Gary Locke was appointed by President Obama as the 36th Secretary of Commerce and sworn into office on March 26, 2009.
At the Department of Commerce, Locke is charged with helping implement President Obama’s ambitious agenda to turn around the economy and put people back to work.
As the first Chinese-American to hold this post in a president’s cabinet, Locke has a distinctly American story. His grandfather emigrated from China to Washington state, initially finding employment as a servant, working in exchange for English lessons. Locke’s father, also born in China, was a small business owner, operating a grocery store where Locke worked while receiving his education from Seattle’s public school system. His strong work ethic and determination eventually took him to the highest office in the state of Washington.
Prior to his appointment, Locke helped U.S. companies break into international markets as a partner in the Seattle office of the international law firm, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP. There, he co-chaired the firm’s China practice and was active in its governmental relations practice.
As the popular two-term governor of Washington, the nation’s most trade-dependent state, Locke broke down trade barriers around the world to advance American products. He helped open doors for Washington State businesses by leading 10 productive trade missions to Asia, Mexico and Europe, significantly expanding the sale of Washington products and services. He also successfully strengthened economic ties 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.
As part of his considerable trade and economic development efforts, Locke launched Washington’s Competitiveness Council with business, labor and civic 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 earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Yale University and a law degree from Boston University. He is married to Mona Lee Locke. They have three children: Emily, Dylan and Madeline.