Senate approves Locke as commerce secretary
The U.S. Senate on Tuesday confirmed former Washington Gov. Gary Locke as the next secretary of commerce. Locke, 59, was approved by a voice vote.
At the department, his responsibilities include the Census Bureau, which collects foreign trade statistics and population counts, and promoting U.S. exports
During his confirmation hearing, Locke positioned himself as a strong supporter of free trade but said he would work enforce U.S. trade laws.
Locke is the first Chinese-American to serve as commerce secretary. As the two-term governor of Washington he went on 10 trade missions to Asia, Mexico and Europe to open doors for companies based in the state.
His visits are credited with introducing Washington companies to China and helping more than double the state's exports to China to more than $5 billion per year. He opened a Washington State trade office in Germany to advance trade relations with European countries. He also played a large role in winning a nationwide competition by Boeing to locate production of its new 787 jet in Washington.
For the past four years, Locke has helped U.S. companies break into international markets, particularly in Asia. As partner in the Seattle office of the international law firm of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, Locke co-chaired the firm's China practice and was active in its governmental relations practice.