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For Immediate Release:
Contact: Mario H. Lopez
(301) 457-5080

Georgia Leaders Say Local Commitment Increase...

ATLANTA – The members of the bipartisan U.S. Census Monitoring Board today heard from leaders representing community and faith-based organizations, elected officials, government and corporate leaders detail their efforts to ensure greater census participation among the diverse and growing population of Georgia.  Their comments came during a public hearing held by the Board to gather information on innovative programs and activities that improved the census count at the local and state level.

Testimony from the hearing in Atlanta will be used in a future report to Congress by the Board, which was established by Congress in 1997 to monitor the preparation and implementation of the 2000 decennial census.  The Board is comprised of eight members – four appointed by Congress and four by the President.  The hearing was held at the Georgia Capitol Education Center in Atlanta and hosted by Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox whose office coordinated Census 2000 activities for Governor Roy Barnes and the state.  It featured presentations by a variety of officials representing local and state governments, community organizations, and the corporate sector involved in Census 2000 activities in the cities of Atlanta, Dalton, Valdosta and the state of Georgia.

“The presentations by these leaders from throughout Georgia provide an excellent example of local, state and community leaders working together to meet the challenges of counting a diverse and growing population,” said J. Kenneth Blackwell, Co-Chair for the Congressional Members of the Board.  “The innovative programs and activities they implemented can serve as a model for other communities and states throughout the country for the next census.”

“This hearing affirms the importance of community partnerships to a successful census effort,” said Gilbert F. Casellas, Co-Chair for the Presidential members of the Board.  “Both the state of Georgia and local communities throughout the state made firm commitments to a successful census, and their efforts appear to have paid off.”

“We applaud the work of the numerous faith-based and community-based organizations, government and business leaders, local Chambers and the many others who helped Georgia achieve one of the best census efforts in the country,” said Atlanta attorney Joe D. Whitley, a Congressional Member of the Board.

Those making presentations at Monday’s hearings included: The Honorable Cathy Cox, Georgia Secretary of State; Jim Holmes, Atlanta Regional Director, U.S. Census Bureau; Tracy-Ann Nelson, Office of Georgia Governor Roy Barnes; Lani Wong, Asian American Coalition; Josephine Tan, Georgia Power; Jacqueline Thomas-Rosier, Mexican-American Legal Defense & Education Fund (MALDEF); Luz Roman, Fulton-Atlanta Community Action Authority.

Other presenters included: Gloria Carithers, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority; Myrna Ballard, Valdosta Chamber of Commerce; Phyllis Stephens, Dalton-Whitfield County Chamber of Commerce; Rafael Sanhueza-Bazaes, Centro Latino, Inc. of Dalton; the Reverend Timothy McDonald, First Iconium Baptist Church; and Linda Meggers, Georgia Institute of Technology.