February 23rd, 2009
05:14 PM ET
9 years ago

Sources: Locke likely to be new Commerce Secretary nominee

Former Washington Gov. Gary Locke is President Obama’s “likely pick” to be Commerce Secretary, according to senior administration officials and other Democratic officials familiar with the matter.

Former Washington Gov. Gary Locke is President Obama’s “likely pick” to be Commerce Secretary, according to senior administration officials and other Democratic officials familiar with the matter.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Washington Gov. Gary Locke is President Obama’s “likely pick” to be Commerce Secretary, according to senior administration officials and other Democratic officials familiar with the matter.

The officials said the announcement, which will be the President’s third unveiling of a Commerce nominee, could happen as early as Wednesday.

Obama has had trouble filling the post, which is expected to be a key part of his economic team. Republican Sen. Judd Gregg (N.H.) dropped out of contention earlier this month after saying he had second thoughts about his ability to work in a Democratic administration. The first choice for the job, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, stepped aside after acknowledging a grand jury investigation in his home state had become a distraction.

Locke was the first Asian-American ever elected to serve as a governor in the United States in 1996. If confirmed, he will be the third Asian-American in the Obama Cabinet, joining Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.

(Updated 5:45 p.m.)

Filed under: Obama administration
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Aaaaaaand here come the nonsensical tax comments...in 3..2..1...

    February 23, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  2. did he pay his taxes?

    there should be a whole list of questions to ask by now

    February 23, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  3. DJ eBAM

    I live in Washington, and let me tell you....Gary Locke is the biggest screw-up in my states history. You would be hard pressed to find a Washingtonian with anything good to say about him. He didn't even run for another term because he knew he had no chance in hell of winning. He turned our state's $2 Billion surplus into a $1 Billion dollar debt in only 4 years (2001-2005)! This would be, hands down, Obama's WORST cabinet pick to date.

    February 23, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  4. Independent Paul

    So, anyone want to throw out some odds on what scandal will keep him from fulfilling his job?

    2/1 – Illegal Maid

    11/5 – Lobbyist ties

    3/1 – Locke was Client #6 in Spitzer's Friendship Ring

    10/1 – He had someone murdered Soprano style

    50/1 – Friend of Blago

    2500/1 – Taxes (Is Obama really dumb enough to nominate someone who hasn't had every tax return revisited and turned upside down?)

    February 23, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  5. Michael Motta

    First Chinese-American governor in U.S. history.

    February 23, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    They're probably making sure his taxes are paid before making this announcement!

    February 23, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  7. Bankrupt in USA

    Due to his business experience the former governor has a lock on the nomination.

    February 23, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  8. In Houston, TX

    Who ever this Gov. Gary Locke guy is, I just hope all his taxes are paid

    February 23, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  9. Dittohead

    as a washington state resident, this the best we have to offer???? he helped chase boeing out of seattle.

    February 23, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  10. Jeffrey

    If this is true, Governor Locke would be a superb choice. His popularity and successes as Governor in Washington are well known. He is known for integrity and dedication to public service. He has a record that will him well deserved prominence in American public life and the possibilities of higher office should he so decide.

    February 23, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  11. Griff............... on The Truth...

    Business is Business! But where is the "Product of Confidence??

    February 23, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  12. Matthew, Detroit

    BARACK "okay boys and girls lets try to get it right this time, you are

    making me look like a bigger dope than I am".

    February 23, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  13. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    I propose John Locke from the "Lost" series. His talents are more utilitarian.

    February 23, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  14. Jon in Ca

    @ Sniffit writes,

    "Aaaaaaand here come the nonsensical tax comments…in 3..2..1…"

    Why should Americans be concerned about any of Obama's nominees – and their compliance with US laws, right sniffer?

    February 23, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  15. Zion

    Matthew, Detroit, you must have a crush on Obama.

    February 23, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  16. Hardlaborer

    DJ eBAM has to be from "east of the mountains". Gov. Locke was a superb Governor and will make a superb commerce secretary. Of course the GOPers will require that he give a loyalty oath to the U.S. (he being of Chinese descent and all) and declare that he will not favor China in any trade negotiations, etc. You know, that same old GOPer ad hominem stuff they've used to distract the people from solving real issues.

    February 23, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  17. Tyrone D

    gee what a surprise another ethnic minority to round out this pc cabinet. and of course its one of those washington liberals who will want to legalize maryjuiana and open our borders to nafta. can you SMELL the socialism yet???

    February 23, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  18. Hammer

    Obama's choices are, sadly to say, like everything else he has done, very bad. I think Obama should admit that he "screwed up' when he ran for president and go back to Chicago and back to work for ALCORN.

    February 23, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  19. Mari

    Wow.... the haters are out today! The far-right used to complain ALL the time that the Democrats criticized Bush! Calling everyone who dared to criticize "W" as being....... UNPATRIOTIC!

    However..........now....... well, they are ragging on President Obama constantly!

    WHAT HAPPENED? Is the far-right unpatriotic? No, just big hypocrites!

    No matter what Obama does, whom he uses, etc., the far-right will be sure to criticize, condemn, complain, demean and lie about him!


    February 23, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  20. Ula Nejad Sacramento, Ca

    Ha ha ha ..... back to abacus. Don't complain now.

    February 23, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  21. Former Lifelong Republican supporting Obama, Columbia, TN

    Damn...who knew the Sec. of Commerce position will be this hard to fill or such a media buzzworthy story!

    I just hope that nothing comes out on this new guy. Can they fill the position already so we can be done with this story?!

    February 23, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  22. Cindy

    George Ariyoshi was elected Governer of the State of Hawaii back in the '70's. Doesn't he count as an asian-american?

    February 23, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  23. Seattle Sue

    Dittohead@5:44==== The last time I checked, Boeing was still in the Seattle area. They may have moved their headquarters but the plane building is still here. Locke will be just fine in this position. DJeBam===I am a Washington citizen and I approve of Mr Locke.

    February 23, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  24. We'd like to hire ____s but we can't find any

    Interesting to note that Obama found an American of Hispanic, then White, then Asian descent to fill this spot which proves that ANY BUSINESS CAN find diverse, qualified candidates for senior managerment positions if they try.

    Also I'm sure there were some racists that were belly aching that Obama's entire cabinet would be black. The truth is, there are as many Asian Americans as African Americans on his senior leadership team.

    February 23, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  25. Rick Sutter

    Locke will fit right in. He has experience doubling the deficit.

    February 23, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
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