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It's that time of the decade: time to make ourselves known to the feds, so that our city, county and state can get proper representation and funding.

Jefferson City and Cole County recently announced they will partner in the 2020 Census by establishing a Complete County Committee. The committee, which will partner with other local groups, will strive for an accurate Census count in the county.

That's important for two primary reasons: money and power. If we don't count everyone in our county, we risk losing both.

According to a news release from the committee, a complete Census count helps to ensure the appropriate financial resources for each entity are received from the Federal government. Essentially, that means getting value for the federal taxes we've already paid.

As for power, that refers to our representation in Congress. All states have two U.S. senators, but the Census helps determine how many U.S. House members we'll have.

After the 2000 Census, Missouri lost a House seat, dropping from nine to eight. That reduced our influence in a state that some Congress members already dismiss as a flyover state.

At the time, some blamed a low Census return in Missouri for its loss of a U.S. House seat. That means not everyone was counted because some people failed to fill out their Census forms. That, despite Cole County's excellent participation rate, which was six times higher than the national average.

Let's again lead the way for Missouri, and hopefully at the very least we can keep the congressional representation we have.

The 10-question form is relatively quick and easy to fill out, and doesn't ask invasive questions such as your Social Security number, credit card numbers.

If you or your organization is interested in serving on the Complete Count Committee, submit an indication of your interest and a brief background by Dec. 3 by email to Jennifer Suchanek at or by letter to: Cole County/City of Jefferson Census Complete Count Committee C/O Jennifer Suchanek 320 E. McCarty St., Jefferson City, MO 65101.

News Tribune

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