Ulster County Kicks Off Complete Count Committee to Raise Awareness about the 2020 Census

Posted February 4, 2020

The County is partnering with local municipalities and nonprofit organizations to ensure full community participation

KINGSTON, N.Y. – Ulster County kicked-off the County’s Complete Count Committee today. Featuring a diverse group of community leaders, the committee will continue to build off of today’s convening by working alongside civic organizations and municipalities to ensure that all residents of Ulster County are properly represented and understand the census process. The 2020 Census will influence community funding and congressional representation for the next decade. Funding for our schools, libraries, roads, veterans services, senior services, hospitals, and food pantries is based on the numbers from the census.

Today’s meeting gathered community leaders to discuss how local organizations can get involved to promote community participation and apply for eligible funding. Jeff Behler, the Regional Director for the New York Regional Census Center, also presented information on the census.

“Ulster County is going to work to ensure that all of our residents are represented and accounted for in the 2020 Census,” said Patrick Ryan, Ulster County Executive. “We are fully committed to educating the public on this immensely important process and engaging and working with our traditionally undercounted population areas.”

“We are asking community leaders and organizations to help us ensure that every person is counted in the 2020 Census,” said Jennifer J. Clark, Chair the Ulster County Complete Count Committee and Assistant Ulster County Attorney. “We know that getting full participation in the census will be a challenge, particularly given the recent efforts to depress responses from under-represented communities. It is our hope that with our community partners, we can combat those efforts. Participation is power; the more people who respond to the census, the louder our voice will be in Washington and in New York State. It is vitally important that the census provides a true picture of our community so that we get the representation and the funding that we deserve.”

“As a Town Supervisor and former Census leader, I understand the importance of making sure every person is counted,” said Mike Baden, Supervisor of the Town of Rochester. “More than just a population number, the Census data is used to determine funding assistance for important government programs like housing and infrastructure. The Ulster County Complete Count Committee is partnering with volunteer and private sector groups to stress to all residents the importance of being counted.

“The threat of the citizen question undoubtedly created more fear and distrust about the government and the Census,” said Eve Walter, Ulster County Legislator. “People should know that not only is this question not currently a part of the Census but that all Census information is protected by law and individual information can not be given to any government entity.”

Required by the United States Constitution, every ten years the federal government undertakes the census process. The census is used to fund $675 billion in federal programs, including roads and bridges, public schools, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps), the National School Lunch Program, Section 8 Housing, Head Start, and the Community Development Block Grants. Census data also determines political representation, both on the federal and local levels. This includes the electoral votes each state receives.

County Executive Ryan announced the formation of a Complete Count Committee late last year on November 29, 2019. The Complete Count Committee will work to promote the census through numerous local organizations and community events. They will look to enhance the number of participants in this process as well as educate the public.

Members of the committee include the following:  

  • Maude Bruce, Ellenville NAACP

  • Jennifer J. Clark, Assistant Ulster County Attorney

  • Dennis Doyle, Director of Ulster County Planning Department

  • Daisy Paredes Tyler, League of Women Voters of the Mid-Hudson Valley

  • Eve Walter, Ulster County Legislator 

  • Michael Baden, Town of Rochester Supervisor

For additional information and to find out how to get involved, please email completecount[at]co.ulster.ny[dot]us