With the dawning of a new decade, the United States Census Bureau will begin carrying out a constitutionally mandated count, or Census, of every US resident from sea to shining sea. The importance of this process cannot be understated, as the final numbers will determine everything from the number of electoral votes the State of Texas will have, to which roads are built and repaired. That said, I thought it appropriate to take a break from our weekly examination of interim charges to provide you with information about the Census process, describe how you and your family will participate, and underscore the importance of an accurate Census.

2020 Census

To give you an idea for the magnitude of this operation, the U.S. Census Bureau has hired over half a million temporary workers to administer a count of every individual residing in the United States. And when they say every individual, they mean every individual — whether you’re a citizen or non-citizen, 100 years old or 100 hours old, live in the city or out in the country, the Census seeks to get an accurate reading of the population in every corner of the country. It’s important to understand that information obtained by the Census cannot be used for any other purpose, meaning that you cannot be prosecuted for any reason based on the information you provide. Moreover, the Bureau has gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure the upmost security and confidentiality with respect to your personal information.

Unlike previous Censuses, this is the first time that residents will be able to respond to the 2020 census questionnaire online or by phone. This is especially important to the folks in our area, many of whom live in rural areas that are considered “hard-to-count areas,” given their geographic location. Starting in mid-March, people will begin receiving letters that include a unique number they will enter in online. The letter will also have a phone number that you can call to respond to the questions in 13 different languages. If you accidentally throw the letter away, don’t worry. You’ll receive several reminders, including: a second letter on March 16-24; a postcard reminder between March 26th and April 3, and a fourth letter around April 8th, which will include the questionnaire.

The State of Texas only benefits from a full and accurate count of our population, especially in rural areas like those I represent. Given the explosive growth our state has experienced in urban and suburban areas over the last decade, and with redistricting around the corner, the stakes could not be higher in our battle to preserve rural representation at both the state and federal level. In order to continue to promote and protect the values and ideals that we hold most dear, we have to stand up and be counted so that our rural voice remains strong.

Reminders

The mobile office is back on the road in the month of January and looks forward to seeing you on the following dates, in the following locations: 9-11 a.m. Feb. 5 at the Leon County Courthouse in Centerville, or 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the Madison County Courthouse Annex in Madisonville; Feb. 19 9-11am at the Houston County Courthouse Annex in Crockett, or 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the Trinity County Courthouse in Groveton; Feb. 26 9-11 a.m. at the San Augustine County Courthouse in San Augustine.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact our office if we can help you in any way. Our District office may be reached at (936) 634-2762, or you can call my Capitol office at (512) 463-0508.