One of the most troubling things I’ve noticed in politics over the last few years has been the American public's growing disconnect from its government.
It’s understandable. Too often, all they hear is the usual noise – who’s up, who’s down, who’s in, who’s out. That’s what gets covered. That’s what makes headlines.
For Americans, business as usual in Washington has reinforced the belief that the government benefits the special interests and the well-connected at the expense of the American people. They seek information that can be difficult to find and see taxpayer dollars disappearing without a trace and lobbyists wielding undue influence.
Since the day he entered office, President Obama has been determined to change the old ways of Washington.
As part of that effort, he’s made an unprecedented commitment to opening the government to the people it serves. These initiatives will have a lasting impact, permanently breaking down barriers between the American people and the government they pay for.
Today, federal departments and agencies are putting forward concrete plans for making operations and data more transparent, and expanding opportunities for citizen participation, collaboration, and oversight. These steps will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness across the government.
I’m tremendously proud of the work the Open Government Team has put into creating this first iteration of the Commerce Department’s Open Government Plan. It 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.
But open government is not the work of any single office.
The entire Obama administration is moving forward to translate the values of openness into lasting improvements in the way government makes decisions, solves problems and addresses national challenges. It’s a commitment we all share, one that will deepen the American people’s understanding of how their institutions work and their tax dollars are spent.
Gary Locke is the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce