Obama Names Gary Locke as Secretary of Commerce

President Barack Obama has nominated Gary Locke Secretary of Commerce. This is the third time that President Barack Obama is trying to fill a key Cabinet post for a country in recession. Here’s what Gary Locke had to say at his nomination:

“The Department of Commerce plays a critical role in nurturing innovation, expanding global markets, protecting and managing our ocean fisheries, and fostering economic growth,” Secretary-designate Locke said. “The Department of Commerce can and will help create the jobs and the economic vitality our nation needs.”

He told the story of his family’s journey to the United States and their struggle for success, and offered it is an example of American ingenuity and determination.

“My family’s story is America’s story,” Locke said. “Our story is just one of hundreds of millions since the birth of our nation, of people coming from every part of the world in pursuit of the American Dream of freedom, hope and opportunity. In hard times, Americans have rallied together, sacrificed and even given their lives for our country, because they believe in the essential goodness and promise of America.”

Asians Americans in Obama’s cabinet could reach three with the confirmation of former Washington Governor Gary Locke as Secretary of Commerce. Current Asian American cabinet members include Energy Secretary Steve Chu and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.

Obama Names Gary Locke Commerce Secretary

More about Gary Locke

Former Washington Gov. Gary Locke is a tireless and successful champion of American products, services and jobs. As the popular two-term governor of the nation’s most trade-dependent state, Locke broke down trade barriers around the world to advance American products. Locke has worked closely with business, labor and government at all levels to successfully negotiate complex issues.

For the past four years, Locke has been a successful business advocate and adviser, helping U.S. companies break into international markets, particularly in Asia, and expand their international business. A partner in the Seattle office of the international law firm of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, Locke co-chairs the firm’s China practice and is active in its governmental relations practice.

Locke was elected Washington’s 21st governor in 1996, making him the first Chinese American governor in U.S. history and the first Asian American governor on the mainland. In 2000, Locke was overwhelmingly re-elected to a second term. He served as chair of the Democratic Governors Association and gave the Democratic response to the State of the Union address in 2003.

To open doors for Washington State businesses, Locke led 10 productive trade missions to Asia, Mexico and Europe, significantly expanding the sales of Washington products and services. He successfully fostered economic relations between China and Washington State. His visits are credited with introducing Washington companies to China and helping more than double the state’s exports to China to over $5 billion per year. He also opened a Washington State trade office in Germany to advance trade relations with European countries.

Locke is widely praised in Washington State for winning a nationwide competition to win production of Boeing’s newest jetliner, the 787, which created thousands of jobs in the state. Locke successfully aligned leaders from state, county and local government, businesses and unions, communities and tribes in this comprehensive, successful effort.

As part of his considerable trade and economic development efforts, Locke launched Washington’s Competitiveness Council with business and labor leaders working together to effectively position Washington State for success at home and around the world. During the eight years of the Locke Administration, the state gained 280,000 jobs.

Locke personally negotiated and signed a Washington State-Canada salmon treaty after negotiations between the U.S. State Department and Canada reached an impasse on protecting wild salmon runs. He also conceived and launched the West Coast Governors’ Initiative on Climate Change and successfully launched public and private initiatives to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and increase energy conservation.

Locke earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Yale University, and a law degree from Boston University.

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