Whitmer establishes census committee to ensure accurate count

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    With questions looming about the 2020 Census, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order Tuesday aimed at making sure Michigan has a “complete count.”

    Whitmer’s order established the Census Complete Count Committee, a 63-member committee that will ensure the constitutionally mandated, once-a-decade count of people living in the U.S. is accurate.

    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signs an executive order establishing the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, June 6, 2019 | Derek Robertson

    “This Committee is essential to making sure that Michigan has the resources and representation it needs,” Whitmer said in a statement. “The 2020 census count will dictate how much federal funding is allotted to Michigan for our schools, infrastructure, and how many Representatives we have in the United States House of Representatives.”

    The upcoming Census has been uncharacteristically controversial, as President Donald Trump’s administration has been fighting to include a question that would ask census-takers whether or not they’re United States citizens. There’s significant concern that the question could deter undocumented immigrants from responding, leading to an undercount.

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    Census data is used to determine funding for programs like public education and food assistance.

    Whitmer’s new committee will be housed within the state Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB), and will be tasked with developing recommendations to ensure Michigan gets an accurate census count.

    Jim Stamas

    “It is critically important for all Michiganders to participate in the 2020 Census count and this committee will make sure our residents are informed across all communities throughout the state,” said Whitmer. “Our children depend on the federal dollars that come from Census Data and it is our job to make sure we do our best to be counted.”

    Whitmer will chair the new committee and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist will serve as vice-chair. It  also will include state Sens. Jim Stamas (R-Midland) and Adam Hollier (D-Detroit), as well as state Reps. Julie Calley (R-Portland) and Tyrone Carter (D-Detroit).

    Also joining the committee will be as-yet-unnamed statewide municipal leaders and officials from a variety of nonprofit advocacy organizations.

    Nick Manes
    Nick Manes covers West Michigan, business and labor, health care and the safety net. He previously spent six years as a reporter at MiBiz covering commercial real estate, economic development and all manner of public policy at the local and state levels. His byline also has appeared in Route Fifty and The Daily Beast. When not reporting around the state or furiously tweeting, he enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, Krista, biking around his hometown of Grand Rapids and torturing himself rooting for the Detroit Lions.

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