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The Commerce Blog

Secretary Locke Encourages Census Participation at New York Rally with Congressman Crowley

2010 Census logo. Click to go to Web site.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke joined Congressman Joseph Crowley for a 2010 Census meeting with New York community leaders. Locke and others rallied community leaders from the Bronx and Queens to make a “last call” for New Yorkers to participate in the 2010 Census. Although heavily populated, New York City is traditionally undercounted in the census, which causes the city and state to lose important federal funding. In 2000, only 57 percent of New York City households returned their census forms. Communities around the nation are focusing on getting residents to mail back their forms in a “March to the Mailbox” effort. (Remarks)

Commerce Department Releases Open Government Plan

Screenshot of Commerce's Open Government Website

In response to President Obama’s Open Government Directive, the Department of Commerce released its first iteration of its Open Government Plan. The plan creates a process for making more data available to the public and identifies three flagship Open Government initiatives that help make the Commerce Department more accessible and interactive. In a blog post on the Department’s Open Government Web site, Secretary Gary Locke noted that the plan, “establishes clear goals and benchmarks for success, and lays the foundation for continued work on increasing openness, participation and collaboration at Commerce in the months and years to come.” (Open Government Plan) (Open Government Web site) (Secretary’s post)

NOAA's GOES-15 Weather Satellite Captures Its First Image of Earth

View of Eath taken by GOES-15. Click for larger image.

GOES-15, launched on March 4 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, joins three other NOAA operational GOES spacecraft that help the agency's forecasters track life-threatening weather—from tornadoes, floods and hurricanes—and solar activity that can impact the satellite-based electronics and communications industry. The black and white full-disk image shows North and South America with a storm system visible across the United States, indicated by a drape of clouds from New England westward to the central Plains. Further west is a cold front over the Rocky Mountains. Mostly clear skies are seen over the mid-Atlantic, southeastern U.S., Gulf of Mexico, California and Mexico. (More)

Second Round of Census Forms Mailed to 40 Million Households

2010 Census logo. Click to go to Web site.

To reduce the estimated $2.7 billion cost of following up with households that fail to mail back their 2010 Census questionnaires, the U.S. Census Bureau has begun mailing second forms to approximately 40 million housing units in areas that had below-average response rates in the 2000 Census. “Census Bureau and a multitude of private sector research shows that sending a replacement questionnaire to households can significantly increase response rates in the end,” Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said. (More)

Rick Wade to Kick Off National Main Street Business Tour in Michigan

Wade on podium. Click for larger image.

Rick Wade, Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, will travel to Battle Creek and Jackson, Michigan to kick off a national tour that will take him to Main Streets across the country to meet with business leaders and hear directly from them about the challenges they face in this economy, taking their concerns and ideas back to Washington. Wade will meet one-on-one with business leaders, talk to larger groups at chambers of commerce and tour local plants and manufacturing centers during tour stops. (Remarks)

Norfolk, Va.-based NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson to Map Ocean Floor in Gulf of Mexico

Thomas Jefferson. Click for larger image.

Commerce’s NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson, one of the most technologically advanced hydrographic survey vessels in the world, will depart its Norfolk, Va. homeport on April 6 to conduct a five-month long effort to map the seafloor and look for hazards to navigation off the Gulf coast. “The Gulf of Mexico has been affected by a number of large hurricanes in recent years, and our work will pinpoint the resulting hazards and shoals in these busy waters,” said Cmdr. Shepard Smith, Thomas Jefferson’s commanding officer. (More)

Secretary Locke Visits Chicago, Outlines Plans to Create American Jobs Through Exporting

Secretary Locke with participants.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke is at the University of Chicago for an export promotion forum with U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin to discuss President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI) and what it will do to help U.S. companies, especially small- and medium-sized businesses, sell more of their goods and services overseas. Also speaking at the forum are U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, SBA Administrator Karen Mills, and Export-Import Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg. The NEI aims to double U.S. exports over the next five years while supporting two million American jobs. (Remarks)

Census Bureau Says It's Not Too Late to Mail Back 2010 Census Forms

2010 Census logo. Click to go to Web site.

As elected officials and community leaders across the nation take part in “Census Day” activities to increase local participation in the 2010 Census, the U.S. Census Bureau today announced that 54 percent of the nation’s estimated 134 million households have mailed back their census forms. While April 1 is officially designated as Census Day, the Census Bureau will continue to accept 2010 Census questionnaires by mail through mid-April. (More) (2010 Census Facts for Features) (Take 10 participation map)

Cities Across America Celebrate Census Day April 1 and Remind Residents to Mail Back Census Forms

Obama signing his form

White House photo

Communities nationwide are urging their residents to take 10 minutes today, April 1—Census Day—to fill out and mail back their 2010 Census forms if they haven’t already done so. As the official reference date for the once-a-decade civic ceremony, Census Day will serve as the point-in-time benchmark for the nation’s population count for the next 10 years. President Barack Obama recently signed and mailed in his Census form and today signed a presidential proclamation of Census Day. (More) (Census Day events—PDF) (Presidential proclamation)

Secretary Locke Explains Impact of New Health Care Legislation on Business

Portrait of Locke.

The Wall Street Journal today published an opinion piece by U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke on how reform of the American health care system will benefit businesses, helping them grow and become more competitive. “President Obama began his campaign to reform the American health-care system focused on three goals: protecting Americans' choice of doctors and health plans, assuring quality and affordable health care for all Americans, and reducing costs for families and businesses,” Locke wrote. (Opinion Editorial)