By Jueseppi B.
We Have Not Forgotten
Weekly Address: Helping Protect Our Kids by Reducing Gun Violence
Published on Mar 23, 2013
Three months after the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, President Obama says that the Senate has taken important steps forward to help protect our kids by reducing gun violence. The American people made their voices heard, and the Senate made progress to make it harder for criminals and people with serious mental illnesses to get guns, to crack down on anyone trying to funnel guns to criminals, and to reinstate and strengthen a ban on the sale of military-style assault weapons. Each of these ideas deserves a vote.
In honor of Women’s History Month, last week, we welcomed a group of high school students to participate in a conversation with a mentoring panel at the White House. It was followed by a celebration in the East Room with President Obama and the First Lady. Here are some of the highlights and interviews from the panelists and attendees:
01:58 PM EDT
Over the last four years, construction crews have built or improved more than 350,000 miles of road – enough to circle the world more than 14 times. We’ve upgraded more than 6,000 miles of rail – enough to go coast-to-coast and back. And American workers have repaired or replaced more than 20,000 bridges.
But we still have a long way to go.
While our national infrastructure got its best grade in 15 years from the American Society of Civil Engineers‘ annual report card in 2013, that grade is now a D+ instead of a D. We don’t have to accept that for America — we can do better. And in a time of tight budgets, we can do it in a way that makes sure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely. Additionally, there are few more important things we can do to create jobs right now, and strengthen our economy than to put people back to work rebuilding America – our roads, bridges, schools, and ports.
In his 2013 State of the Union address, President Obama announced a three-part plan to encourage private investment in American infrastructure that will make our roads, bridges, and ports safer, give our businesses and workers the tools to compete successfully in the global economy, and create thousands of much-needed jobs in cities and towns across the country. Here’s how it works:
March 29, 2013
02:22 PM EDT
Newtown. Today, the name of the town itself immediately conjures many images and emotions for people throughout our country. After visiting Newtown myself yesterday I am left with the memory of two words specifically — perseverance and character.
I was privileged to visit the Newtown Prevention Council, a drug free communities coalition dedicated to reducing substance abuse in Newtown, Connecticut. The Council has been in existence since 1986 and seeks to help young people and families make decisions in support of healthy and substance-free lifestyles. But as with all prevention focused coalitions they also strengthen family and build resiliency and self-reliance for a community.
I asked them if the presence of their Coalition had helped them since the tragedy that rocked their community on December 14. To a person, they agreed it had. Coalition members include faith leaders, the chief of the Newtown police department, public and private school principals, counselors, health care professionals including a school nurse and emergency room doctor, high school students and several other community members.
In the face of unspeakable tragedy, the strength of this community has come through. Community members and members of this coalition support one another and cultivate the core characteristics of a town that will be known not just for the tragedy it has been through but for its resilience and character. The community coalition has done great work in Newtown to reduce underage drinking and substance use. Using evidence based techniques they work to give parents and young people the tools they need to lead healthy lives. And they build trusting relationships among the participants, relationships that pay huge dividends when tragedy strikes.
03:00 PM EDT
In September 2009, the President announced that—for the first time in history—White House visitor records would be made available to the public on an ongoing basis. Today, the White House releases visitor records that were generated in December 2012. This release brings the total number of records made public by this White House to more than 3.1 million—all of which can be viewed in our Disclosures section.
Ed. note: For more information, check out Ethics.gov.
March 29, 2013
03:02 PM EDT
“The role of citizens in our democracy does not end with your vote. America’s never been about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us together through the hard and frustrating, but necessary work of self-government.” — President Barack Obama, November 7, 2012
Since the first day of the Obama Administration, the Federal government has worked to make government more efficient, effective, and responsive to citizens’ needs. The Administration has harnessed new technology to engage the public, worked to disclose information more quickly, and given citizens a greater voice in decision-making.
In September 2011, the Administration’s work was launched on the world stage when President Obama and other world leaders endorsed the principles of the global Open Government Partnership (OGP). As part of our commitment to OGP, the United States launched the National Action Plan, a set of twenty-six concrete commitments that help increase public integrity, promote public participation, manage public resources more effectively, and improve public services. Praised by civil society organizations and the public, the Plan stands as a great example of what we can do as a country when government, civil society, and the public collaborate together. As the President has said, “Put simply, our countries are stronger when we engage citizens beyond the halls of government.”
Today, we are proud to report that the United States has fulfilled twenty-four of those commitments. You can read more about the implementation of our National Action Plan here. Some highlights include:
04:11 PM EDT
President Obama was in Florida today, where he got a chance to see the Port Miami tunnel project on Dodge Island. The project, which is the result of three years of work by over 500 employees and more than 6,000 sub-contractors and vendors, will create connect the port to the interstate highway system more quickly and safely and will take over 1.5 million trucks out of the downtown area per year.
It is projects like this one, the President said in remarks following his tour, that will help reignite the true engine of our economic growth — a rising, thriving middle class. “Projects like this create a lot of other good jobs, too,” President Obama explained. “You ask any CEO where we they rather locate their business and hire new workers. Are you going to set up shop in a country that’s got raggedy roads, runways that are pot-holed, and backed-up supply chains? Or are you going to seek out high-speed rail, Internet, high-tech schools, new state-of-the-art power grids, new bridges, new tunnels, new ports that help you ship products made in America to the rest of the world as fast as possible? That’s what people are looking for. That’s what CEOs are looking for.”
07:26 PM EDT
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today released a new, easy-to-use interactive tool that gives anybody – researchers, physicians, public health professionals, policymakers, consumer advocates, tech innovators, and the public – the ability to find and examine data on multiple chronic conditions among Medicare beneficiaries. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Chronic Conditions Dashboardfurthers the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) goals for health promotion and the prevention and management of multiple chronic conditions and is an integral part of the Administration’sHealth Data Initiative that seeks to release more health-related data in more usable formats to the public in order to promote innovation and improvement in health and care.
The Dashboard includes data for 2011 and presents summarized information on the prevalence of chronic conditions, as well as aggregate Medicare costs and utilization measures for beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions at various geographic levels – national, state, and hospital referral region. Examples of what you can find in the Dashboard include:
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