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BRAD STAMAN: Do your constitutional duty

BRAD STAMAN: Do your constitutional duty

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There has been a great deal of focus on the United States Constitution recently, especially in regards to the First and Second Amendments, however right now the attention needs to shift to Article I, Section 2.

Our Founding Fathers put together an amazing plan for running a government. The plan placed the power, not in the hands of a few, but in the control of the citizens of this great country. Within the plan, Article I, Section 2, calls for a count of every person living in the United States of America every 10 years.

Governments prior to the United States and even some today would call for a census in order to tax individuals, confiscate property or conscript young people into the military. This was not to be the case in this new country. Instead our Founding Fathers wanted the census to be used as a tool to give the people power over their government.

The number of people in a state would determine the number of representatives each state would have in newly formed House of Representatives. The more people counted in the census, the more representatives each area would have.

The first census took place in 1790 and has continued every 10 years since. This, 2020, is one such year.

For those who believe in the importance of the Constitution, being counted is important. To ignore Article I, Section 2 would be no different than ignoring one or all of the Amendments, including the First and/or Second Amendments.

Why is the count important?

There are a number of things the census is used for, but the establishment of congressional districts is the main reason the founders of this nation put it in the Constitution. The goal was to give citizens a representative voice in their government.

When the first census was taken in 1790, the number of citizens per congressional district averaged 33,000. That number has risen to over 700,000 as of 2018.

Nebraska became the 37th state on March 1, 1867. At that time we were given one representative based off the 1860 census. Following the 1870 census we had three representatives. Ten years later we jumped to six following the 1880 census. After the count was complete in 1930 we lost one, and one more lost after the 1940 census, leaving us with four congressional districts. Once the 1960 census was completed, we lost one more, bringing us to our present number of congressional representatives, three.

Following the 2010, census Iowa lost a representative in congress, while Florida gained two. Nebraska has held steady for the last 60 years at three.

Our neighbors to the north, South Dakota, and those to the west, Wyoming, each have only one representative.

Following the census, there will be a redistricting of legislative boundaries within the state. If one area sees growth, that area could see a new district formed while if another district sees decline that district could be absorbed into another district.

The census will also determine the amount of money a community will receive from federal programs. According to David Drozd, a research coordinator at the University of Nebraska at Omaha it is estimated each person will bring back $2,100 to the state each year.

If you have yourself, a spouse and two kids you are looking at $8,400 a year, $84,000 over the 10 years of the census, which could come back to repair roads, bridges, etc. And all you need to do is fill out the census report.

The final day to fill out the 2020 census is Sept. 30, which was recently moved up from Oct. 31.

If you haven’t been counted yet, do so today by going online to my2020census.gov and fill out the simple questionnaire.

With the rural/urban divide widening within the state and the nation, taxes increasing and funds becoming harder and harder to find, it is vital every Nebraskan do their constitutional duty and be counted in the 2020 census.

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