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July 2009
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Mayor Greg Nickels left office on January 1, 2010.
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Together, we can make sure everyone is counted

Our city owes much of its strength and success to the cultural and ethnic diversity we embrace. As Seattle prepares for the 2010 census, it’s important that each and every person in our community is counted.

Historically, communities of color have been difficult to reach in past census counts, perhaps due to language barriers or a lack of awareness. That’s why I am announcing the formation of a Seattle Complete Count Committee to reach out and explain the importance of having every person counted in Seattle.

On Saturday, July 11, I ask you to join me for the kick-off of Seattle’s Complete Count Committee. We will gather at the Wing Luke Museum, 719 South King Street, at 10:30 a.m.

I am pleased to name three respected committee co-chairs who will help guide this important effort: Former Seattle Mayor Norman B. Rice, currently the President of the Seattle Foundation; Former Councilmember Martha Choe, currently the Chief Administrative Officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and Rogelio Riojas, Founder/President/CEO of SeaMar Community Health Clinics.

Every ten years, the U.S. Census conducts a count of everyone living in the United States. The data determines how more than $300 billion in federal funding is distributed annually to states, cities and tribal areas. The Washington State Office of Financial Management estimates that Washington State loses about $800 each year in federal funding from each person that is not counted. That is federal funding that is not coming to our communities to provide vital services.

Census information also is important in helping planners determine where to locate our schools, day-care centers, roads and public transportation, hospitals and other facilities, and is used to make decisions concerning business growth and housing needs. In addition, an accurate census count determines how many seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as the redistricting of state legislators, county and city councils and voting districts.

The Seattle Complete Count Committee, will soon begin reaching out to local ethnic communities, distributing promotional materials in 18 languages and informative guides in more than 50 languages. The 2010 Census also will be available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean and Russian. The 2010 Census will have one of the shortest census questionnaires in its history, 10 questions, and will take about 10 minutes on average to complete. The answers are protected by law and strictly confidential.

Working together, let’s make sure the 2010 Census reaches everyone and that our diverse community is properly recognized. I hope you can join us on July 11 and support the Committee’s efforts over the next year. Thank you!