Complete Count Committee to Conduct Outreach, Raise Awareness About 2020 Census

Poughkeepsie, NY …Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro today announced the formation of Dutchess County’s “Complete Count” Committee to raise awareness about the upcoming 2020 census. Committee members represent various organizations from throughout Dutchess County and have a broad range of experience in community outreach. The committee will be working with other civic-minded organizations and local governments to ensure people understand the census process and participate in the census to ensure Dutchess County is accurately represented in the count.

Molinaro noted state and county legislative districts will be redrawn based on the census numbers. Census information also is used when communities plan various important efforts, from providing health services to assessing transportation needs. 

“We want to ensure every person in Dutchess County is counted for the upcoming census.  People have the right to be accurately represented,” said County Executive Molinaro. “Census results also determine how more than $675 billion in federal funds are distributed annually, so there is a direct financial impact to ensuring an accurate count. We have assembled a strong and diverse team for the Complete Count Committee and we are grateful to each of them for volunteering to promote and encourage census participation.”

The census asks questions that provide a snapshot of the nation. The federal government undertakes this initiative every 10 years as required by the Constitution. The goal is to count people once, only once and in the right place according to where they live as of Census Day, April 1. There will be three options to respond: online, by phone, or by mail.  Filling out the census is simple and 2020 marks the first time people can complete it online, making it easier than ever. 

Census information is confidential. All Census Bureau employees take an oath of nondisclosure and are sworn for life to protect the confidentiality of the data. The penalty for unlawful disclosure is a fine of up to $250,000 or imprisonment of up to five years, or both.

The Complete Count Committee will promote the census through locally based, targeted outreach efforts and participate in local community events. The committee seeks to ensure people are aware that the census is confidential and protected under federal law, as well as answer questions and address any concerns.

The Complete Count Committee will be chaired by John Penney, Community Engagement/Communications for Dutchess County and City of Poughkeepsie. Other members of the committee include the following community stakeholders:  

  • Brian Doyle, Chief Executive Officer of Family Services Inc.
  • Jennifer Drake, Senior Program Officer of The Dyson Foundation
  • Karen Dipnarine-Saroop, Executive Director of Dutchess County Interfaith Council
  • Eva Woods Peiró, Professor of Hispanic studies at Vassar College
  • Brian Riddell, Executive Director of Dutchess Outreach
  • Jonathan Bix, Executive Director of Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson
  • Seema Rizvi, Representative of the Dutchess County Human Rights Commission
  • Tom Lawrence, Director of Poughkeepsie Public Library District
  • Maffy Malaver, Director of ABC Latino
  • L’Quette Taylor, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Community Matters 2
  • Mario Johnson, Project Coordinator of Empire State After-School Extended Learning Time Program, Poughkeepsie City School District
  • Christine Sergent, Executive Director of North East Community Center
  • Danny Hairston, Coordinator of The Family Services SNUG program
  • Gabriela Owen, Latino organizer

The Complete Count Committee held its organizational meeting last night and begin hosting public meetings and events later this summer. Committee members will attend local upcoming events, including the Dutchess County Latin American Festival on July 27th and the La Guelaguetza Festival on August 4th, both at Waryas Park in the City of Poughkeepsie.