The Stitt Administration Promoting the Importance of the 2020 US Census for OklahomaTue, 12 Nov 2019 07:02:34 CST
Preparations are underway for the 2020 census in Oklahoma. Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays visited with Brent Kisling, Executive Director with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce to talk about the importance of the census. Hays and Kisling talked about the census on the sidelines of the 2019 Oklahoma Farm Bureau Convention, shortly after Kisling had told Oklahoma Farm Bureau members that they needed to engage in the effort to count every Oklahoman next year.
Back in 2010 Oklahoma had the second lowest response rates of all the states and Kisling says he hopes to turn that around this time, “We are going to be traveling the state sharing this message that whenever you get that postcard in the mail in March 2020, please turn around and submit the information. Its very important. It helps us with our federal funding, it helps us with our representation, helps us in economic development, but more than anything else, it’s a moral obligation for us to count everybody we’ve got in this state.”
Kisling says that Governor Kevin Stitt has placed the Department of Commerce in charge of leading the Oklahoma Census 2020 Complete Count Committee- in comments as the state kicked off this effort, Govenor Still says "With everyone’s participation, I believe our state’s population will exceed 4 million people.”
There are so many benefits to having an accurate count with the U.S. Census. Kisling agrees that if someone is looking to move to the state, they will be looking at what the work force is and the demographics of that workforce. Officials can make estimates, but estimates are based off the baseline that comes from the 2020 census. Kisling conveys, “We need those numbers to be as high as humanly possible, and make sure each of our communities are properly represented.”
A few years ago, the state actually lost one of the Congressional seats, and now Kisling says they are working on getting that seat back, “We are much closer to gaining our congressman back than we are to losing another one. That is significant whenever we vote as a block up in Washington DC to have an extra person there.”
Outside of the census, Kisling says there are two other important things happening right now. One is the state branding effort led by Lieutenant governor Matt Pinnell. Pinnell and creative folks across the state are looking for a way to create a new Oklahoma brand. The second thing is workforce development. Kisling says “If we could just fill the available jobs in Oklahoma today, we would have the fastest growing economy by leaps and bounds! We would have the fastest job growth market in the nation. We need to make sure that education is aligned with industry and that we are inspiring our young people to get involved in industries that are growing in our state.”
You can listen to Hays and Kisling's conversation by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.
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