Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) released the following statement announcing Dr. Michael Moradshahi, a second generation American and licensed psychologist who has served in the Department of Veteran Affairs and currently works in the Indian Health System (IHS) in Reno, as her guest to the State of the Union. Dr. Moradshahi was forced to work without pay during the Trump shutdown.
“It’s my honor to bring Dr. Michael Moradshahi as my guest to the State of the Union. He represents the over 3,000 federal employees in Nevada whose lives were thrown into chaos by the senseless government shutdown,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “When I met Dr. Moradshahi in Reno, he was reluctant to talk about the impact the shutdown would have on him and his family. His chief concern was that the Indian Health Center, where he works as a licensed psychologist supporting Nevadans, would have to turn away new patients and discharge current patients in the prolonged absence of federal funding. During the shutdown, he missed a paycheck, was forced to balance the financial concerns of his family and agonized over the medical needs of his patients. Yet this dedicated public servant continued to work for our community in the face of this severe strain and unfair financial burden on his family. I hope President Trump will take the opportunity to hear Dr. Moradshahi’s story as he gives his State of the Union address. He must understand that we have to work together to solve our nation’s challenges and never use Americans as political pawns.”
“I am honored to accept Senator Cortez Masto’s invitation to the State of the Union. Mental health touches us all in some way, as 1 in 5 Americans experience a mental illness at some point in their lifetime,” said Dr. Michael Moradshahi. “During the shutdown, my primary mission to provide mental health care for the most vulnerable Nevadans was negatively impacted as I had to spend valuable work time on daily operational impacts and long-term contingency planning – time that should have been spent with patients. Today, I use my voice as a citizen to advocate for those suffering from mental illness in Nevada and across the nation, who depend on our federal representatives to keep the government open so they can access needed services. I ask the President and Congress to keep these individuals in mind as they seek the common ground necessary to prevent future shutdowns. To Senator Cortez Masto and her staff: I am deeply grateful to you for being a great source of comfort and support to my family during an immensely stressful time.”
Dr. Michael Moradshahi is a licensed psychologist who provides mental health treatment in the Indian Health System in Reno. He was one of 24 federal workers and spouses who met with Senator Cortez Masto in Reno in early January to discuss the impacts of the government shutdown.