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Local residents expect both sides to compromise to achieve state budget

WILLMAR -- After 35 years working for the state of Minnesota at the Community Addiction Recovery Enterprise, Wayne Hillenbrand had to turn in his keys Thursday.

"It's kind of heartbreaking to turn them in," Hillenbrand said. "You almost feel like it's a permanent feeling."

The maintenance worker from Willmar is one of thousands of Minnesota state employees that are jobless today as a result of the state shutdown. DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and the GOP-controlled Legislature failed to reach agreement on a new state budget.

Hillenbrand said one of the parties is going to have to give a little on demands and he expects them to stay at the Capitol in St. Paul and work out the issues despite any holidays or weekend.

"I just got pushed out the door and am not collecting a check, and they shouldn't either," he said. "I don't care how much they don't like each other, they need to stay there until they are done."

Darlene Loven of Paynesville was filling up at the Cub Foods gas station Friday afternoon when she echoed Hillenbrand and called the legislator "selfish."

"I think everybody has to give a little bit and government is all about compromise and I don't think anybody does at this time," Loven said. "I think they just want to make a name for themselves instead of wanting to do good for the public."

Loven said she has written emails to the area legislators but hasn't heard back from them. She thinks, like herself, people speak with legislators all the time but doesn't think they listen.

"I think people who work with our tax money should listen to us," she said.

As a result of the shutdown, Loven said she watched the construction workers building the Highway 23 bypass around Paynesville pack up and leave.

Doris Cogelow of Willmar had hopes that the budget issue would have been solved.

"I just felt they were going to be able to come together," Cogelow said.

She believes the two parties have been working hard and negotiating but would like to see the end-result.

"We have people paid to do this and we expect them to do it," she said.

A public health nurse, Cogelow said she has received notices from several health agencies that are no longer staffed as a result of the shutdown.

In the end, Loven said the issue comes down to compromising, which the people of Minnesota deal with everyday and she wonders why the government can't.

"We have to compromise on everything, in married life we have to compromise," Loven said. "Compromise is just part of our lives and nobody is willing to do that."