The Senate today confirmed former Washington Gov. Gary Locke as commerce secretary, handing President Obama an easy victory after his first two nominees for the post withdrew. Locke, 59, was America's first Chinese-American governor, serving two terms from 1997 to 2005. He has promised to focus on job creation and to closely oversee the 2010 census.
Some Republican lawmakers have been critical of Obama administration comments indicating that the White House might seek greater control over the census. Locke sought to dampen those concerns at a hearing last week. The Commerce Department has broad responsibilities, including many aspects of international trade, oceans policy, and weather forecasts. It is also overseeing the nation's transition to digital TV.