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The White House

President Obama Nominates Former Governor Gary Locke for Secretary of Commerce

Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                  February 25, 2009
President Obama Nominates Former Governor Gary Locke for Secretary of Commerce
Today, President Barack Obama officially nominated former Washington Governor Gary Locke for Secretary of Commerce. In this key role on the administration’s economic team, Locke will work to foster and promote the nation’s economic development at home, and serve as an influential ambassador for American industry abroad.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will save or create three and a half million jobs over the next two years, and 90 percent of these jobs will be created in the private sector. As Secretary of the Department of Commerce, Locke will ensure American workers can prosper, businesses can thrive, and the economy can grow.
"Gary will be a trusted voice in my cabinet, a tireless advocate for our economic competitiveness, and an influential ambassador for American industry who will help us do everything we can – especially now – to promote it around the world," said President Obama. "I’m grateful he’s agreed to leave one Washington for another, and I look forward to having him on my team as we continue the work of turning our economy around and bringing about a stronger, more prosperous future for all Americans."
"Our nation’s economic success is tied directly to America continuing to lead in technology and innovation and in exporting those products, services and ideas to markets around the globe," Governor Locke said. "The Department of Commerce can and will help create jobs and the economic vitality our country needs."
See below for full biography:
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.