13th District legislators urge participation in U.S. Census

It's been three weeks since the nation's official Census Day, and the move by the U.S. Census Bureau to initially seek information using an online form (available at www.2020census.gov) hasn't meant increased participation in many parts of the state, including the 13th Legislative District.

Now, state lawmakers are urging residents of the four-county district to do their civic duty and participate in the once-in-a-decade population count that's used by government and private industry alike for critical resource-allocation decisions.

“I understand that this time of hardship makes it much harder to get anything done and people's attention and priorities may be elsewhere, but this is something we have to do,” said state Sen. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake. “The consequences of not getting our census forms in will be really detrimental to the communities in eastern Washington when it comes to all kinds of resources. This public-health crisis has shown we need them.”

Early data show that response rates in the 13th District are well below the state average of close to 50 percent, and lag far behind some urban centers west of the Cascades, where return rates exceed 65 percent. Census counts are used to determine funding for over 100 federal programs for everything from public-health funding to roads and schools.

“The COVID-19 pandemic underscores the vary services our communities depend on the most such as child care, critical health care services and other needed state and federal resources. These services depend on an accurate count in the 2020 Census,” said Rep. Tom Dent, R-Moses Lake. “Without an accurate count or low count in our region, we run the risk of losing much-needed services and resources. We need folks to fill out their census so we can ensure critical resources will be available in the 13th District.”  

Consequences could have even broader implications beyond funding for various programs. Undercounts in eastern Washington could also mean the potential loss of legislative representation in Olympia.

“The census isn't just a head count,” said Rep. Alex Ybarra, R-Quincy. “The current public health crisis spotlights why accurate data is invaluable. Responding helps our communities get its fair share of public funds for health care, educational programs, transportation, law enforcement, and many other public works. Everyone who can should participate.”

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov