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by Sarah J.F. Braley | August 18, 2010

In order to provide a way for the travel industry's 10 million employees to engage in the 2010 congressional elections, the U.S. Travel Association has launched the Virtual Travel Town Hall, where candidates will be asked to respond to industry-related questions. The effort is a response to the more than 400,000 travel industry jobs that have been lost since 2008 and numerous incidences that have affected the industry, such as the BP oil spill, the drop in corporate events during the recession and the H1N1 outbreak. "As Washington plays an increasingly active role in our business, it's critical that our employees play a more active role in Washington," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the US Travel Association. More than 150 congressional candidates have been invited to submit video or written answers to three questions to be chosen by travel industry employees. Questions can be submitted here through Aug. 25; voting on the top three takes place from Aug. 30 to Sept. 10. The questions then will be submitted to participating candidates by Sept. 13, with responses posted on Oct. 4.