Gary Faye Locke (born January 21, 1950) is an American politician and the current United States Ambassador to China.
Locke was the 21st Governor of Washington, serving from 1997 to 2005. He was the first governor of a state in the Continental United States of Asian descent, and is the only Chinese American ever to serve as a governor.He was then appointed by President Barack Obama as United States Secretary of Commerce which he served as until August 1, 2011, when President Obama appointed Locke Ambassador to China.
Experience: King County deputy prosecutor, 1976-80; Washington state lawmaker, 1982-93; King County executive, 1994-97; Washington state governor, 1997-2005; partner, Davis Wright Tremaine law firm, 2005-2009; secretary of commerce, 2009-present
Education: Bachelor's degree, Yale University, 1972; law degree, Boston University, 1975
Family: Wife, Mona Lee Locke; three children
1982: Elected to state House from Seattle's 37th District; for five years, chaired appropriations committee, a job that involves writing and negotiating state budget
1993: Elected King County executive, defeating incumbent Tim Hill; cut budget, expanded transit services, developed nationally acclaimed growth-management plan
1996: Elected governor, defeating Republican Ellen Craswell and becoming nation's first Chinese-American governor
1998: Leads opposition to voter-approved Initiative 200, which prohibited race-based preferences in state hiring, contracting and college admissions; opposes voter-approved Referendum 49, which cut vehicle taxes and pumped $2.4 billion into road construction by shifting money out of general fund
2000: Voters approve two ballot initiatives, to boost teacher salaries and reduce class sizes by hiring more teachers; pushes through Legislature an economic-development package for rural communities; re-elected to second term by defeating Republican John Carlson
2001: Legislature and Locke fail to pass transportation plan; Boeing announces headquarters will move to Chicago, prompting criticism that the governor failed to heed business concerns; creates Washington Competitiveness Council to keep companies
2002: Voters reject Referendum 51, a $7.8 billion roads package, prompting criticism that Locke showed no leadership by pushing for referendum to be placed on ballot.
2003: Delivers Democratic response to President Bush's State of the Union address; favors cuts over tax increases to deal with projected $2.6 billion budget deficit; proposes $3 billion incentive package to Boeing for 7E7 Dreamliner program
2005: Becomes partner in Davis Wright Tremaine law firm in Seattle
2006: Works to bring Chinese President Hu Jintao to Seattle to meet with state and business leaders
2008: Runs leg of Olympic torch relay in China before Beijing Olympics
2009: Nominated by President Obama to lead Commerce Department (sworn in March 26)
2011: Nominated by Obama for ambassadorship to China
On February 25, 2009, Locke was announced as President Barack Obama's choice for Secretary of Commerce. His nomination was confirmed by the United States Senate by unanimous consent on March 24, 2009. Locke was sworn in March 26, 2009, by District judge Richard A. Jones. He was sworn in by President Obama on May 1, 2009. He is the first Chinese American appointed as Secretary of Commerce, and one of three Asian Americans in Obama's cabinet, joining Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, the most of any administration. Politico has reported Locke has been a popular cabinet member among both businesses and the executive branch. A declaration of assets made in March 2011 showed Locke to be the sixth-richest official in the US executive branch.
Following the resignation of Jon Huntsman, Jr., Locke was nominated by President Obama to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the People's Republic of China. The Senate confirmed him by unanimous consent on July 27, 2011. On August 1, 2011, Locke resigned as Commerce Secretary and took up his new post. A photo of Locke carrying his own backpack and ordering his own coffee at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport went viral on the Sina Weibo social network.
At his first news conference after arrival in Beijing, Locke pledged to promote bilateral cooperation and understanding between the two countries.
Early in Locke's ambassadorship, Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng escaped from house arrest and sought refuge in the US Embassy in Beijing in April 2012. On May 2, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs demanded an apology from the US for its role in the Chen incident. In an editorial on May 4, Beijing Daily questioned Locke's motives by taking in Chen, and described Chen as "a tool and a pawn for American politicians to blacken China