For many Kentuckians, Tuesday, October 1st, 2013 was just another day, but not for me. It was the day that I realized that the shutdown of the federal government would limit my ability to fulfill the primary role of my job – utilizing timely data to advocate for Kentucky’s children. At Kentucky Youth Advocates, we champion the idea that data-based policymaking and decision-making is vital in making sure every child in Kentucky is given an opportunity to succeed. We know that in order to make Kentucky the best place in America to be young, we have to have access to invaluable data rooted in sound methodology provided by the U.S. Census Bureau.
As of October 1st, a wide swath of data is unavailable due to the federal government shutdown. For weeks leading up to that day the public was flooded with predictions via the 24-hour infotainment cycle of non-substantive yammering regarding what that day would bring. However, not until that day did I realize the impact in a truly tangible sense. Whether you blame Senator Cruz or President Obama for shutting down America’s federal government is frankly irrelevant. What is relevant is that the never-ending effort to stand up for Kentucky’s kids is thwarted by this reality.
The bottom line is that I need access to these data to do my job. Businesses need access to these data to make better informed business decisions. Your community needs these data to enable better planning and delivery of services. And, Kentucky’s children need these data to thrive. We all need access to these data now. And that is just one of the reasons that we must end this shutdown now!