Support for the nomination of Dr. Robert Groves as Director of the Census Bureau

Media 05.15.09

Recipient: Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

The Honorable Joseph I. Lieberman
Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Susan Collins
Ranking Member
Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Lieberman:

On behalf of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), the nation’s oldest, largest, and most diverse coalition of civil and human rights groups, with nearly 200 member organizations, we write to convey our strong support for the nomination of Dr. Robert Groves to be Director of the Census Bureau. We also urge that Dr. Groves’ nomination be approved as quickly as possible because the 2010 decennial census is now at a critical juncture, with preparations and outreach necessary to making the count a success already under way. With less than a year to go before the 2010 count officially begins, LCCR believes that the Census Bureau urgently needs a leader like Dr. Groves, who is familiar with the census and is ready to hit the ground running as leader of the Bureau.

Dr. Groves, a renowned academic in the field of survey methodology and a former census official, possesses a unique combination of management skill and scientific expertise. Dr. Groves worked for the Census Bureau during the 1990 census and has, throughout his career, handled both social science research and the management of academic institutions. Dr. Groves’ professional credentials are impeccable. Since 2001, his leadership and scholarship at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research lifted that program’s status and made it one of the nation’s premier survey research organizations. Notably, six nonpartisan scientific professional organizations have endorsed Dr. Groves’ nomination, citing his strong academic background. His work at the Census Bureau from 1990-1992 earned him bipartisan praise from six former census directors from administrations of both parties, who have noted his positive impact on improving the census and tout him as one of the foremost scholars in his field.

Dr. Groves’ expertise in survey methodology and his focus on improving survey response make him an especially good candidate in that he will be well-suited to helping improve the count in hard-to-count communities. For this reason, civil rights organizations, concerned about the accuracy of the count of minorities and the poor, have rallied in support of Dr. Groves.

Dr. Groves is among the most qualified and capable candidates for Census Director, and the Census Bureau requires strong leadership immediately to be able to move forward with implementation of the 2010 count. For these reasons, the Senate should move quickly to confirm Dr. Groves. Should you have any questions, please contact LCCR Census Task Force Co-Chairs Arturo Vargas at (213) 747-7606 or Terry Ao at (202) 296-2300 ext. 127, or Paul Edenfield, LCCR Counsel and Policy Analyst, at 202-263-2852.

Wade Henderson, President & CEO
Nancy Zirkin, Executive Vice President

cc: Committee Members