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Minnesota leaders discuss COVID-19 impact

Jaclyn Harold
Created: May 21, 2020 07:11 PM

(ABC 6 News) - District congressional candidate Dan Feehan hosted a virtual round table with state leaders to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on small communities. 
 
The round table brought commissioners, mayors and school board members together to talk about the hardships they have seen in their communities, and what change would look like if they had the support from Washington.
 
"I've seen fortune 500 companies getting bailouts, professional basketball teams getting bailouts and help meanwhile it is our towns, cities, counties that are not getting the help they need," said Feehan.
 
The discussion started with Austin Mayor Tom Stiehm, who talked about testing issues in the community, and residents being ready to get back to their lives.
 
School board member Angie Hanson said as a teacher and a parent she is among many in education who are worried about what the future of learning looks like.
 
"I'm usually a planner, I think a lot of us are, and we have no idea what net year is going to look like," she said, and funding for education is a concern as well.
 
"With the big deficit the state's going through right now and how that's going to impact education funding," said Hanson.
 
Other issues detailed the importance of broadband in rural communities and the limited resources for students due to closures. Blue Earth County Commissioner Vance Stuehrenberg said students have had to go into town to the libraries that are closed and sit outside just to be able to complete assignments.
 
The discussion included leaders from all over Minnesota from Austin to Mankato and the communities in between. Though they shared different issues they all agreed that change is needed.
 
"The insight I got today was that towns, cities, and counties are incredibly challenged by COVID, and it appears none is fighting for them right now in Washington," said Feehan.
 
A solution was not discussed for the unique experiences each community leader shared about their town but Feehan said he's hoping to use this information to advocate for the people.

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