It was last month that members of the PA Senate hosted leaders of Gov. Tom Wolf’s census team. We went to the hearing since the Executive Director of the PA Catholic Conference, Eric Failing, is on the Census 2020 Complete Count Commission.
Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) raised concerns about the lack of planning to connect with rural communities.
Sen. Phillips-Hill pointed out that the most rural communities are the ones that are traditionally undercounted in the census. She called for the commission to add organizations like the Center for Rural Pennsylvania and the Governor’s Office for Rural Affairs to the commission.
I traveled to Sen. Phillips-Hill’s Jacobus district office to talk with her about a number of issues including her concerns about the census commission. Is she seeing compliance to her requests?
“In subsequent conversations, we understand that there will be adequate representation from the Center for Rural Pennsylvania and we already have the Farm Bureau there.”
She said it was important to make the Governor’s people aware of her concerns.
“The more accurate the count, the more federal dollars come back to us,” she said.
Sen. Phillips-Hill also learned that the federal government is relying on residents to respond to the census on-line. But she says there are connectivity issues for many rural residents.
“We’re working on a separate path to try to fix that,” she said. “But in the mean time, I think it’s really important that the residents in the rural part of our state realize that it’s census time. It’s important that they be counted.”