July 27, 2011 in City

Locke OK’d as China ambassador

By The Spokesman-Review
Associated Press photo

President Barack Obama shakes hands with Commerce Secretary Gary Locke after announcing that Locke will be the next U.S. ambassador to China on March 11 in Washington. Locke is replacing Jon Huntsman.
(Full-size photo)

Gary Locke, the former two-term governor of Washington and current U.S. commerce secretary, was confirmed today as the new U.S. ambassador to China.

Locke, the son of Chinese immigrants and the first Chinese-American to become governor of an American state, was confirmed by a unanimous vote of the Senate.

In 1997, during his first year as Washington’s governor, Locke led a much publicized state trade mission to China where he made a visit to his grandfather’s village and highlighted the state’s exports to the Pacific Rim.

He opted not to run for a third term in 2004, and joined a Seattle law firm that specialized in international law. In 2009, he was tapped by President Obama to lead the U.S. Commerce Department, which was the agency that conducted the 2010 Census.

Fellow Democrat Patty Murray, the state’s senior U.S. senator, hailed the confirmation as a key to strong relations between the United States and China.

“Making sure the U.S.-China partnership continues to work for both nations is absolutely critical to ensuring our ability to compete and succeed in the 21st century global economy,” Murray said in a press release immediately following the Senate confirmation.

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