Editorial by Chad Hobbs
Oh, how I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard someone from the national media all the way down to a gas station lunch table conversation make the claim that someone was violating the Constitution. The Republicans said Obama did it, the Democrats say Trump is doing it, CNN says the Republican Party is doing it, FOX says it’s the Democratic Party is doing it, and so it trickles down all the way to rural supporters of which ever party, pointing fingers at former Governor Bevin and current Governor Beshear because they are guilty of it as well. Well, as of right now, almost 50 percent of Kentuckians and over 40 percent of Meade Countians are in violation of their constitutional duties. Political parties have nothing to do with it, but luckily there is still time to do the right thing; fill out your 2020 Census. Not doing so is also a violation of the law. The state of Kentucky currently receives over $2,000 per person per year from federal funding that is directly correlated with census numbers. A family of five who fails to complete will not only cost the commonwealth over $10,000 a year in funding, but since the census is only done every ten years, they will actually loose over $100,000 in vital program funding over the next decade for the state. If just one family cost the Bluegrass that much, imagine how quick that number jumps when multiple families and individuals fail to be counted. Undercount our population by just one percent and over $91 million a year is lost. The federal government distributes $675 billion to the states with data from the U.S. Census Bureau through about 300 different programs. Infrastructure programs (roads, bridges, etc.), health coverage (Medicate Part B, CHIP, Medicaid), nutrition assistance (SNAP/WIC and school meals), education (Title I, Head Start, loans and grants), housing loans, and critical programs for children (adoption, foster care, and child care) are just a few of the crucial programs that are funded from the Census, but that are also crucial to many Meade Countians as well. There is a long list of other programs as well that include veterans, the disabled, special education, wildlife, cooperative extension, and senior nutrition that need not only the $15.8 billion Kentucky has been receiving since the 2010 Census but more if our numbers are accurate. It’s not just funding, either, that hurts the state through inaccurate counts. Electoral votes and representation in Congress are also determined by the census. In fact, after the 1990 Census, Kentucky lost a seat in Congress, dropping the state to its current six U.S. Representatives. I filled the online version out for my household of three and it took right at five minutes to complete. Where else can you give five minutes of time, and in my case, provide the state over $60,000 in funding by doing so? Some of these programs help support and improve things that I use such as the schools or the condition of local roads, but more importantly, they support and improve the lives of many of our neighbors who are struggling or have fell on hard times. There are three ways to fill out the 2020 Census. One is online at www.2020census.gov. The second way is by phone, calling 1-844-330-2020. The third way is by filling out the form sent to every household and mailing it back in. Please take five minutes and fill it out today. If not for yourself or for the law, do it for the hungry children in Meade County who get their bellies full with a nutritional meal provided by the schools because you and I donated five minutes of time to fill out a form. Drive by any of the schools in our county at lunch time during this pandemic and you will see exactly how important your Census completion is. It’s our tax dollars; why not bring them back home. Only 65 percent of Meade Countians self-reported ten years ago. Let’s become the first county to hit 100 percent this year. We have children and senior citizens whose very lives depend on it.