Beginning in Montana later this month, our great country will engage in one of the most significant national activities created by our Founding Fathers: the United States Census. While the census is important in allocating federal funds to our state and communities, its true significance lies in political representation, not funding.
The decennial census was created to help our nation properly apportion congressional power to the American people. This year, the U.S. Census is particularly exciting for Montanans as our state population is on the cusp of qualifying for a second congressional representative. But, to ensure the accuracy of the census, every person living in Montana must step forward and participate to make sure they and their neighbors are counted.
We are happy that the Montana Complete Count Committee has made a special effort to notify Native American communities on our reservations of the upcoming census. These communities must be successfully counted if Montana is to receive a second congressional seat. It will also allow them to continue to elect state legislators of their choice.
It is important that other rural residents be properly counted as well. The Census Bureau estimates that our rural regions and communities have failed to match the growth of Montana’s urban areas. This will ultimately lessen the power of rural areas to shape Montana’s legislative priorities. Therefore, I urge all rural Montanans, in particular, to visit with their neighbors and confirm that they have been counted. Unlike urban Montanans who will be receiving census reminders by mail at their homes, rural Montanans who receive mail at a community post office mailbox will not be mailed a census form.
Whether you’re in Ekalaka, Bozeman, Eureka, or Missoula, when you see your neighbors this spring and summer, please ask them if they have taken the time to participate in the census. Doing so is simple – you can do it online, by phone, or by paper form. All Montanans should participate to ensure that our political power in Congress is properly apportioned.
The government census forms are being mailed out. Montanans can begin to fill out these forms online on March 22, and Census Day is officially April 1. Please make the effort to respond as soon as you can so you can cross this simple, yet important task off your to-do list. By talking to your friends and neighbors, volunteering for your Community Complete Count Committee, and exercising your right to be properly counted, we can make Montana’s political voice louder and stronger.
Don “K” Kaltschmidt is the chairman of the Montana Republican Party.
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