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COMMENTARY: Census 2020: Why do we care?

The framers of the U.S. Constitution made a full count of the population a part of the document. Every 10 years since 1790, the U.S. Census Bureau has conducted a count of every resident in the United States. It's the law.

"Why Do We Care? Census 2020" will be the topic of discussion at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 7 at the Northwoods Bank community room, 1200 1st St. E., Park Rapids. The program will be free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

League of Women Voters of the Park Rapids Area has invited Tim Flathers, executive director of the Headwaters Regional Development Commission (HRDC), to speak about why a complete census count is so vital to fair and equitable funding for all government supported activities.

Flathers will be joined by a panel of Andrew Mack, Park Rapids city planner; Diane Dennis, Coldwell Banker Clack and Dennis Real Estate; and Mary Thompson, operations director with the HRDC, who will be serving in an administrative role with the Hubbard County Regional Economic Development Commission.

The panel will respond to the speaker's presentation and share how the census affects their activities. There will also be time for questions from the audience.

For the 2010 census in Minnesota, 85 percent of people completed and returned the census form mailed to them. Census workers reached out to the remaining 15 percent at their residence.

In 2020, the Census Bureau is urging the creation of "complete count committees" in every town, county and region to help everyone understand how important it is that their household members are counted. Full participation in the 2020 census will provide communities with vital information about who we are and what we need.

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