February 25th, 2009
09:25 AM ET
5 years ago

Obama to name Locke as Commerce Department chief

Former Washington Gov. Gary Locke will be the third person President Obama has named to head the Commerce Department.
Former Washington Gov. Gary Locke will be the third person President Obama has named to head the Commerce Department.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama will announce Wednesday morning that former Washington Gov. Gary Locke is his nominee for commerce secretary, two senior administration officials told CNN.

Locke, 57, was the country's first Chinese-American governor, elected to lead Washington in 1996 and re-elected in 2000.

Prior to becoming governor, he served five terms in the Washington state House of Representatives and one term as King County executive. He was chairman of the House Appropriations Committee from 1989 to 1994.

A lawyer, Locke is currently in private practice with Davis Wright Tremaine in the national firm's Seattle, Washington, office.

Locke would be Obama's third choice to be commerce secretary. His most recent pick, Republican Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, cited "irresolvable conflicts" with the administration over the economic recovery bill when he withdrew his name from consideration on February 12.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson bowed out on January 5, citing the distraction of a federal investigation into ties to a company that has done business with his state. Democratic officials told CNN the investigation involves a California company that won municipal bond business in New Mexico after contributing money to various Richardson causes.

Richardson denies any wrongdoing.


Another Obama nominee - former Sen. Tom Daschle of South Dakota, who was nominated to be secretary of health and human services - withdrew on February 3 after controversy erupted over his tax records and questions over his work in a field that some consider lobbying.

The former Senate majority leader apologized for a series of errors that included failing to report $15,000 in charitable donations, unreported car service and more than $80,000 in unreported income from consulting. He filed amended tax returns and paid more than $140,000 in back taxes and interest for 2005-2007.

– CNN's Ed Henry and Suzanne Malveaux contributed to this report.


Filed under: Gary Locke • Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (83 Responses)
  1. pat C.

    looks like our president is on the right track. he must have hit many republicans nerves last night with his most powerful,uplifting speech because the republicans have been all over cnn this morning making their nasty, hateful comments.if bobby jindal is all the repubs have to offer then they are finished as a party. little bobbie looked like a first grader and his voice sounded like he was scared to death. i am so proud of our president and how refreshing to have a leader that can speak to the country and bring so many of both parties to their feet.
    god bless you barack obama.

    February 25, 2009 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  2. TRUTH

    Hope you Liberals read the report that the abuse of detainess at Guantanamo has gotten worse since Obama has been in office.

    February 25, 2009 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  3. S Callahan

    as the saying goes....Third is a charm!

    February 25, 2009 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  4. Sean Chong

    He just broke a record...... the administration with the most Asian-Americans... I guess there's no use for Bobby Jindal anymore (and who cares about him anyway). The GOP seems so artificial.... they only know that the minorities matter after so many years, and now pushed a black and an Indian to be the next leaders.... and now then realized that technology is everything. They just forgot that the future is about green energy and minimizing human footprints. And they're all against these issues. The next most important agenda after Obama's election is not longer people of color, but the infusion of the American people into one.... regardless of your race, religion or even beliefs, you're an American. This is what Obama's trying to do. He's also putting an agenda to invest in our future.... it's good to borrow money to invest in something useful, and not wasteful.

    GOP is just too slow to pick up all these important agenda.

    February 25, 2009 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  5. Ray Fisher

    The President should focus upon finishing his cabinet particularly the HHS seat while food inspections are lacking. Our government seems to be running on partial speed.

    February 25, 2009 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  6. Lynn

    Shouldn't a news story concentrate on who the new Commerce Secretary is and what he brings to the job? Far easier to document what people already know than actually do the research that would justify the headline.

    February 25, 2009 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  7. Venia

    Third times the charm. BTW, Is Jindal insane or just a typical rethuglican? He seemed a bit not right.

    February 25, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  8. get rid of campbell brown

    sounds like a solid pick. let's hope this one sticks so obama can move on with other priorities.

    can someone get campbell brown to shut up. her no bias, no bull is just criticism and cynicism

    February 25, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  9. PATC

    Did he pay his taxes?

    February 25, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  10. Had It

    At least it's not another Republican "NO" sayer.

    If the republicans won't help, side step them and get it done anyway. They will be voted out as soon as possible. WE are watching and we're taking names.

    February 25, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  11. demwit

    Will Obama's third try at Commerce Chief be the charm??

    February 25, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  12. demwit

    Another commerce crisis.., progressive style.

    February 25, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  13. Alan in MD

    Did anyone see Biden on TV this morning? He didn't know what the website was for Recovery.org. Ha ha, he said, "Anyone know what the website number is?" What was he talking about, the IP address? Ha ha ha.

    February 25, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  14. No fool

    Following Pres. Obama's address last night, I overheard some referring to him as the confidence man.

    That's a good thing right?

    February 25, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  15. Dawn

    I hope that three is a charm, and hoping that he has no tax problems, pay to play or oppose Obama's policies.

    So where is the Surgeon General and Health and Human services. Is this all the cabinet members missing?"

    February 25, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  16. Virginia

    Was the "vetting process" done well, or are those skeletons still in his closet too??

    February 25, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  17. JC

    Is he a tax evader? If so, very qualified.

    February 25, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  18. 1/20/13

    Lets hear it Sheep 'Another fine pick By Obambi"

    February 25, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  19. Sue - Missouri

    It's not he's fault about the last two! They should have turned down in the first place!

    February 25, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  20. Dave

    If he has IRS issues, there'll be more than egg on the President's face.

    February 25, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  21. Barbs

    Tap into the power of The Situation Room. Download this powerful new tool that keeps you posted on the latest political news from the campaign trail. Question: What campaign are you referring to? I am not aware of one going on now.

    February 25, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  22. Cecil Fish

    Obamas' speech was articulate. He sounded like Santa Claus, promising everything. However, there was not one word that I heard about how all his presents will be paid for!
    Cecil Fish

    February 25, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  23. Proud American

    Hey Obama, did you vet him beyond a phone call or hand shake?

    February 25, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  24. Skyview

    This is a good choice by the president. Mr. Locke is smart, intelligent, practical and hardworking....Moreover, has a proven record of efficiency, and he will work well with China.

    February 25, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  25. Paul Krupa

    Lots of reporting on who he is, none on what meakes him qualified to champion US business interests. Don't recall anything coming out of Washington state besides Microsoft monopoly strengthening and Nirvanna during his time in the govenor's chair.

    February 25, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
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