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Our View: Census is more than just a number
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Sunday's debate in the House of Representatives on the Senate version of the health care reform bill, which lasted late into the evening, shines a light on the importance that body of government can have. Regardless of whether the motives for each Congressman to get before the television camera may have been politically driven or based on emotion regarding the bill, the reason they were there is because they were chosen by the people in their district to represent them based on population in their state. When a state's population shrinks it can lose a member of the House of Representatives, which means one less voice regarding issues such as health care reform.

One of the main functions of a national census is to determine districts for all levels of government, not just the one on display over the weekend, however, in 2000 Wisconsin lost a Congressional seat because of census redistricting.

It is vital that as many Green and Lafayette county residents as possible return the census forms, which began arriving in the mail recently, or answering the door and speaking with the census workers hired to visit those that didn't submit their information. They will be making the rounds between May and July.

Wisconsin is predicted to retain all eight of its current House seats, University of Wisconsin political science professor Barry Burden told the Janesville Gazette March 14.

The census is about more than just how many members of Congress will be standing up in front of a TV camera during an important vote in Washington. Census data allows the federal government to determine which parts of the country will receive money for grant programs or highway projects, for example.

Both Green and Lafayette counties have workers assigned to answer questions about the census. An office have been established in Madison to monitor census operations in southern and southwestern Wisconsin, which includes Green and Lafayette counties.

If you haven't opened your census packet, it contains a one-page, 10-question form to be filled out and returned. If you have questions about the census call Cara Carper at the Green County UW-Extension office, Monroe, at 328-9440.

Census information will be used by the countless agencies and businesses at all levels to help plan out the next 10 years, so please take this opportunity seriously to fill out and mail in your census information or speak with a census worker.