Op eds

This op-ed by Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) first appeared in The Advocate on July 21, 2020.

Over 230 years ago, the United States conducted its first census with 650 men on horseback riding door to door through the original 13 states to try to count all of our people. This year there won’t be any horses at your door, just a letter in the mail with instructions on how to fill out your census form online, by mail, or over the phone. It’s only 10 questions, it’s completely confidential, and it has a real impact on how federal funding is distributed to our communities in Louisiana.

As your U.S. senator in Washington, D.C., I fight every day to make sure the federal government spends your tax dollars wisely and on programs that are absolutely necessary. When the government spends money, it often allocates funding based on the most recent census. Louisiana taxpayers send far too much of their paycheck to the federal government not to get their fair share of revenue for federal programs. The federal government allocates funding for public schools, infrastructure funding, and even Medicare reimbursement rates using census data.

In 2010, 1 in 4 Louisianans didn’t fill out the census. Our state lost a member of our House delegation, and, as a result, we lost influence in Congress. I hope we can do better this year. COVID-19 has made this an extremely challenging year for all of us, but the good news is you still have time to make a difference for your community by filling out the census.

Like voting, completing the census is a bedrock civic duty — except you only have to fill out the census once every 10 years, and you can do it from the comfort of your own home.

I hope you’ll join me and take three minutes out of your day so that Louisiana can get its fair share of federal funds. Whether it’s for your kids’ schools, for your relatives on Medicare, or for the roads you travel to work on, I hope you will fill out the 2020 census so we can all be counted and receive the funding and representation we deserve.