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Guest opinion

Elías: Everyone needs to participate in the 2020 Census

The 2020 Census is just around the corner and if Pima County is to get its fair share of billions of dollars of federal and state funding, and to have fair electoral-district boundary lines for elections over the next decade, all of our participation is essential.

The information we provide is strictly confidential as federal law requires confidentiality and the U.S. Census Bureau uses encryption and rigorous security technology to protect participants' privacy.

Census results will affect our community every day for the next decade. We all are counting on you.

Our Census data is used for a myriad of very important purposes that are vital to planning for our future, distributing federal and state funds and services, and for drawing political district boundaries necessary for us to be able to vote for elected officials who represent our needs and desires.

Census data enables communities to site and size hospitals, health clinics, fire-department stations, schools, roads, transit systems, elder-care facilities and mental-health services to best meet local and regional needs.

Distribution of billions of dollars of federal funding over the next decade for more than 100 very important programs will be based on 2020 Census data. This includes funding for Medicaid, Head Start. Community Development Block Grants, homelessness services and prevention, food stamps, education assistance, school-lunch programs, rural assistance, wildlife habitat protection and restoration, child-abuse prevention and services, and housing assistance.

Planning for responses to disease epidemics, natural disasters such as wildfires and hurricanes, and road and transit construction is dependent on Census data.

The redrawing after every 10 years of congressional, legislative, county-district and city-ward boundaries is based on population shifts reflected in Census results. Businesses planning new or expanded facilities, industries interested in locating new production plants, and commercial ventures wanting to offer new services all rely on Census figures for these needs.

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Census forms are simple and easy to complete. The 2020 Census, form for the first time, can be filled out and submitted online via any ordinary computer.

It is easy, quick, safe and very important to fill out our 2020 Census. When you receive your Census form please complete it and submit in the manner most comfortable for you. Census results will affect our community every day for the next decade. We all are counting on you.

Richard Elías is the chairman of the Pima County Board of Supervisors, and a Democrat who represents District 5.

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