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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s time to start working together if the Kansas City metro wants to successfully make it through the pandemic, according to political consultants Jason Grill and Annie Pressley.

They join FOX4’s John Holt and Kansas City Star Editorial Board member Dave Helling on the latest episode of “4Star Politics to talk vaccination rates, budget shortfalls and unemployment issues that face leaders on both sides of the state line face.

“We definitely need our governors to start working together. I know they’re from different political parties,” Grill said. “You gotta hope that at some point politics are put aside and the states can work together.”

They say the division started last year with mixed messages over mask mandates from Gov. Kelly (D-Kan.) and Gov. Parson (R-Mo.) The confusion continued with the vaccine rollout. The message from state leaders has been that they are administering every dose of vaccine they get, there’s just not enough for everyone who wants a dose.

Missouri and Kansas are both in the lower 3rd when it comes to vaccination rates. One of the questions asked during this episode is if all states are having the same issues, why does it seem so much worse in Kansas and Missouri?

“We seem less ready than other states,” Dave Helling said. “It just seems like there’s something going on that we should know about.”

Pressley followed up saying, “I hate to think it’s just that we’re from flyover county and that we aren’t bold enough and brash enough to go after what we need.

They also discuss what needs to happen to fix the issues and if our lawmakers are doing everything possible in Washington, D.C. to make sure Kansas and Missouri are getting their equal share.

The struggle over a lack of vaccine mixed with COVID-related restrictions and economic issues caused by the pandemic is also causing massive headaches for metro cities.

Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Quinton Lucas delivered his state of the city address Wednesday. Over the past year, Lucas has asked departments to tighten their belts and work to cut a total of $60 million out of the city’s annual budget.

Our 4Star guests agree the budget issue is something that can’t be ignored, but Pressley believes vaccine distribution is a march larger problem.

“The budget issues are significant,” Pressley said. “If we can’t fill potholes, it’s pretty hard to design a brand new system that we’ve never tried to implement before and send it out to a bunch of people who are nervous, frightened, and in some cases, just downright scared to death.”

To combat that fear, Pressley and Grill said that Mayor Lucas must step up and help unify the community, in addition to everything else on his plate.

FOX4 and The Kansas City Star are partnering to bring you 4Star Politics, a special digital venture with new episodes released Wednesdays at 5 p.m.