I will be counted, how about you?

To the editor:

As I write this letter, there are 167 days until Christmas. No doubt, a retailer might read this and immediately begin formulating a display to promote early, early, early “Black Friday” sales in August.

I mention all this to share with you another event that is fast approaching. The 2020 census will be upon us before two shakes of a lamb’s tail and we will be able to fulfill our Constitutional right and mandate to step forward to participate. I will be counted. How about you?

Hopefully, every person in the United States of America will be tallied and in so doing will help determine the reapportionment of members to our House of Representatives in Washington. While the census facilitates changes for the national government, it also helps determine state congressional and legislative district boundaries.

Another huge piece of the census pie to consider is how important it is for everyone to be counted. When many people choose to not be counted in a given region or across for instance a socio-economic demographic, then vital government funding is lost. Those particular regions and demographics feel the sting of less funding for important services. It is estimated that $675 billion is distributed in federal funds, grants, and support for state, counties, and cities. Six hundred and seventy-five billion … that’s billion with a ‘b’!

I will be counted. How about you?

Digging deeper into the important aspects of the census reveals a host of benefits that most of us take for granted. The census data supports:

1. Community initiatives like quality of life, consumer advocacy, and legislation.

2. Businesses and churches that use the information to determine new building locations.

3. Local government’s planning for public safety and emergency preparedness.

4. Real estate developers use the information to build new homes and revitalize aging neighborhoods.

You may hesitate to engage the census due to fears of privacy and your information being used without your consent. It is against the law for the Census Bureau to publicly release your responses in any way that would identify you specifically. The C.B. cannot share your census answers with any other government agency.

If you love your town, state, and country, we need you to participate in the 2020 census and be counted. We will have access to online census counting and it will be easy.

Lastly, maybe you are all on board with the census and understand its importance. Good! We need your help in making sure as many people as possible step forward to be counted. Ideas? Let us know. I will be counted. How about you?

For more information, go to www.census.gov.

Randy S. Hughes

Pastor, First United Methodist Church, Lewistown