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Blog Entries from July 2009

Secretary Locke: 'Trade is Good for America, Good for the Global Marketplace'

Photo of Locke on podium.

File Photo

In remarks to the Washington International Trade Association, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke laid out his prescriptions for how the department can help increase and improve American trade and exports. “The trade priorities I’ve discussed tonight—visa reform, export controls review, intellectual property protection, intergovernmental cooperation and trade promotion—will help U.S. companies increase exports, while setting the country on a path to long-term, sustainable growth that creates jobs here at home.” (More)

Locke Statement on President Obama's Intent to Nominate Hightower as Commerce Deputy Secretary

Department of Commerce seal.

President Barack Obama today announced his intent to nominate Dennis Hightower, an experienced management professional with more than 30 years of experience, as the new Deputy Secretary at the Department of Commerce. “Dennis is a proven leader with management skills honed through years of real world experience,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “I have tasked him to make this department a leader among cabinet agencies in efficiency and reform.” Secretary Locke recommended Hightower to the President after an intensive search process. (More) (White House press release)

Dr. Robert Groves Sworn In as New Census Director in Public Ceremony

Secretary Locke, Mrs. Groves and Groves at swearing in.

Robert M. Groves, Ph.D., was sworn in as the 23rd Director of the U.S. Bureau of the Census by U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke in a public ceremony at Census Bureau Headquarters. Groves, a highly respected expert in the field of survey methodology, takes the helm of the agency at a critical time as it makes final preparations for the 2010 Census. In his remarks, Locke said, "Directing the 2010 Census demanded someone with outstanding academic credentials and management skills. Bob Groves clearly fits the bill." Also present for the event were Dr. Rebecca Blank, Under Secretary for Economic Affairs, and seven former Census Directors. (More) (Groves Bio)

Secretary Locke Co-Chairs U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum

Image of Locke and participants seated at table. Click for larger image.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs Michael Froman co-chaired the fourth U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum. Locke and Froman co-chaired the meeting with Brazilian Presidential Chief of Staff Minister Dilma Rousseff and Minister of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade Miguel Jorge. The Forum, made up of 20 CEOs from the two countries, meets twice a year to make recommendations on ways to strengthen the U.S.-Brazil economic relationship. Pictured here are Locke and participants in the morning session Tuesday.

NIST Awards $55.5 Million in Grants for New University Research Facilities

NIST logo.

Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced that it was awarding a total of over $55 million in grants to four universities for the construction of new scientific research facilities. The grants, which were funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, are contributing to four major construction projects to build state-of-the-art laboratory facilities devoted to a broad range of research topics, including the study of improved construction techniques to reduce losses from hurricanes, improved technologies for aquaculture, better methods and information to help preserve and maintain marine ecosystems, and advanced physics research in areas such as biophysics and nanoengineering. (More)

Census Bureau: Voter Turnout Increases by 5 Million in 2008 Presidential Election

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Census Bureau seal.

About 131 million people reported voting in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, an increase of 5 million from 2004, according to a new table package released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. The increase included about 2 million more black voters, 2 million more Hispanic voters and about 600,000 more Asian voters, while the number of non-Hispanic white voters remained statistically unchanged. Additionally, voters 18 to 24 were the only age group to show a statistically significant increase in turnout, reaching 49 percent in 2008 compared with 47 percent in 2004. (More)

Secretary Locke Praises Showcase for American Companies in China

Secretary Locke is pictured with other officials with shovels at groundbreaking ceremony. Click for larger image.

Secretary Gary Locke joins Chinese and American counterterparts to break ground at the USA Pavilion, which will serve as a model showcase for American innovation at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai. “The United States and China have many areas of friendship and cooperation, and I believe that our USA Pavilion will provide many insights into American life, culture and our people that will intrigue the millions of Chinese visitors expected at the Expo,” Locke said. (Remarks)

Statement From Undersecretary Blank on Housing Permits and Starts for June 2009

Department of Commerce seal.

The Department of Commerce's U.S. Census Bureau today reported that permits to build privately-owned new housing units rose 8.7 percent in June 2009, well above the expectation for a 1.9-percent rise. Housing starts rose 3.6 percent, better than the expectation of no change for the month. Today’s stronger numbers reflect an increasing confidence—the percent of households who recognize that this is a good time to buy a house has risen over the last year. While the economic environment remains challenging, continued Recovery Act investment into the economy should encourage growth in a range of industries including the housing sector. (Statement)

NOAA: Global Ocean Surface Temperature Warmest on Record for June

Image of Earth featuring oceans. Click for larger image.

The world’s ocean surface temperature was the warmest on record for June, breaking the previous high mark set in 2005, according to a preliminary analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., a bureau of the Department of Commerce. Additionally, the combined average global land and ocean surface temperature for June was the second-warmest on record. The global records began in 1880. (More) (National Climatic Data Center)

NIST's LIDAR May Offer Peerless Precision in Remote Measurements

Image of Earth, Mars, the Moon and  and the sun. Click for video.

By combining the best of two different distance measurement approaches with a super-accurate technology called an optical frequency comb, researchers at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have built a laser ranging system that can pinpoint multiple objects with nanometer precision over distances up to 100 kilometers. The novel LIDAR (“light detection and ranging”) system could have applications from precision manufacturing lines on Earth to maintaining networks of satellites in perfect formation, creating a giant space-based platform to search for new planets. (More) (Video)