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Census specialist explains importance of upcoming survey

The Inter-Mountain photo by Haley Gordon Randolph County Commissioner Mark Scott, left, and U.S. Census Partnership Specialist Carol Cain Bush speak with Elkins Rotarians about the importance of participating in the 2020 census.

ELKINS — U.S. Census Partnership Specialist Carol Cain Bush met with the Elkins Rotary Clubs in their last meeting before the Thanksgiving holiday to discuss the importance of the upcoming census.

“I am here today on behalf of the U.S. Census Bureau, I am a partnership specialist,” Bush said. Her primary job is to find support and spread awareness for the 2020 census.

“(I work) with local leaders to get the word out that the census is safe, all information that’s gathered is held to a gold standard of security,” Bush said.

She went on to explain that the decennial census is legally mandated by the Constitution.

“It’s occurred every 10 years since 1790,” Bush said.

The population gathered by the U.S. census is used to determine “Congressional representation and boundaries as well as (…) how $675 billion is distributed to our states and territories each year,” Bush said.

She described the timeline of the upcoming census. In January, the government will begin advertising the survey before doing group-home counts in February. Sometime in March, individual households should get their invitations to participate and then the government sets to work on compiling the information before giving the results to the president on Dec. 31, 2020.

“In order to achieve this goal of a complete and accurate count, (…) we are forming what they call Complete Count Committees, and these are essentially task forces,” Bush said. “The state has formed a Complete Count Committee which is headed by the governor’s office and includes our Congressional delegation as well as a variety of statewide organizations.”

“Locally, we’ve formed two Complete Count Committees, one which is sponsored by the Randolph County Commission and is chaired by Commissioner Mark Scott, and then another one which is co-sponsored by the City of Elkins and the Elkins Randolph County Chamber of Commerce, and that is chaired by Denise Campbell,” she continued.

Bush then invited Scott to speak.

“We started meeting as county organizations back about a year ago to talk about the importance of the census. Going in, I had no idea how much of a differences just a few citizens makes in the overall support that we receive as a community,” said Scott.

“In direct support for the federal government, for every 362 citizens, $1 million in additional direct support (is granted),” Scott said. “Making sure that we have a complete count in 2020 in Randolph County is a personal goal that I have.”

Scott told Rotarians that college students who spend the majority of their time in Randolph County should answer the census, as well as homeless people and those incarcerated on Randolph County soil.

For those who would like to assist in the census, there will be a meeting at the Commission Chambers at 1:30 p.m. Friday. More information about the census can be found on census.gov.

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