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Remarks at the Census Bureau National Partnership Briefing

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AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY

Monday, March 30, 2008

CONTACT OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS

202-482-4883

Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke
Remarks at the Census Bureau National Partnership Briefing
Washington, D.C.

Thank you all for gathering in the nation’s capital to join hands with the Census Bureau and the Department of Commerce in promoting one of our nation’s most important and sacred civic events.

Today is my first day on the job, my first day at Commerce, and it’s a measure of the priority the Census is for me and my department, not to mention my appreciation of the work you do, that I’m here this morning.

I know this is a sacrifice. You don’t get paid for the work you do on behalf of the Census Bureau. You do it because you understand and believe in the tenets of equality and full representation—regardless of economic status, race, or ethnic origin—that are the foundation of the Census.

The Census is the origin of our democracy and must include everyone.

I’m going to make sure the Census Bureau has the independent leadership it deserves and the professional oversight the American people demand.

In 2000, the Census Bureau had more than 140,000 partners who helped encourage the residents of the United States to stand up and be counted.

For the 2010 Census, we will mobilize a broad and diverse coalition of trusted members of the community to reach out to all Americans, especially those who are least likely to be counted.

The Census Bureau depends on volunteers like you, from every corner of this country.

It is your familiar, trusted voice that will help us succeed. We need you active in your communities—in your churches, schools, soup kitchens, businesses, homeless shelters, community centers, and food banks; in the newspaper; on radio, TV, and the Internet—educating residents about the Census.

It’s our job to let Americans know that taking part in the Census is important, easy and safe.

Residents must know that their information is secure. It is illegal for the Census Bureau to share personal information with anyone. That includes law enforcement agencies, the IRS, the FBI, and immigration or welfare officials.

And let folks know that it’s simple! Completing the Census form takes less than 10 minutes, and every form returned in the mail represents taxpayers’ dollars saved.

The Census is one of the most important functions of the Federal Government and your commitment as a partner is invaluable. We could not do this without you.

We are excited about the events and activities that will take place over the next 12 months as we approach April 1, 2010, united in a cause that affects the lives of everyone in the United States.

For almost 210 years, the government has conducted a census, and our goal remains the same: count every American once, only once, and in the right place. I thank you for your involvement and wish you good luck with the work you’ll be doing over the next year.

Thank you.