Commerce Nom Locke a Rock Star in China

As Washington state governor, he cultivated deep trade ties
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Feb 25, 2009 9:44 AM CST
In this April 18, 2006 file photo, former Washington state Gov. Gary Locke and his wife Mona arrive at the home of Bill Gates in Medina, Wash. to attend a dinner with Chinese President Hu Jintao.    (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, Pool)
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(Newser) – The third time was the charm for China—at least in terms of President Obama's picks to head the Commerce Department, reports the New York Times. Former Washington Gov. Gary Locke, to be introduced today as the administration's latest nominee, brings a reputation for pragmatism, a scandal-free resume, and deep ties to China. “He’s really, really proud of his Chinese heritage, and he’s passionate that we need to have a positive relationship with China,” says a Republican colleague.

Washington officials describe their state as the most dependent on trade in the nation, and as governor, Locke made at least three trips to China, and now leads his law firm’s China practice. He’s met with Chinese President Hu Jintao, and even carried the Olympic torch last summer on one of its last legs into Beijing. "He’s got access and sort of a special cachet that’s probably going to get him" special treatment, says one state official.