With potentially billions of federal dollars and proportional Congressional representation on the line, Senate Democratic Leader Audrey Gibson (D-Jacksonville) joined Senate Democrats in calling on the governor to take executive action in time for the 2020 Census.
“Florida’s fair share hinges on an accurate population count for the upcoming census,” wrote Leader Gibson in a letter sent Tuesday to Governor Ron DeSantis. “I urge you to issue an executive order creating a Census Statewide Count Committee, similar to the executive order issued under former Governor Charlie Crist during the last census count.”
The purpose of the Committee is to work with federal Census officials to promote participation in the US Census and get the most accurate count of Florida’s current population. Census data is used to establish the electoral representation Florida receives for members of Congress, establishing district boundaries for state legislative offices and demographic data is used in formulas that award federal funding to Florida in areas like public education, health and human services.
Leader Gibson’s letter mirrors calls earlier this month from Senators Victor Torres (D-Orlando) and Bobby Powell (D-Palm Beach) seeking the governor’s assistance to ensure accuracy in the upcoming census count.
“We cannot risk this massive loss of funding with so many pressing infrastructure demands, water quality issues, needed capital funding for schools, and health care expenses, among other priorities, facing Florida and its growing population,” she wrote. “I join my colleagues, Senators Victor Torres and Bobby Powell, who earlier this month requested that you issue such an order, and urge you to act as expeditiously as possible to ensure our state’s interests remain protected.