Readers: Send Us Questions for U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke

Obama, Biden, Locke

Fast Company is honored to moderate the next White House "Open for Questions" program, an event where representatives of government field questions from everyday citizens. We're sending a Fast Company representative to D.C. to meet with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke.

This is where you come in. What would you like to know from Secretary Locke? If you could ask him any question about the future of business and technology, what would it be? In honor of National Entrepreneurship Week, try to keep the discussion in the field of business, innovation, job creation, etc.

Send your questions to ideas@fastcompany.com along with your name and city. We'll select a handful of questions to ask during our interview, which will be live-streamed from the White House via the WhiteHouse.gov website from 1-1:30 p.m. EST this Friday, Nov. 19. Stay tuned to see if your question is picked or tweet your question during the event @fastcompany, using #LockeChat.

[Photo by Pete Souza]

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8 Comments

  • Howell Lee

    The needs are so much greater than the available funding, the last contract I submitted an application on with SBA had 159 applicants for 3 awards nationwide! We addressed 2 areas in Alabama with an actual unemployment rate ( inculding those who have dropped out of 35%, these areas are inside the city of Birmingham and the Blackbelt of Alabama ( named after the soil color not the color of it's residents).
    We want to connect those areas with the Army material command which is frelocating to Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Alabama. This is a very time sensative proposal in that the AMCOM move is 2011-2012. We want these struggling areas to perform light manufacturing for the Army and their subcontractors. We have a great team put together and just need the funding to create lots of jobs in these longterm depressed areas! HELP111, Howell Lee, Valley innovation alliance 256-426-7803, Howell.lee@valleyinnovation.org

  • Kathleen

    It's great that credit is freeing up, but my experience is that the biggest problem is coming up with innovative ideas that also translate into marketable products. Is the government doing anything to help entrepreneurs identify marketable innovative products.

  • Samuel A. Helm


    Consider the proposition that—let’s call it “The Iron Law of Development Tendencies”—in an open global economy, all else being equal, countries with substantial labor cost advantages will tend to reap, at the manufacturing level, the greater part of the trade harvest of advances and innovations in technology, invention, and creative design that arise in countries with higher labor costs unless there is an intervening government policy to mitigate or reverse that tendency. In addition, engineering, design and creative talent and the experiential advantage will tend to migration to those lower labor cost countries where the manufacturing is moving gone.

    Please comment on this as it presents a somewhat existential like challenge to a nation such as the US with its relatively high labor costs, and by labor costs I mean all personnel costs at all levels.

  • Richard Tyll

    U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke.
    I have an innovative idea which I believe could generate free, perpetual energy but, seeing as I live below the poverty line, I have no money to produce such an invention. Is there any avenue which I could pass along this invention to those who could bring it to fruition?
    It would take the initial start up cost but, once in place would continuously generate a constant stream of energy which could be harvested and transmitted throughout ANY country.

    Due to my current station in life, nobody is willing to listen to my idea(s)
    Personally, I believe the development of this new technology would be best served if NASA were to be the driving force. Their expertise and skills are uniquely adaptable for this project although it is NOT Space-based.
    If it were implemented on a planetary scale, this planet would never fight over energy resources again.

    I'm not looking to get rich from this invention yet, eating more than once a day would be nice.

  • Richard Tyll

    Frank, while your message is very important, I fail to see what the U.S. Secretary of Commerce could do about it.

    Perhaps this will help you.

    President Obama Signs Korean War Veterans Recognition Act
    http://www.veteranstoday.com/2...

    WASHINGTON – Yesterday, on the 56th anniversary of National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, President Barack Obama signed H.R. 2632, the Korean War Veterans Recognition Act. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), adds National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day to the list of days on which the display of the flag of the United States is especially encouraged.

    President Obama said, “The freedom, security and prosperity that we enjoy as a nation exists only because of the heroic and selfless sacrifices of America’s servicemen and women. Today, we owe special remembrance to the veterans of the Korean War, and especially the United States and allied combatants who made the ultimate sacrifice in Korea. For their courageous actions in pursuit of freedom and democracy for the Korean peninsula, these dedicated men and women deserve our unending respect and gratitude.”

    On Friday, July 24, President Obama proclaimed July 27, 2009, as National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day.

    H.R. 2632 passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 421-0 and the Senate by unanimous consent.

  • Richard Tyll

    President Obama stated that his administration would be guided by Science when making policy decisions.
    The Science surrounding Cannabis ruderalis (HEMP) and it's regulation under the Controlled Substances Act needs to be rectified.
    This one agricultural commodity could spur the largest growth industry this nation has ever witnessed.
    I would like to ask, will you promote the reclassification of Cannabis ruderalis (HEMP) and promote innovation and job creation Nationwide?
    I live in Rogers City, MI which is home to the World's largest Limestone Quarry.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M...
    If Michigan farmers could grow Cannabis ruderalis (HEMP) my small town could become a World exporter of a product called Hempcrete.
    "Hemp building boosters claim that hempcrete foundation walls are up to seven times stronger than those made of concrete, half as light and three times as elastic.
    This superior strength and flexibility means that hemp foundations are resistant to stress-induced cracking and breaking, even in earthquake-prone areas.
    The building material also is self-insulating; resistant to rotting, rodents and insects; and fire proof, waterproof and weather resistant."

    Info on hemp construction:
    http://www.hempbuilding.com/
    http://hempnews.tv/tag/hempcre...
    Building with Hemp in America: The Forefront of a New Green Construction Technique

    The prohibition of Cannabis ruderalis (HEMP) under the Controlled Substances Act is NOT based upon scientific findings.
    " Industrial hemp is produced in many countries around the world.
    Major producers include Canada, France, and China.
    While more hemp is exported to the United States than to any other country,
    the United States Government doesn't consistently distinguish between marijuana
    and the non-psychoactive Cannabis used for industrial and commercial purposes. "

    Our Nation is losing out on the innovation of our manufacturing base and domestic workforce by continuing this unjust prohibition.
    The World could benefit greatly by manufacturers building products made with Biodegradable Plastic made from Cannabis ruderalis (HEMP).
    The World could benefit greatly by manufacturers building products made with Hempcrete for stronger buildings in earthquake prone areas.
    The United States could save Billions of dollars by simply paving our highway system with Hempcrete, leading to reduced costly repairs.
    America needs domestic employment and I believe releasing this agricultural commodity from prohibition would spur our economy immensely.

    Let Scientific FACTS be your guide on this issue, not ingrained propaganda.
    Cannabis ruderalis (HEMP) NEVER qualified as a schedule one drug under the Controlled Substances Act.
    Hemp: The facts: no more, no less @ http://hempseed.totallyexplain...

  • Frank McDonald III

    11/17/2010

    In 2010, the 111th U.S. Congress states the wrong ending date for the ‘Korean conflict (period of war)’ at the Department of Veterans Affairs (Title 38, U.S.C.)Section 101.Definitions-Statute (9). Some U.S. Veterans (active-duty from Feb. 1, 1955 to Feb. 27, 1961 and active-duty from May 8, 1975 to Sept. 30, 1976} registered with the Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Offices(Title 38, U.S.C., Sec. 101.Def.-Statute (9) The “Korean conflict’’ means the period beginning on June 27, 1950, and ending on January 31, 1955.) These Veterans are been denied their ‘period of war’ Benefits by this error and some of the VA Benefit Programs.
    Documented Facts: Ending Date of January 31, 1955 (Korean conflict) is stated incorrectly for Veterans in Title 38, U.S.C., Section 101.Definitions.
    1)Document No. CK3100427560 (June 9, 1957)
    In 1955, the Armistice (sub-paragraph I3D) for the ‘Korean conflict’ was broken by North Korea -Mig-15 Jet attacking a United Nations patrol over the Yellow Sea on February 15, 1955.
    http://galenet.galegroup.com
    2) Public Law 94-185 (H.R. 11016) “Be it acted by the Senate and House of
    Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
    That section 102(c) (1) of the Renegotiation Act of 1951 is amended by
    striking out “December 31, 1975” and inserting in lieu thereof “September
    30, 1976”.
    3) Congressman Rodino (N.J.) -Congressional Record-House-
    Sept. 4, 1975 (Page 27632):
    “Presently, the national emergency declared in December of 1950 by
    President Truman in connection with the Korean conflict is in effect.”
    Congressman Flowers (Alabama) -Congressional Record-
    House-Sept. 4, 1975 (Page 27634):
    “Presently, the national emergency declared in December of 1950 by
    President Truman in connection with the Korean conflict is in effect.” http://www.lexisnexis.com/cong...
    4) Public law 777(Amendment for Title 18, U.S.C., Section 2153 applied to all
    Armed Forces Personnel by each appointed Secretary of Defense).
    Title 18, U.S.C., Section 2153. Destruction of war materials, war premises, or
    war utilities
    (a)Whoever, when the United States is at war, or in times of national emergency as declared by the President or by the Congress, with intent to injure, interfere with, or obstruct the United States or carrying on the war or defense activities, or…..
    http://uscode.house.gov/uscode...
    5) Congressional Record- Senate (September 10, 1976)
    “Playing Politics with Defense” (Page 29636)
    Remarks by Jimmy Carter to the American Legion (Seattle) in
    Washington, D.C. on August 24, 1976 (Page 29637)
    “Our military power must be continually reviewed. In Europe, NATO
    must increase its combat readiness and adapt its forces to new military
    technology, if it is to offset steady improvements in Warsaw Pact
    Forces.”

    This U.S. Citizen and U.S. Veteran served on active-duty during National Emergency Proc. No. 291 and listed as a peace-time veteran by the Secretary of the VA at the Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office in Chicago, Illinois. For several years, he has contacted the U.S. House Committee on Veterans Affairs/335 C.H.O.B./Washington, D.C.201515 about this error of living U.S. Veterans being denied their ‘period of war’ status. Nothing happens. The House Veterans Affairs Committee hasn’t submitted legislation to change the ending date of the ‘Korean conflict (National Emergency Proc. No. 2914) as stated by the 94th U.S. Congress in the Congressional Record. Do these 111th Congress members enjoy lying to these Veterans at the Department of Veterans Affairs?
    This Veteran is being denied his VA Benefits for serving in a period of war called the ‘Korean conflict’ by the 111th U.S. Congress. Ask the House Veterans Affairs Committee why it is ignored.

    Frank McDonald III
    Moline, IL. 61266
    VA# 29-527-095

  • Chris Reich

    How can the incentive to move manufacturing offshore be reduced and the incentive to rebuild our industrial base be increased? Our dependence on goods from China is rapidly becoming as debilitating as our dependence on imported oil.

    Chris Reich
    www.TeachU.com