By Jessica Mathews /

A virtual TV Town Hall event Wednesday evening featured Congressional leaders representing all corners of the state.

8th District Democrat Elissa Slotkin was among those taking part in the event that was televised on various stations. It was stated Michigan like many other states is facing numerous hardships and battling a once in a lifetime pandemic that has claimed the lives of thousands of Michiganders. In addition to the COVID-19 crisis being covered, members of Congress weighed in on violent riots and protests taking place in communities across the state in the wake of the death of George Floyd, who is black, and died while in police custody in Minneapolis. The white officer has been charged with murder and three others at the scene of the crime have also been charged.

Among the questions posed during the TV Town Hall was what strategies are being proposed at the federal level to combat police brutality and what could or should Congress do in the wake of unrest. Slotkin, who said she’s been having conversations as part of the bi-partisan House Problem Solvers Caucus, didn’t think anyone could watch the video without feeling exhausted and furious at what happened – stressing it’s really moment where everyone needs to face these long term inequalities. Slotkin said they are looking at reforms at the national level particularly for police officers. Slotkin added that they were briefed by members of the Congressional Black Caucus on ideas related to looking at some of the police who stood by and watched the Floyd incident and some of the responsibilities officers have when there are bad apples who are not obeying the spirit or letter of the law. Slotkin said pieces of legislation are being worked on now that she hopes can be done in a bi-partisan way, adding she thinks that’s what the country wants and needs that right now. Other members of Congress who weighed in agreed that America needs to come together now more than ever to enact real change.

Another question posed was related to the state budget and the likelihood that the federal government would provide financial assistance toward public education. Slotkin stated that Congress has voted on four big appropriation bills since the pandemic started. In that time, she said she has heard from mayors and state officials that one of the big things they need to do is cover down on lost revenues due to the pandemic. She asserted that in order to pay the base operating budget for teachers, police, fire, first responders, public health officials and those on the front lines of the crisis; they need to help the state with some basic covering of lost revenue. Slotkin said some lawmakers voted a couple of weeks ago in hopes of starting conversations and she still hopes to continue the conversation with the Senate. Slotkin said she considers herself to be fiscally responsible and the federal government can’t pay for everything but they have to be able to have the conversation and hopefully it’s something they’ll take up as a combined bicameral measure.

Other members of Congress commented that the national crisis requires a national response as well as the need to take care of those on the front lines. It was stated that COVID-19 is still present, people need to practice important health measures and as things re-open, people need to work together.