169 National, State, and Local Groups Call for a Highly Qualified and Established Leader as Census Bureau Director

June 1, 2017
Karely Hernández, 202.869.0390, Hernandez@civilrights.org

169 National, State, and Local Groups Call for a Highly Qualified and Established Leader as Census Bureau Director

WASHINGTON— The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and 168 national, state, and local organizations are urging President Trump to promptly nominate a highly qualified and widely respected professional to serve as the next Director of the U.S. Census Bureau. The Census Bureau is in dire need of a strong leader with the clout to advocate for the resources the Bureau needs to ensure a successful 2020 census.  The next director needs to provide stability through the final years of this decade, explain the importance of its mission compellingly, address Congress’s fiscal concerns, and be ready for full immersion in the important tasks at hand.

“An accurate and fair census, and the collection of useful, objective data about our nation’s people, housing, economy, and communities, is among the most important civil rights issues of our day. The resignation (effective June 30, 2017) of the current Census Director, John Thompson, will leave the premier U.S. statistical agency with a leadership vacuum less than three years before the start of the nation’s largest, most complex peacetime mobilization and less than one year before a critical ‘dress rehearsal’ of the full census process. Failure to fill this vacancy quickly could delay final design decisions and impair preparations for the 2020 Census. The Census Director also must oversee the conduct of the 2017 Economic Census, the source of all baseline data for our economic indicators and national income accounts, as well as efforts to strengthen and streamline the American Community Survey (ACS), which updates the census throughout the decade,” the letter states.

“A fair and accurate 2020 Census is a non-negotiable pillar of our representative democracy.” said Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “Fair political representation and equitable distribution of community resources are at stake for historically undercounted populations: communities of color, urban and rural low-income households, immigrants, and young children. A good census should not be a partisan issue. Congress and the administration must ensure that the incoming Director conducts the count with objectivity and integrity, and provides strong, knowledgeable leadership as the Bureau prepares for the 2020 Census. ”

The letter is available here.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.

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