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Governor Visits Macomb to Promote Census

Rich Egger
Governor J.B. Pritzker talked about the census during a stop in Macomb Friday. Standing behind him are State Representative Norine Hammond, Macomb Community Development Coordinator John Bannon, and Mayor Mike Inman.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker is urging Macomb and McDonough County residents to fill out their 2020 census forms to ensure the region and the state get a complete and accurate count.

“Macomb, the stakes could not be higher for you or for the state of Illinois,” the governor said during a brief speech outside Macomb City Hall.

Pritzker said the federal distribution of funding for schools, child care, hospitals, roads, and more is based on state populations.  He said the headcount will also determine congressional representation for the next ten years.

“The higher the count, the more of your federal tax money comes back to Illinois instead of going to other states and the more representatives we get in Congress,” Pritzker said.

“Just a 1% undercount could result in the state losing hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funds.”

He said Illinois is doing well with its census response rate, but he said Macomb’s rate is lower than it was ten years ago and it is lower than the statewide rate.  The governor said it takes less than ten minutes to fill out the census form, which can be done online, and he emphasized the form does not include a citizenship question.

Pritzker said filling out the form is an act of civic engagement, just like voting.

Grace Hou, Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services, said her department is focused on reaching hard-to-count populations. She said organizations in Macomb such as Genesis Garden, the fire department, and local food pantries have helped with that effort.

“Outreach was done through farmer’s markets, churches, Western Illinois University, phone banks, and door knocking,” Hou said.

State Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) said her office is available to provide assistance.

“If you have challenges, if you have struggles, whatever they might be – if it’s loss of internet service, don’t have service, a little confused – please call my office or stop in my office. We are there and we will help you do it,” Hammond said.

Like the others, Hammond said it will take less than 10 minutes to complete the form.

This story was produced by Tri States Public Radio.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.