FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
CONTACT OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS
U.S. Senate Confirms Gary Locke as Commerce Secretary
The United States Senate this evening confirmed Gary Locke as the nation’s 36th Commerce Secretary by unanimous consent. Secretary Locke will be a key member of President Obama’s economic team and will work to foster and promote American economic development at home, and will be an influential ambassador for American business and industry abroad. Locke is the first Chinese American to serve as Commerce Secretary.
“I’m honored to take on this challenge and will work every day to make the Commerce Department an engine for improving our competitiveness, encouraging innovation and creating jobs,” Locke said.
Locke will oversee a department that, under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, is charged with expanding the country’s broadband infrastructure, bringing economic development to communities hardest hit by the recession and putting Americans to work under programs run by the Census, NOAA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
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.