Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building
February 27, 2002
Remarks by the Vice President in FirstGov Website Launch
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you all very much, Mark. It's a pleasure to be here today with "the Blade," Director Daniels -- the President calls him "the Blade," so it's an approved nickname -- and with Administrator Perry.
On behalf of the President I'm pleased to present an important new tool for the American people -- the enhanced FirstGov Website will make government transactions, information and services much more accessible to all of those who use them. This is an attempt to remedy one of government's oldest problems -- the slow, confusing and often ineffective ways in which it responds to the public.
The private sector has made great improvements in customer service, in part because of technological innovation. Government has sometimes lagged behind. But with the redesign of this website we make a great stride forward, meeting a higher standard of service.
Using FirstGov, citizens can easily find government benefits for which they qualify, or browse for job opportunities or apply for a passport or a student loan. Businesses can conduct a copyright search, search federal business opportunities or apply for a patent or trademark.
Government officials at every level can find information about everything from economic development to disaster preparedness. FirstGov also connects the user to the official websites of all 50 states, providing still more information on government services.
For the past five and a half months, FirstGov has been one of the most visited sites on the web. Americans were able to find critical information about our government's response to terrorism. With the redesign that we unveil today, citizens can turn to this website for even more critical and timely guidance on how they can help protect themselves and their communities.
The website also advances one of the President's management priorities for the federal government -- expanding government use of the Internet. Our goal is to put the latest technology at the service of our people, first, by improving the efficiency with which their government operates; second, by providing the information that people need when they need it, not just when Washington decides to give it.
Before we take a look at FirstGov, let me thank each of you for your commitment and hard work. Thanks to you, people all across America will find their government more responsive and more accountable in the years ahead. A lot of time and expertise has gone into this project and the President and I very much appreciate it.
And with that, I now officially present the new FirstGov website. (Applause.)