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Don Criss talks with Karl Terry of the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerence about the 2020 Census

Don Criss:  This is Southwest spotlight on the KENW Public Radio Network. My guest today is Karl Terry, Director of the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce and we're going to talk about the census. Karl, why is it important for everyone in the listening area fill out the 2020 census and send it in by the deadline.

Karl Terry:  Don, it affects so many things that we as a community are important to us. It affects the the funding on schools. It affects the representation that we have in Congress and various districts around the state and it's it's important that we have a good count so that we know. People that are looking to locate here have a have a way of knowing how we were progressing.

Don Criss:  OK, what are some of the funding sources that use partly the information; they use information from the census in order to determine how much we get here? You mentioned schools. What are some of the other things.

Karl Terry:  Well out schools are not only in different federal programs that help our students that are maybe are behind and. You know, keep the keep the kids caught up and and Whatnot.  But those kinds of things as well as school lunch programs are extremely important.  We've really seen during this pandemic that it's even come to the forefront that we're we're on the very edge of food insecurity. And so that's that's one of the things that's important there on the school side of it. And then you have federal money coming back for roads, different things that both counties and cities are concerned with. Projects and matches to; to the different projects that might be might be happening, and it's extremely critical that that we have the funding going into those programs, that that is determined lots of times, by the census.

Don Criss:  Part of your job is encouraging people to come to Roosevelt County and go into business. Do business people who are thinking of coming to this area check the census?

Karl Terry:  Yes, they do, they they.  Do you know the site locator is very particular about getting all the demographics they can lay their hands on;  a lot of the demographic information that we use every day comes out of out of the census. They do estimates in between the census but you know it really sets the baseline when we're- When we're doing the actual census and so it'll it'll affect us for 10 years as to see that we're growing and steady in certain areas, it's important. Depending on the type of business they want to see.   What was happening in the community, and that's one way that they can do it is by checking census data and comparing that overtime to other other census and other numbers that they have so that they can get a good picture of of what. What types of businesses are feasible in our area.

Don Criss:  I will do one last question, do you? I've looked at the census. I filled ours out at home. Do you think it's difficult? Is there anything difficult about it in case there are people out there that are a little frightened of it?

Karl Terry:  No, it's not difficult at all. It's easy to do online. Early on. I've had people tell me that, well, they lost my little code that I have to have to fill it out and I had my code and I said, You know, I've been told that you didn't have to have that and I just went in and plugged in my address and it was pretty simple and I mean if I can do it, I think anybody could probably do it. I'm not the not the most computer literate, I'm not. The least, either, but it's very easy. And then there's also ways to do your, your census on the phone. There will also be census takers coming out, so you know we want to encourage you not to, not to. You know? Duck those folks.

Don Criss:  OK, well thank you-

Karl Terry:  They are there for a purpose. And they are working to get the last single squeeze the last little bit of data out of our County as possible.  And we are right now in Roosevelt County we're very low on our return rate. We’re about 5% down from the previous census.  And one of the predictions with the Eastern Plains Council of Government is that our County alone is possibly facing a 5.6-million-dollar loss because of undercount.

Don Criss:  Well that's too bad.

Kary Terry:  Well, that's pretty serious.

Don Criss:  Let's hope let's hope everybody gets it filled out and thank you very much for talking with me today. This is Don Chris and this has been Southwest spotlight.