Senator Claire McCaskill speaks to business leaders, students in Columbia

Senator Claire McCaskill speaks to business leaders students in Columbia

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill spoke to business leaders and students in Columbia Friday about a variety of topics, including opioid abuse and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

The senator spoke with local business leaders at a lunch hosted by the Columbia Chamber of Commerce. It was a way for mid-Missouri leaders to find out how they'll be affected by some of the decisions happening in Washington D.C.

About 10 people asked the senator questions ranging from tax reform to the opioid epidemic. On opioids, something ABC 17 News has covered extensively and continues to cover, McCaskill said she's going to start going after sales and marketing techniques from big pharmaceutical companies that she said have misrepresented their products.

Some questions about transportation came up as well. McCaskill said they have to figure out a way to fund it within the next decade without tolls, especially in rural areas. 

Finally, leaders asked how the government plans to address falling sales tax growth. She said she and Senator Roy Blunt (R) have a bipartisan bill that they hope can address it. Chamber of Commerce president Matt McCormick said he were relieved to hear that federal legislators were working to make sure brick and mortar stores were not "discriminated" against.

The senator also took part of a student forum on the University of Missouri campus and addressed more than a dozen questions that leaned less on local business concerns. There were questions about DACA, climate change and net neutrality.

McCaskill said, to a round of applause, that there will be a vote to reverse net neutrality and she said they have every Democrat on board, but are working on recruiting Republicans. She also said "pulling the plug on NAFTA pulls the plug on rural Missouri."

The senator addressed opioid addiction and her probe into big pharmaceutical companies again at the student forum. Some members of Young Republicans told ABC 17 News after that they thought her stance on opioids was "interesting" because McCaskill received campaign contributions from Express Scripts.

She also addressed tax reform. She said the new policy relies on trickle down economics for a $1.5 billion deficit. She said trickle down economics "never happens."

In reference to DACA, the senator said she thinks they'll "hold the line" and she also said the higher education cuts proposed in Governor Eric Greiten's budget were "out of touch" and she hopes lawmakers will "stop kicking higher education in the teeth in Missouri."

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