(This is the second part of Brian Hauswirth’s two-part series on the status of the 2020 Census in Missouri)
A state lawmaker from northwest Missouri’s Carrollton is worried that the 2020 Census may miss residents who’ve been impacted by Missouri River flooding in recent years.
State Rep. Peggy McGaugh, R-Carrollton, represents the Missouri House on the state 2020 complete count committee. Her sprawling district stretches from near Lexington to Mendon.
“The people that have been affected by the many floods we’ve had in the last ten years have been upended and maybe in some other part of their city, their county, the state, that just simply didn’t get reached,” McGaugh says.
While she’s pleased Missouri is trending at 90 percent-plus census completion, she wants to make sure that all residents are counted.
She says residents in the Missouri River sugar tree bottoms area were displaced for about seven months. Representative McGaugh’s district has seen flooding annually in recent years.
“The (39th) district here is so large and so rural that it would be difficult for maybe one person or a team to really, really go door-to-door and find these people,” says McGaugh.
McGaugh’s district takes about two hours to get from one side to the other.
She is pleased that the U.S. Census Bureau will continue its count through the end of October. McGaugh lives in the district of U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, R-Tarkio, a district with 36 counties that is larger than nine states.
“I worry about his (Congressman Graves’) area, the whole top of the state of Missouri that might get left alone and not get the money that the Census brings in for the roads and the infrastructure and the schools. I don’t want them to be forgotten,” McGaugh says.
During the 1990s, northern Missouri had three congressional districts. They were represented by then-U.S. Reps. Pat Danner, D-Smithville, Harold Volkmer, D-Hannibal, and Ike Skelton, D-Lexington. Today, northern Missouri has one district (Graves), with one or two counties being represented by U.S. Reps. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Kansas City, and Vicky Hartzler, R-Harrisonville.
That’s because of northern Missouri’s continued drop in population numbers.
The 2020 Census aims to count every person living in the United States and five U.S. territories. The complete count committee is working to ensure an accurate count of everyone living in Missouri to secure federal funding and fair representation for Missourians during the next decade.
McGaugh praises Missouri 2020 complete count committee chair Karen Best, saying the former Branson mayor has done an excellent job. Former Mayor Best notes this year’s Census has been unprecedented, because of COVID-19.
Former Mayor Best says the committee’s goal is to submit a final report to the governor by November 30. McGaugh says she looks forward to helping with the final draft of the report to the governor.
McGaugh also emphasizes the effort has been bipartisan, saying it’s crucial that all residents in traditionally Democratic St. Louis and Kansas City are counted as well. She says it’s about ensuring that Missouri gets fair representation in the U.S. House.
Click here to listen to Brian Hauswirth’s full interview with State Rep. Peggy McGaugh, R-Carrollton, which was recorded on October 6, 2020:
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