State employees relieved, eager to get back to work after shutdown

The end of the government shutdown means thousands of state employees get to head back to work on Wednesday.

AUGUSTA (WGME) -- The end of the government shutdown means thousands of state employees get to head back to work on Wednesday.

Jonathan French enjoyed time with his son this Fourth of July, without worrying whether he'd see his next paycheck.

"It was just a big sigh of relief," said French, who works as a civil engineer for the Maine Department of Transportation. "We've got a mortgage. I've got a student loan payment."

"Relief," said Maryann Griffin, an employee of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. "That's probably the closest I can get to what I'm feeling."

Governor LePage signed a budget early Tuesday morning, ending the three day shutdown.

"What we know is there's language within the budget itself to make the employees whole," said Ramona Welton, president of the Maine State Employees Association. "We were in the middle of this, we weren't the cause of this."

Welton and others spent each day of the shutdown at the statehouse. She said their protests were heard near and far.

"The voters also saw the process break down, and before we have another full budget, we'll have an election," she said. "The entire legislature is up for re-election."

For now, those like French are just looking forward to clocking back in.

"Some people don't usually say that after a holiday, but there's so much work to be done for the citizens of the State of Maine," he said. "I am just happy to get back and serve the people."

The government will resume normal operations on Wednesday morning.

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