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State of the Union, Boosting Tourism, and "We the People:" Deputies' Download

As the White House prepares for the State of the Union address, President Obama announces a plan to increase tourism and the White House responds to a "We the People" petition focused on online piracy legislation.

Mark your calendars! On Tuesday, January 24, President Obama will present the annual State of the Union Address at 9 pm EST. Once again, we will be streaming an enhanced version of the speech that features graphics, data and stats that highlight the issues the President is discussing on Starting immediately after the speech and continuing through the rest of the week, senior White House officials will hear from you about the state of our union. See the full schedule here.

President Obama continued his series of recent jobs-initiative unveilings with a major announcement at the Walt Disney World Resort on Thursday. In his remarks, the President elaborated upon his plans to increase tourism by easing traveling restrictions on frequent visitors to the United States and shortening visa processing times.

Tourism is actually the United States’ largest service export, bringing in $134 billion in 2010, and it supports businesses in communities across America. Whether it’s getting more people to visit the Empire State Building or the Grand Canyon, President Obama wants to fully capitalize on America’s status as the world’s favorite tourist destination. 

On Wednesday, the Administration announced that it would not approve of TransCanada’s proposal to build the Keystone XL pipeline. The President emphasized that the decision simply reiterated a point made over a month ago by the State Department, which was tasked with making a recommendation on the project: the sixty-day deadline imposed by Congressional Republicans was needlessly arbitrary and, moreover, wholly insufficient for the necessary health, safety, and environmental assessments.

103,785 Americans used the “We the People” petition tool to convey their positions on the online piracy bills being debated in Congress to the White House. This week, the White House used “We the People” to communicate its response and affirm that the protection of intellectual property and the protection of a free and open internet are not mutually exclusive and are both of paramount importance to the Administration.

President Obama in the Magic Kingdom

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on a strategy that will significantly help boost tourism and travel during a statement at the Magic Kingdom Theme Park at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, Jan. 19, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama and Mrs. Obama welcome the 2011 World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals to the White House

First Lady Michelle Obama reacts to a joke by President Barack Obama as the President and Mrs. Obama welcome the 2011 World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals to the White House to honor the team and their 2011 World Series victory, in the East Room, Jan. 17, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

President Obama at Browne

President Barack Obama delivers remarks at Browne Education Campus in Washington, D.C., before participating in a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day service event with First Lady Michelle Obama and daughter Malia, Jan. 16, 2012. January 16, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Blog Highlights

Champions of Change

The Champions of Change series is designed for people to look into their communities and nominate everyday heroes who are demonstrating commitment to improving their own communities, their country, or their fellow citizens. That is why we are looking for you to nominate someone who is doing extraordinary things to make a difference in your community as a “Champion of Change.”

Thursday’s Champions of Change event highlighted exceptional individual contributions to disaster preparedness. Each of the sixteen leaders chosen to be Champions of Change had innovative approaches to unite their communities for the common cause of emergency preparedness and response. 

Get Involved

For more information about ways to get involved now, check out the Office of Public Engagement’s blog, which is updated daily with upcoming engagement opportunities. Follow Jon Carson, Director of the Office of Public Engagement, on Twitter @JonCarson44. Also, take time to browse our Engage webpage, and check out for opportunities to personalize your long-term service.

A few weeks ago, President Obama and Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis announced the Summer Jobs+ Initiative, a call-to-action for American business, nonprofits, and government to provide pathways to employment for low-income and disconnected youth in the summer of 2012. Our goal is to make provide 250,000 summer jobs opportunities for American’s youth. We need your help to reach our goal! Employers can commit to offering employment opportunities for youth this summer by signing up here. Youth and communities can sign-up here to be alerted when the jobs bank goes live in the next 60 days.

Get Updates

For more information, visit the White House Office of Public Engagement website and blog and sign up for additional opportunities.

We welcome your thoughts and feedback at

Anne Filipic and Stephanie Valencia are Deputy Directors in the Office of Public Engagement.