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Missouri’s congressional delegation takes questions in virtual town hall

Senators and Representatives from Missouri addressed viewer questions Thursday night during a COVID-19 Congressional Town Hall that aired on FOX 22.

U.S. Reps. Vicky Hartzler (R-Harrisonville) and Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-St. Elizabeth) participated in the live event as well as U.S. Senators Josh Hawley and Roy Blunt.

Questions ranged from what lawmakers are doing to protect Missouri's jobs to what summer will look like this year.

Hartzler answered a question about the future of the University of Missouri.

"They're going to have to look at restructuring, realignment and other steps the administration has taken pay cuts themselves, many of the staff members and faculty have been furloughed or have had pay cuts," Hartzler said.

Hawley responded to viewers asking what he is doing to protect businesses in Missouri.

"I've introduced a plan that would get people their jobs back right now. It would help businesses rehire every worker who has been laid off because of the coronavirus, it would protect the job of every worker in our state until this emergency is over," Hawley said.

With summer around the corner, many people may flock to the Lake of the Ozarks. Luetkemeyer spoke about what that could look like.

"Playing golf, boating on the lake laying around on the dock, that's a good thing to be able to do. Most of the time you're social distancing when you're doing that," he said. "Yeah, for Memorial Day, for the next few weeks it may be a little different than normal but I think by mid-summer we should be back to normal. "

Blunt spoke about a "Shark Tank" type of plan to tackle the COVID crisis.

"Vaccine, therapeutics and testing - all are part of the shark tank concept," Blunt said. "They're talking about a warp-speed view toward a vaccine."

The shark tank model is a proposal to create new technologies to produce the tens of millions of diagnostic tests. The measure includes a billion dollars for the National Institutes of Health to work with public and private sector partners to speed up the development of new technologies.

The members of Congress answered viewers' questions submitted ahead of time.

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ABC 17 News Team

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