When Republican Mike Pence stood in front of a crowd of conservative activists at the end of March, he left no question as to his views on a possible government shutdown.
“If liberals in the Senate would rather play political games and shut down the government instead of making a small down payment on fiscal discipline and reform,” he said to a crowd of mostly Tea Party activists, “ I say, ‘Shut it down!’”
Pence may want to rethink his stance. As a man who is widely believed to be planning a run for governor of Indiana, he risks alienating the almost 47,500 federal employees who work in his state — many of whom face unpaid leave if the government is shut down by squabbling politicians. Indiana ranks 23rd among states with the most federal employees, according to data provided to the Center for Public Integrity by the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents federal employees around the country.
At the same rally, Michelle Bachmann, a Tea Party favorite, brushed off the impact of a government shutdown, calling it instead a government “slowdown” because certain services—such as the issuing of Social Security checks—would continue. Bachmann’s district, the 6th congressional district of Minnesota, employs more than 4,200 federal workers, according to NTEU’s database.
Unsurprisingly, the congressional districts that are home to the most federal workers are Virginia’s 8th district, with almost 70,000 workers, followed closely by Maryland’s 5th and Virginia’s 11th—all suburbs of Washington, D.C. In fact, of the 13 congressional districts that house the most federal employees, all but two are in Virginia or Maryland. (The exceptions are the District of Columbia itself and the territory of Puerto Rico.)
The states with the highest number of federal employees are California, Virginia and Maryland.
Some notable districts:
- House Speaker John Boehner’s 8th Ohio district has just over 5,400 federal workers, putting it squarely in the middle in terms of federal employment.
- Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s 8th California district employs about 7,500 federal workers, 17th highest of California’s 53 districts.
- President Barack Obama’s home state of Illinois checks in at 9th on the list of states with the most federal employees. It is home to roughly 114,000 federal workers.
- Senate Majority leader Harry Reid’s home state of Nevada has almost 27,000 federal employees, far less than that of Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell. His state of Kentucky has almost 44,500 federal employees.
The data is based off 2009 Census data on federal worker numbers, and is broken down by Congressional district. You can download the database here.<<LINK WILL GO HERE>> Please note the data is missing Arizona, Arkansas, Rhode Island and Utah, along with protectorates and territories Guam, The American Virgin Islands, American Samoa and the Northern Marinas Islands.
Help support this work
Public Integrity doesn’t have paywalls and doesn’t accept advertising so that our investigative reporting can have the widest possible impact on addressing inequality in the U.S. Our work is possible thanks to support from people like you.