CHARLESTON, WV – Today, Gov. Jim Justice held a press conference to announce that he has committed $1 million from his Governor’s Contingency Fund to support ongoing efforts to encourage all West Virginians to participate in the 2020 United States Census.
“We have got to make sure that every single one of us is counted,” Gov. Justice said. “That’s all there is to it.”
Officials with the United States Census Bureau's Regional Office in Philadelphia, including Assistant Regional Census Manager Timothy Maddaloni and Partnership Coordinator Ronald Brown, joined Gov. Justice for the announcement, which was held in the Governor’s Reception Room at the State Capitol.
A complete and accurate count of West Virginia's population is vital to the State, because it will determine the amount of federal grant funding the State can receive for things like education, health care, roads, veteran’s services, disaster relief, and more.
The count also determines the number of representatives in the United States House of Representatives apportioned to West Virginia for the next 10 years.
Despite the Census’ importance, it is estimated that only 74 percent of West Virginians responded in 2010.
“We have absolutely left tens and tens of millions of dollars on the table for years,” Gov. Justice said. “I want [U.S. Commerce] Secretary Ross and everyone, in every state, to know that West Virginia takes this tremendously seriously and I want them to say that West Virginia is leading the way.”
“West Virginia is absolutely committed to making sure all of our people are counted,” Gov. Justice said. “And this Census is tremendously important for our nation and for our state.”
In October, Gov. Justice issued an Executive Order establishing the West Virginia Complete Count Commission to educate and encourage full participation by the citizens of West Virginia in the 2020 Census and to develop plans and strategies to reach isolated groups or areas that typically do not respond to the Census.
Gov. Justice also announced today that the Complete Count Commission will hold its next official meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 11, at 10 a.m. The meeting will be held at the West Virginia Department of Commerce, located in Building 3 of the Capitol Complex.
The Governor also mentioned that thousands of part-time jobs are available, through the U.S. Census, to help make sure everyone is counted.
“There are jobs available that will pay real, live money and you’ll be doing something that’s so meaningful to the state it’s off the chart,” Gov. Justice said. “There is only one side to this coin and it’s an upside.
“There’s nothing but positive goodness that’s coming out of this. But we’ve got to get you counted.”