HomePoliticsTom Sawyer, Congressman Who Challenged Census Undercount, Dies at 77 - UnlistedNews

Tom Sawyer, Congressman Who Challenged Census Undercount, Dies at 77 – UnlistedNews

Tom Sawyer, an eight-term Democratic congressman from Ohio whose concern that the 1990 census had missed more than two million black Americans prompted the federal government to improve its subsequent population counts, died May 20 in a nursing facility in Akron. He was 77 years old.

His wife, Joyce (Handler) Sawyer, said the cause was Parkinson’s disease.

Mr. Sawyer was chairman of the House Post Office and Civil Service Census and Population Subcommittee when he cited evidence of the undercount and urged the Census Bureau to adjust the count. Conducted every 10 years, the count determines the distribution of seats in Congress and the distribution of billions of dollars in federal spending among the states.

The bureau director at the time, Barbara Everitt Bryant (who died in March), had originally recommended an adjustment despite the statistical challenges that would have involved. However, Commerce Secretary Robert A. Mosbacher overturned it, saying that while it might be possible to make the national count more accurate, adjusting the local figures on which the apportionment is based could lead to additional miscalculation.

Mr. Sawyer denounced Mr. Mosbacher’s decision as a “nationwide bypass”.

Declaring that he had found a “real consensus that planning ahead for the year 2000 will improve the process,” Sawyer successfully urged Congress to order a study by the National Academy of Sciences on how the office could do a more accurate count. accurate.

In 1990, the undercount, which was believed to have affected the nation’s oldest cities in the Northeast as well as industrial Midwestern cities like Akron, was originally estimated at 2.1 percent and later revised. to about 1.6 percent. In 2000, with new procedures established by the bureau, inspired in part by the National Academy study, the undercount was said to have been only about 0.49 percent.

Mr. Sawyer served in local, state and national offices for nearly five decades. He was a member of the Ohio House of Representatives from 1977 to 1983, Mayor of Akron from 1984 to 1986, Congressman from Northeast Ohio from 1987 to 2003, and a member of the Ohio State Senate from 2007 to 2016.

In Congress, he voted against strict welfare legislation (officially the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act) signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996. In 2003, he opposed the deployment of US forces in Iraq.

Speaking from the House floor, he also dismissed President Clinton’s accusation, quoting Sir Thomas More, who was executed in 1535 for his religious beliefs, as saying: “It is not my actions but the thoughts of my heart that have haunted me. “It is a long road you have blazed. God help the statesmen who walk your path.”

Thomas Charles Sawyer was born in Akron on August 15, 1945. His mother, Jean (Galloway) Sawyer, was a dietitian at a hospital. His father, who was president of a firm that made industrial fans, was called Furman, but everyone called him Tom, after the Mark Twain character. The couple decided that since his son would likely end up with the same nickname, they might as well call him Thomas.

Mr. Sawyer earned a bachelor’s degree in English in 1968 and a master’s degree in urban education in 1970, both from the University of Akron. He began his career as a teacher in Cleveland before being elected to the state Legislature in 1977, where he was instrumental in reforming legislative redistricting to curb the influence of partisan politics.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by his daughter, Amanda Kraus. He lived in Akron.


Sara Marcus
Sara Marcushttps://unlistednews.com
Meet Sara Marcus, our newest addition to the Unlisted News team! Sara is a talented author and cultural critic, whose work has appeared in a variety of publications. Sara's writing style is characterized by its incisiveness and thought-provoking nature, and her insightful commentary on music, politics, and social justice is sure to captivate our readers. We are thrilled to have her join our team and look forward to sharing her work with our readers.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments