Open for Questions: Response
We've launched several features recently that are opening up the two-way dialogue between the Transition team and the Change.gov community.
The feedback has been encouraging and constructive. Each new feature gives us the chance to refine the ways we facilitate these discussions, and it allows readers to chime in on the process as we grow.
Last week, our Open for Questions feature was particularly well-received: more than 20,000 people cast nearly 1,000,000 votes on questions posed by the community. Overall, just over 10,000 questions were voted up or down and ranked by visitors to the site.
The result is a snapshot of the issues you're concerned about as the pieces for the next administration move into place.
Below are some of the top questions, and the answers that our transition team members have put together as part of the Open for Questions feature:
Q: "Will you lift the ban on Stem Cell research in your first 100 days in office?" James_M, Nashville, TN
A: President-elect Obama is a strong supporter of Federal funding for responsible stem cell research and he has pledged to reverse President Bush's restrictions.
Q: "What will you do to establish transparency and safeguards against waste with the rest of the Wall Street bailout money?" Diane, New Jersey
A: President-elect Barack Obama does not believe an economic crisis is an excuse for wasteful and unnecessary spending. As our economic team works with congressional leadership to put together a plan, we will put in place reforms to ensure that your money in invested well. We will also bring Americans back into government by amending executive orders to ensure that communications about regulatory policymaking between persons outside government and all White House staff are disclosed to the public. In addition all appointees who lead the executive branch departments and rulemaking agencies will be required to conduct the significant business of the agency in public so that every citizen can see in person or watch on the Internet these debates.
Q: "What will you do to promote science and mathematics education to Elementary and Middle School students?" JasonWyatt, Raleigh, NC
A: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will put children first by investing in early childhood education, making sure our schools are adequately funded and led by high-quality teachers, and reforming No Child Left Behind. They will recruit math and science degree graduates to the teaching profession and will support efforts to help these teachers learn from professionals in the field. They will also work to ensure that all children have access to a strong science curriculum at all grade levels.
Q: "Will you consider legalizing marijuana so that the government can regulate it, tax it, put age limits on it, and create millions of new jobs and create a billion dollar industry right here in the U.S.?" S. Man, Denton
A: President-elect Obama is not in favor of the legalization of marijuana.
Q: "What will you do as President to restore the Constitutional protections that have been subverted by the Bush Administration and how will you ensure that our system of checks and balances is renewed?" Kari, Seattle
A: President-elect Obama is deeply committed to restoring the rule of law and respecting constitutional checks and balances.That is why he has pledged to review Bush Administration executive orders. President-elect Obama will also end the abuse of signing statements, and put an end to the politicization that has taken place within the Department of Justice and return that agency to its historic and apolitical mission of fair and impartial administration of justice.
The next Open for Questions feature will go live in the coming days.
Until the next round of questions, check out some of the other features on the site: from community discussions and video responses, to behind-the-scenes video and a "Seat at the Table" with outside groups.
The Transition Directory was developed to introduce members of the Transition and the incoming Administration to the Federal government resources available to them.