COLUMBIA - In just over a week, Republican incumbent Vicky Hartzler will mount a re-election bid for her sixth term in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Democratic challenger, Lindsey Simmons, hopes to spoil the party.

Hartzler has decidedly won the MO-4 Congressional District in the last four elections.

She hasn't been in a close race since she took the seat from Ike Skelton (D) in 2010.

In Congress, Hartzler has served on Committees for Agriculture and the Armed Forces.

Simmons studied law at Harvard University and has worked as a defense lawyer ever since.

Here's where the candidates stand on the election's most important topics:

COVID-19

Hartzler called for "common sense" solutions to the pandemic.

She disagrees with shutting down the economy to curb the virus.

She voted "no" on the Heroes Act, a stimulus package, on October 1, but it still passed through the House. The act hasn't been voted on by the Senate. 

"We had already spent $3 trillion on coronavirus relief," Hartzler said. "We should make sure the money is targeted where there are genuine needs."

The act would supply eligible taxpayers with an additional stimulus check and extend extra employment benefits.

Hartzler said she also wanted to see liability protections to keep businesses and schools away from COVID-19-related lawsuits.

Simmons said she wanted to see additional rounds of stimulus checks sent out to eligible taxpayers.

She said she would also fight for hazard pay for frontline workers.

Simmons also said she would try to get PPP loans to more small businesses.

"Truly small businesses, not businesses that are publicly traded and making tens of billions of dollars per year, in our community need our support," Simmons said.

Climate Change

Simmons said she believed ushering in green technologies to mid-Missouri would benefit the local economy.

"This is a real demand for green technology," Simmons said. "Someone is going to provide that supply and mid-Missouri should be at the forefront of that."

She says green jobs could bring high-paying jobs to the area.

Hartzler said she couldn't say whether climate change was a man-made phenomenon. She mentioned there had been fluctuations in climate over millennia.

This comes despite more than 97% of climate scientists agreeing that our rapidly changing climate is caused by human activity.

She supports an "all of the above" energy policy. This means using oil/biofuels, natural gas, wind and solar.

"I don't think it's helpful for the government to dictate what types of energy people should or should not be able to utilize," Hartzler said.

Police Reform

Hartzler says she does support some police reform, but said it is limited to increased training and accountability.

"We've seen examples, sadly, of some rogue, bad police officers that did things that were against their training," Hartzler said. "That is unacceptable."

She supports more body cameras and an online database of police offenders to hold officers accountable.

Simmons took a more broad approach to police reform.

She said she wants to end qualified immunity, which keeps officers from being held liable in civil court for injustices.

"We have to demilitarize the police," Simmons said. "Civilian police should not be using military grade weapons and equipment on civilian streets."

School Re-openings

Hartzler said she supported the return of students to in-person learning.

Simmons thought schools could continue bringing students back to classrooms, but would believes that return should include stronger resources for schools.

"We have schools that had to re-open in the midst of this pandemic without having appropriate PPE," Simmons said. "We have to make sure that every policy we are voting for puts our families first."

Agriculture

Commodity prices are low right now.

Hartzler said she has been talking with the U.S. Trade Ambassador to increase exports to help counteract the low prices.

Simmons said she wanted to remove tariffs on U.S. commodities.