Kurt Hildebrand

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April 23, 2014
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Dentist: Pulling teeth easier than dissuading Census takers

A Gardnerville dentist is protesting an effort by the U.S. Department of Commerce to obtain information about him through the U.S. Census American Community Survey.

“This is a governmental department not allowed to canvas Americans,” Dr. Edward Gray said. “They are using a ridiculous statute as an excuse to give themselves the right to do this.”

In a letter that appeared in Friday’s edition of The Record-Courier, Gray said surveyors are calling him at his house and sending him letters. The next step is that they will come to his house.

He has written letters to Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., seeking their help in stopping what he calls an invasion of his privacy.

“The degree of sensitive personal information required by this 28-page survey, coupled with your very thin legal justification for canvassing Americans makes me very uncomfortable.”

In a March 24 letter to Gray, Heller reassured him that his answers would be kept confidential, and only used for statistics.

“I understand your opposition to filling out the (survey) as part of the U.S. Census,” Heller wrote. “You may be interested to learn that Sen. Rand Paul introduced legislation which would make participation in the complete (survey) voluntary.”

Heller said that legislation has been referred to committee and that if it came up for a vote in the Senate, he would keep Gray’s concerns in mind.

According to Heller’s office, the survey was implemented to replace the decennial long form used to obtain demographic, housing, social and economic information. More familiar is the Census short form which collects basic information.

Heller points out that participation in the Census is required by law.

However, Gray’s research into the issue indicates that it’s unlikely he will be prosecuted by the Census Bureau.

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The Record Courier Updated Apr 23, 2014 08:44AM Published Apr 23, 2014 08:44AM Copyright 2014 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.