Rep. Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma): Weekly Chat - July 23, 2020

Rep. Tom Cole: Get counted

Enshrined in Article I, Section 2 of the United States Constitution is the mandate that the nation’s population get counted every 10 years.

Since 1790, this undertaking, known as the U.S. Census, has occurred at the start of every decade. Though the process has evolved and been streamlined over more than two centuries, the success and accuracy of every census ultimately rests with participation. While the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted and delayed a great many things this year, the 2020 U.S. Census is still underway, and your engagement is critical and requires very little effort.

Back in March, you should have received a short questionnaire from the U.S. Census Bureau in the mail. If your household has not already mailed back the completed form or submitted your information another way, it only takes a few minutes. Note that you should be prepared to answer the questions about you and your household as of Census Day, or April 1, 2020.

To respond by mail, simply fill out the form and drop it in the mail. If you’re unsure the questionnaire is legitimate or there’s an issue with it, the U.S. Census Bureau has sample copies of mailings sent to households as well as answers to common questions at If you’d rather respond by phone, just dial (844) 330-2020. And to submit your household’s questionnaire online, simply visit

Whether you respond to the census by mail, phone or online, know that your input helps paint a more complete picture of the current and changing needs in our communities and across the state. Moreover, an accurate population count ensures adequate representation. In fact, the number of seats per state in the U.S. House of Representatives is directly tied to the results of the census.

Beyond determining representation, accurate population data also helps ensure federal funding is properly allocated and disbursed to states to support public services like infrastructure, law enforcement, education, health care and numerous other federal programs. When households don’t participate in the census, it can mean less funding than needed for projects and the loss of congressional seats. However, it can also save hardworking taxpayer dollars as the changing needs of the U.S. population are addressed.

Finally, your participation in the 2020 Census is not only helpful to you, your household and your community, it is required by law that everyone living in the United States and our five territories get counted. In fact, census takers will follow up in person with households that don’t respond. If you have questions, please visit You can also call my office at (405) 329-6500.

But please don’t wait any longer to be a part of the count.

Tom Cole, a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, is serving his eighth term in Congress as the elected representative of Oklahoma's 4th Congressional District. He is recognized as an advocate for taxpayers and small business, a proponent for a strong national defense and a leader in promoting biomedical research. He is considered the foremost expert in the House on issues dealing with Native Americans and tribal governments. He and his wife, Ellen, have one son, Mason, and reside in Moore, Oklahoma.

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