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Readers’ Views

Make Census count

To the Editor:

As with every year ending in zero, the U.S. Census Bureau performs the decennial census. The 2020 Census is going to be a little different. Minimal mailings will take place, and most information will be collected digitally (online).

In March, individuals will receive up to three invitations by mail. If a response is not received, the Census Bureau will have papers dropped off at the person’s home. Census takers will not be door-knocking, just dropping off information and encouraging individuals to complete the census online.

One of the most challenging groups of people to count are older adults who live in rural communities. What follows are a few helpful hints to ensure everyone is counted.

Do you know someone needing assistance filling out the 2020 Census online? Direct them to their nearest Questionnaire Assistance Center. Many QACs are located at libraries and other community facilities.

Avoid being scammed. Every Census official will have an identification badge that any individual can ask to see. Census takers will not ask for the following information:

o Social Security Numbers

o Bank Information

o Political Affiliation

o Donations

Finally, the Census not only relates to how many representatives we can have in Congress, but it is also tied to funding. Roughly $2,800 per person per year is tied to funding for programs within our state. The census is critical to state and federal funding of services.

Shape your future. Make sure you are counted. More information can be found at www.2020census.gov

Jason W. Swanson,

executive director

Minnesota River Area

Agency on Aging

Mankato

Twin Cities crime up

To the Editor:

With violent crime on the rise in our inner cities, I am supporting a House Republican plan that will keep Minnesotans safe.

We’ve spent hundreds of millions on light rail and people from southern Minnesota are afraid to get on it when they visit the Twin Cities. It’s time to put more cops on the streets and put some resources into ending drug trafficking and gang violence.

The Minneapolis StarTribune recently reported that two thirds of neighborhoods in Minneapolis saw an increase in overall crime in 2019, including a 70 percent spike in the Minneapolis Downtown East neighborhood. 2019 saw an all-time high in serious crimes committed on Metro Transit Light Rail, and St. Paul saw a doubling in the homicide rate in 2019, much of it connected to gang violence.

In addition, Minnesota’s Violence Crime Enforcement Teams saw major increases in the amounts of meth, heroin and cocaine compared to 201, much of it being trafficked by gangs and produced and smuggled into the United States by Mexican drug cartels.

The House GOP plan would provide stronger penalties for gang members who use firearms in commission of a crime; allocate additional funds to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for gang and drug trafficking efforts; require cities with regional or statewide sports and entertainment facilities to have adequate law enforcement near those venues or risk losing Local Government Aid from the state; increase enforcement of fare evasion; increase sworn officers for Metro Transit police; install interactive cameras on light rail platforms; and prohibit cities from disarming officers in good standing.

Every night people turn on the news and see another violent crime happening in the Twin Cities. The public wants lawmakers to do something about it, and this public safety package is a good first step.

State Rep. Bob Gunther,

R-Fairmont

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