The chairperson of a committee working to ensure an accurate count of all people living in the state is pleased with Missourians’ response to the U.S. Census, which determines federal funding and congressional maps.
Former Branson Mayor Karen Best chairs the Missouri 2020 Complete Count Committee, which is a collaboration of Missouri government, business, non-profit and community groups like the United Way of Greater St. Louis.
“Very happy to report that the last report I saw was that Missouri was trending at 99 percent completion, whether that was self-responding, whether that was group quarters responding or whether that was door-to-door response,” Best says.
The U.S. Census Bureau says group quarters are places where people live or stay in a group living arrangement. Examples include group homes, nursing homes, college housing and correctional facilities.
Former Mayor Best says this year’s Census has been unprecedented, because of COVID-19. She says safety has been the top priority.
“I feel we’ve done a really good job of overcoming that hurdle and that obstacle and making sure that we have the best count that we can have for Missouri, because it’s so important for funding and for representation both at the state level and the federal level,” says Best.
The complete count committee’s mission is to ensure an accurate count of everyone living in Missouri to secure federal funding and fair representation for Missourians during the next decade. She is hopeful that Missouri can keep its U.S. House representation in Washington, and someday re-gain the seat the state lost in 2010.
The 2010 Census essentially eliminated the district of then-U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis. Missouri currently has eight U.S. House seats.
State Rep. Peggy McGaugh, R-Carrollton, a committee member, worries that not everyone has been counted in rural northern Missouri and in St. Louis and Kansas City.
Former Mayor Best says the committee’s goal is to submit a final report to the governor by November 30. She says there’s been a few challenges there as well, noting the committee’s liaison with Governor Mike Parson’s office has taken a job in private practice.
Click here to listen to Brian Hauswirth’s full interview with former Branson Mayor Karen Best, which was recorded on October 2, 2020:
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