Friday, December 1, 2023

Edmondson: More reasons why the Census is important

Dianne Edmondson, Precinct 4 County Commissioner

As you may recall, last month we discussed the financial ramifications of the upcoming census. We learned that for even just a 1% undercount, Denton County would lose more than a million dollars a year in federal and state funds for roads, bridges and schools in our county. Obviously, an undercount should definitely be avoided.

More Congressional Members for Texas?

Additionally, accurate governmental representation for Denton County citizens depends upon an accurate census count. The national House of Representatives consists of 435 members, equally divided among the 50 states, based on population, with Texas having 36 members of Congress.  As the Lone Star state – particularly North Texas – continues to attract people from other states to our low-tax, low cost-of-living area, other states lose population. Experts predict that Texas will pick up three to four of those Congressional seats, most likely causing California and New York – both high-tax, high cost-of-living states – to lose seats in the House of Representatives. That re-balancing of the Congress will result in the Texas values those new Congressional members most likely will have strengthening our state’s influence in Washington, D.C.  However, a recent Reuters study reveals that the large metropolitan areas are trending more liberal while the more rural areas remain more conservative, so our new members of Congress may or may not think like traditional Texans.

Due to North Texas’ hyper growth, it is likely that one of the new Congressional seats will include all or part of this area. The exact location of any new Congressional seats will be determined by the Texas state legislature, which will redraw the state’s Congressional districts in 2021 based upon the 2020 census numbers. Control of that redistricting process will be determined in large part by the 2020 elections of our state Representatives and state Senators in November. In addition to the Congressional seats, the legislature is mandated to redraw its own boundaries for the 31 state senators and 150 state Representatives.

Another State Rep. for Denton County?

Denton County is currently split between two state Senators (Nelson and Fallon) and among four state Representatives (Stucky, Parker, Patterson and Beckley) and we may get another state Representative seat during that redistricting process. The resulting new district lines should be drawn in time for the March 2022 primary elections.

The legislature also will be redrawing the districts for the Texas State Board of Education’s 15 seats, who are elected for four-year terms by Texas voters. This Board sets policy and standards for the state’s public schools, including curriculum and instructional material.

16 County Office Holders Districts Change

Other boundaries also will change within the county. Not our county-wide office holders, of course, but our districted ones including our four County Commissioners, and our six Constables and Justices of the Peace. Those lines will be determined by the Commissioners Court, again based on the 2020 census numbers for each of those districts (also known as Precincts for Commissioners, Constables and Justices of the Peace.)

All these population-based changes are compliant with the American principle of one person, one vote.

Census Critical in Many Ways

So, as you can see, there are many ramifications from the 2020 census and it’s very important for all of us — citizens or not, adults or children — to be counted. Your census form should arrive before April 1 and you can fill it out immediately either by hand or online. If you don’t have access to a computer, some will be set up in various county buildings, such as our courthouses, to allow census-only access for Denton County residents. Please do your part to be sure we have an accurate census count — so very much depends upon that! Thanks!

If you would like to receive an e-newsletter, please contact  Commissioner Edmondson at [email protected]. You may phone her at 972-434-3960 or visit her office in the Southwest Courthouse, 6200 Canyon Falls Drive, Suite 900 in Flower Mound.

CTG Staff
CTG Staff
The Cross Timbers Gazette News Department

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