DeLeon Urges All DoD Personnel to Answer the Census
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va., March 13, 2000 "Because we count!" was the succinct message from Elizabeth Harrington, a sixth grader at the Middle School here, about why Census 2000 is important to Americans.
Rudy deLeon, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness and President Clinton's nominee as deputy defense secretary, visited the school system here March 13 to encourage those affiliated with the military to respond to the census. He spoke with 17 sixth graders of Linda Reed's social studies class.
DeLeon told the children that the Census Bureau estimates there are 274 million Americans today. The bureau will employ more than 860,000 people to ensure an accurate count. In answer to his question, the children said that California and Texas are the two largest states today. He told them that when the government conducted the first census in 1790, there were 7 million Americans and the largest states were Virginia and New York.
He urged the students to tell their parents about Census 2000 and to ask them to fill out the forms when they arrive.
"The census is important because it is the way the government decides how to divide up the tax money to the states," said Alphonso Maldon Jr., assistant defense secretary for force management policy, who accompanied deLeon. He said the government uses census information to divide up $185 billion per year to the states and local governments.
The governments use the information to figure out how many schools to build and where, where to place hospitals and how to delineate the districts of the House of Representatives, Maldon said. Private companies use census data to place their businesses, he noted.
"How many of you like amusement parks?" he asked. All the kids raised their hands. "The owners of the parks use census data to place them."
DeLeon, Maldon and base commander Brig. Gen. Leif Hendrickson also visited Jeannie Brown's first-grade class. The 13 children there had a Census 2000 book all done up with an eagle on the cover. DeLeon again urged the children to ask their parents to fill out the census forms.
"The form will arrive and your parents will be busy," he said. "But you need to tell them how important this is for you and for all Americans."