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One of the most contentious elections in recent memory is behind us. While the ultimate result of the presidential election is still being determined, the people of Missouri spoke definitively. Missourians continued to back commonsense and measured leadership here in our state.

The approval of Amendment 3 marked an important step in preventing increased partisanship and political maneuvering in Missouri. It corrected the unprecedented change to our redistricting process that was wrapped up in the so-called "Clean Missouri" amendment passed in 2018. The opponents of Amendment 3 spent millions of dollars from outstate interests, reportedly outspending the people fighting for our traditional system by a rate of 150 to 1. And yet, common sense and grassroots efforts won the day. Amendment 3 will ensure our districts are drawn fairly and will keep our communities together.

Now is the time to put the acrimony and discord of the past year behind us. The challenges we faced Nov. 3 are the same challenges we face now. COVID-19 continues to present a major test to our society's health and economic prosperity. We must continue to fight to protect the lives of our residents and to recover from the economic hardship the coronavirus has wrought on working families here in Missouri.

The Legislature is back to work in extra session, hammering out a supplemental budget that will disperse the CARES Act funds Missouri has received since the end of the 2020 legislative session. The proposed budget bill includes millions of dollars to reimburse our local schools for costs associated with keeping our children safe and healthy. The bill also provides funds to community and public health offices for emergency COVID response efforts, as well as all state agencies working to combat the ongoing issues presented by the coronavirus. Also, there are state funds set aside for the newly created witness protection program here in Missouri.

In addition to the money going to combat the coronavirus, the proposed budget will provide funds to the Department of Labor to help fund our Disaster Unemployment Assistance program, as well as the Department of Social Services Emergency Solutions Grant Program. Also, money is being provided to assist in job training programs, as well as funds for community development block grants. These efforts will help our communities weather the ongoing economic disruption we've suffered under COVID-19.

This year has been rough, there's no way around that. The elections were at best heated and at worst vitriolic. It can be hard to forget things that were said and done. However, we are still one nation, and we have to move forward together. We still have hurdles to clear and jobs to do. The people of this country, whatever their political persuasion, basically want the same things. I truly believe that. We want safety, prosperity and liberty. No matter how divided we are politically, we are united in our ideals.

State Sen. Mike Bernskoetter, R-Jefferson City, represents Missouri's 6th District and shares his perspective on statehouse issues twice a month.

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