Commission Meets on State Census Strategy

On Jan. 9, New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way chaired the first meeting of the New Jersey Complete Count Commission at the War Memorial in Trenton. The Commission was established by a bill signed into law by the Governor on August 24, 2018, and tasked with developing, recommending, and assisting in the administration of a census outreach strategy to encourage full participation in the 2020 federal decennial census.

“A fair and accurate census is the most fundamental measure of democracy in our State,” said Governor Murphy. “Despite efforts across the country to suppress an accurate count, New Jersey has begun the hard work of ensuring full participation and avoiding undercounting in communities.”

The Commission is comprised 27 members, including its chair, Secretary of State Tahesha Way, as well as NJBIA President and CEO Michele Siekerka.

“As chairperson of the Commission, I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure New Jerseyans are counted,” said Secretary of State Tahesha Way. “This is of paramount importance as the census will determine congressional representation and the allocation of billions of dollars in federal funding for services within our communities. It is a formidable task, but we are determined to see the Garden State receives its fair share.”

The Commission is tasked with creating a strategy to ensure an accurate and complete count of New Jersey’s population with a particular focus on hard-to-count populations including African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, Asian Americans, non-native English speakers, the homeless and indigent, college students, children under age 5, men aged 18 – 49, and the elderly, among others.

The 27-member commission represents various municipalities, civic and community organizations, and other groups from across the Garden State. In addition, no more than 14 members of the bipartisan commission can come from the same political party.

At Wednesday’s meeting, Way administered the oath of office to the commissioners and Jeff Behler, Regional Director, U.S. Census Bureau, gave a presentation on the role of Complete Count Committees and discussed census confidentiality, the citizenship question, and hard-to-count community outreach.

The Commission’s intent is to submit a report to Governor Murphy within six months of its organizing meeting and then a final report no later than June 30, 2019.

The commission members include:

The Hon. Tahesha Way, Chair

The Hon. Jon Bramnick
The Hon. Nia Gill
The Hon. Verlina Reynolds Jackson
The Hon. Yvonne Lopez
The Hon. Gabriela M. Mosquera
The Hon. Nilsa Cruz-Perez
The Hon. Nellie Pou
Theodore Conrad
Len Preston
The Hon. Douglas R. Cabana
The Hon. James L. Cassella
Reverend Kenneth Darryl Ray Clayton
Sara Z. Cullinane, Esq.
Eileen De Freece-Wilson
The Hon. Maura R. DeNicola
Maria Bonita Duncan
Reva Foster
Gail B. Gordon, Esq.
George Gore
Michael E. Greene, Esq.
Stacy A. Johnson
Laura E. Matos
Gualberto (Gil) Medina
Mary L. Rivera
Michele N. Siekerka, Esq.
Terry Tucker

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