Lt. Gov. Bysiewicz, Congressman Himes, and Mayor Rilling Kick Off 2020 Census Efforts in Norwalk
NORWALK, CT—Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz today joined Congressman Jim Himes, Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling, non-profit leaders, faith leaders, and other members of the Norwalk community at the Norwalk Community Health Center to kick off the city’s 2020 Census efforts.
“It’s great to add yet another Connecticut community to the growing list of municipalities putting together a local complete count committee to plan for the 2020 Census,” said Lt. Governor Bysiewicz. “Counting everyone in Norwalk won’t be easy, especially in those hard-to-count areas, but I am confident that with everyone working together we can get to a complete count.”
An accurate census count is critically important to Connecticut as it is the foundation to determine official per capita federal funding for programs in Norwalk and across the state. Strategic planning will be necessary to ensure that hard-to-count populations are not left out. This includes racial and ethnic minorities, non-English speakers, low income communities, the homeless, undocumented immigrants, and those who do not live in traditional housing, among others.
“Norwalk is a diverse community, and we need to make sure we reach out to everyone and show them they should not be afraid to participate in the Census,” said Norwalk Mayor Harry W. Rilling. “It is important that we have an accurate count of the people in our community. We are putting together a Complete Count team that is reflective of the diversity of Norwalk to make sure we get this done and get this done right.”
In February, Lt. Gov. Bysiewicz launched a statewide effort ensuring Connecticut would be the best-counted state in the nation. One of the roles of the committee is to assist municipal governments with forming Local Complete Count Committees to promote and encourage response to the 2020 Census in their own communities. The local committees, like Norwalk’s, are comprised of a broad spectrum of government and community leaders from education, business, healthcare, and other community organizations. These trusted voices develop and implement a 2020 Census awareness campaign based upon their knowledge of the local community to encourage a response.
“Our Health Center wants to partner with our local, state and federal officials to ensure every one of our 13,000 patients and everyone who needs our health and wellness services gets counted,” said John Gettings III, Interim Chief Executive Officer at Norwalk Community Health Center, Inc. “Otherwise, our Health Center, our staff, and our patients who stand to benefit the most from these programs may be the first to feel the effects of underreporting census data and loss of federal funding tied to the population.”
“We cannot succumb to fear mongering,” said Rev. Dr. Lindsay Curtis, Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Norwalk. “The Census is a civil rights issue – it deals with voting, economics, housing, and employment. We want to make sure people of color are not fearful to complete the Census, and I encourage each and every one of us to participate.”
The data collected by the 2020 census affects not just government, but also private businesses, schools, hospitals, non-profits, and other public and private entities. Currently, Connecticut is ranked first in the nation for paying the most in federal income taxes and is are amongst the lowest in getting federal dollars in return. Therefore, it is extremely important that Connecticut state government take an active role in facilitating counting efforts by establishing the Connecticut Complete Count Committee.