Walsh taps Zapata as Boston’s Census liaision

With federal funding and representation possibly on the line, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh has tapped an aide to oversee the 2020 US.Census to ensure all Boston residents are properly counted.

Sebastian Zapata, who most recently served as City Hall’s deputy director of state relations but has also worked in the State House, has been named Boston’s census liaison in the Office of Intergovernmental Relations. In the new role, Zapata will “work to ensure all of Boston’s residents are counted for the 2020 Census to guarantee accurate representation, updated legislative districts, and crucial federal funding,” the mayor’s office said.

Secretary of State William Galvin, who leads the state’s efforts around the US Census, has said the two greatest challenges to an accurate count of the people living in Massachusetts are the high number of immigrants who speak an array of languages and a large number of college students, both of which come into play in Boston. The 10-year count of people living in the United States is used to determine levels of political representation and forms the basis of eligibility for federal programs and funding for education, housing and transportation infrastructure. Galvin has predicted that Massachusetts will retain all nine of its seats in Congress with an accurate count in 2020.

Zapata worked previously as program director for the Alliance for Business Leadership. He is a former legislative aide to Jamaica Plain Rep. Elizabeth Malia and previously worked as a field organizer for Martha Coakley’s 2014 gubernatorial campaign and as Latino vote director for Felix Arroyo’s 2013 Boston mayoral campaign. He graduated from UMass Amherst.