Obama Picks Locke For Commerce, Sources Say
Locke Is Former Washington State Governor
Monday, February 23, 2009 – updated: 5:17 pm MST February 23, 2009
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama's likely third pick for Commerce secretary is former Washington Gov. Gary Locke, a senior administration official said Monday.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement has not yet been made.
Locke was the nation's first Chinese-American governor. He served two terms from 1997-2005. He lists among his accomplishments a package of tax breaks that persuaded Boeing to assemble its new 787 jetliner in Everett.
Locke's specialty is China trade and investment, and his status helped him gain the ear of Chinese President Hu Jintao on missions to promote trade between China and Washington state.
Since leaving office he's been working for the Seattle-based law firm Davis Wright Tremaine on issues involving China and governmental relations. He promotes global engagement as a way to improve China's human rights record and deal with piracy of intellectual property.
Locke is 59. He was born into an immigrant family and lived in a Seattle public housing project until he was 6. He graduated from Yale University and Boston University Law School.
He is married to Mona Lee Locke, a former television news reporter who is now executive director of the regional affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, a breast cancer research and advocacy organization. They have three children.
Obama's expected choice of Locke arose less than two weeks after his most recent pick, Republican Sen. Judd Gregg R-N.H., backed out.
Just over a week after Obama named him and he accepted, Gregg cited "irresolvable conflicts" with the policies of the Democratic president.