On August 20th Secretary Brown and a few staff were in Eugene for the grand opening of the Eugene office of the Census Bureau for the 2010 decennial census. It was a well-attended event that had everything: a rousing rendition of ‘My Oregon’ from the Gleemen, a color guard composed of veterans who are also tribal members, and speeches by Mayor Leiken of Springfield, Congressman DeFazio, and of course Secretary of State Brown.
Each speaker talked about the importance of the 2010 count. There is a consensus at every level of government that there has never been a more important Census in the history of our country. And the Secretary of State’s office will be an integral part of the State’s efforts to ensure the best count possible.
In June, the Governor appointed Secretary of State Brown to head the State’s Complete Count Committee, which will coordinate State Agencies in efforts to raise awareness about the 2010 Census count. It’s an incredibly exciting effort that serves a critical purpose.
So why is a complete and accurate Census count so important to the state of Oregon?
To put the count’s impact in real terms, there will be close to $400 billion dollars in federal funding to be distributed over the next few years. The results of the 2010 Census count will be major factor in helping decision makers in Washington, D.C. decide where those funds will go. In these tough economic times for the state, this is a big deal.
To give you an idea of where this money can be used, here are just a few examples of where federal money was allocated in 2007:
- Food stamps – $30.4 billion
- Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers – $16.1 billion
- National School Lunch Program – $8.6 billion
- Head Start – $6.2 billion
- State Children’s Insurance Program – $5.5 billion
- Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program – $5.3 billion
- Foster care (Title IVE) – $4.5 billion
- Child Care Mandatory & Matching Funds – $2.9 billion
- School Breakfast Program – $2.1 billion
These are programs that have a massive impact on people’s lives.
The Census count will also determine whether or not Oregon’s population has grown so much since the last count that we require a sixth congressional district. This would mean that Oregon would have another Representative to join our already stellar representation in the US Congress. Greater representation in Washington means a louder voice for Oregonians; and this is a good thing.
Everyone here in the Secretary of State’s office is excited about ramping up our efforts to assist the Census Bureau in making 2010 the most successful count in our country’s history.