Senate panel backs Locke for Commerce

WASHINGTON — The Senate Commerce Committee has approved President Barack Obama’s nominee for commerce secretary.

Former Washington Gov. Gary Locke won unanimous approval from the Commerce panel Thursday.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., the panel’s chairman, said he wants Locke installed at the Commerce Department as soon as possible. The Commerce Committee vote comes just one day after Locke appeared before the panel at a confirmation hearing.

Locke is Obama’s third choice for commerce secretary. Two other nominees withdrew.

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