class, no blame, no name calling.”

“Principles above personalities.”

“Act and do in the best interests of our country, not party affiliation.”

“The most important one should not be an expectation but something so innate, that we shouldn’t have to double check our elected ones. We assume that the average person, such as a neighbor, will tell us the truth. But the standards in our society have dropped so low that we are seeing that ‘honesty’ is something we do have to check. Our politicians are wearing us down with their lies. Decades ago we could have called any number of politicians ‘mentors’, but sadly those days may never reappear. No longer is this a noble profession. The term ‘public servant’ has been drastically redefined. So, to answer your question HONESTLY, I no longer have any expectations. If I were forced to answer, I would like to see a president who has not sexually assaulted, or spoke about doing so. So, ‘morally decent’ would be my expectation’.”

“Honesty, Integrity, cut wasteful spending, make the U.S. citizens and economy priority No. 1.”

“Policies that benefit the common people instead of the rich. I won’t settle for anything else. ‘Not Trump’ ain’t enough. Also, I would love to see the DNC address the fraudulent 2016 primary and commit to transparency and a democratic process going forward. That would be the only way I’d ever vote democrat again. (I’m not hopeful).”

“I would want them to truly represent the people. Rich, poor, black, white, atheist, religious. Not make deals on issues their constituents feel are important because of something coming up or the next lobbyist lunch.”

“The shutdown was blamed on democrats because of the DACAs; that issue needs to be resolved like ASAP; now it’s pushed back and another shutdown could happen in three weeks; the president continues to speak out of both sides of his mouth; March is now when the DACAS may face deportation; that’s a big concern for me, personally; and I don’t agree with his wall either.”

“To quit taking campaign contributions from mega donors. That keeps them all crooked. Maybe see how they could rescind Citizen’s United. To be honest and loyal to country, not party.”

“Just act like adults!”

“Serve one term only.”

“My expectations of my members of Congress is that they will excuse every odious thing Trump says or does and enable his every lie in order to appease the fringe right-wingers who own the GOP. If I expected anything else, I’d just be out of luck, wouldn’t I?”

And there you have it. Fairly low expectations and they are not being met. Your tax dollars are paying for ineffective representation. These people are serving their interests, not yours. Don’t forget it; vote accordingly.

Shea Wilson is the former managing editor of the El Dorado News-Times. Email her at Follow her on Twitter @SheaWilson7.

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