SACRAMENTO – At a special event held by the Public Policy Institute of California, and attended by hundreds of non-profits and foundation leaders from across California, Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Palo Alto), Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on the Census, emphasized why it is imperative that every Californian is counted in the 2020 Census.
“California is a big, bold, beautiful, diverse, complicated state,” said Assemblymember Berman. “We have residents who speak dozens of different languages and come from hundreds of countries, and all in all, make up 39.5 or 40 million unique stories. The census count should be about counting all of those stories and counting all of those people.”
Census data is used to determine the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives and to distribute more than $675 billion in federal funding. An undercount would deprive California of its fair share of billions of dollars in federal funds and threaten at least one of the state’s seats in the House of Representatives.
“This is an issue that is going to impact red districts, and it is going to impact blue districts,” Berman said. “Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, there is an incentive to care about this and to really want to make sure that every resident gets counted.”
In the one-on-one conversation with Mark Baldassare, President and CEO of the Public Policy Institute of California, Assemblymember Berman noted that federal inaction, the addition of a widely-criticized citizenship question, and the prevalence of historically hard-to-count communities in California threaten a complete and accurate count.
“The task in front of us is more difficult than it has ever been,” said Assemblymember Berman. “We need to go out and identify those trusted messengers in all of those communities and all of these hard-to-count communities across the state and make sure they are reaching out and giving folks the confidence to participate and explaining why it is so important.”
In response to the unique challenges facing California, Governor Brown included $40.3 million in the Fiscal Year 2018-2019 budget for Census outreach. The Governor’s office in conjunction with the California Complete Count Committee is coordinating a series of regional meetings between now and August 2018 to bring together essential local and regional partners and coordinate census outreach efforts. The Assembly and Senate’s recently-established, bipartisan select committees will work closely with the Brown administration, assist with outreach, and hold informational hearings across the state.
Video of the event will be available online, courtesy of the Public Policy Institute of California.
Contact: Kaitlin Curry, (916) 319-2024