Profile: Nominated U.S. ambassador to China Gary Locke

10:58, March 10, 2011      

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File photo taken on Feb. 24, 2010 shows U.S. President Barack Obama (R) talking with Commerce Secretary Gary Locke at the White House in Washington D.C., capital of the United States. Obama on March 9, 2011 formally nominated Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to be the next U.S. Ambassador to China, saying that no one is better qualified for the diplomatic post than Locke. (Xinhua Photo)

U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday nominated Commerce Secretary Gary Locke as U.S. ambassador to China, saying no one is better qualified for the diplomatic post than Locke.

If approved by the U.S. Senate and China, 61-year-old Locke would succeed Jon Huntsman, who is expected to end his tenure at the end of April. Locke would be the first Chinese-American to hold the post.

Following is a brief profile of Locke.

Born into an immigrant family on Jan. 21, 1950, Locke spent his first six years in Seattle's Yesler Terrace, a public housing project for families of World War II veterans.

His grandfather, from southern China's Guangdong province, first came to America to work as a houseboy in a Washington state home in exchange for English lessons. His father, who also was born in China and moved to the United States as a teenager, died in January this year.

Locke worked in his father's grocery store, and graduated with honors from Seattle's Franklin High School in 1968. Through a combination of part-time jobs, financial aid and scholarships, Locke attended Yale University, earning a bachelor's degree in political science in 1972.

After receiving his law degree from Boston University in 1975, he worked for several years as a deputy prosecutor in King County of the Washington state, prosecuting felony crimes.

In 1982, Locke was elected to the Washington State House of Representatives, where he served on the House Judiciary and Appropriations committees, with his final five years there spent as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

Locke served as chief executive of King County in 1993.

He was elected Washington state governor in November 1996, making him the first Chinese-American governor in U.S. history. In November 2000, Locke, a Democrat, was re-elected governor of Washington.

After leaving office in 2005, Locke joined the Seattle office of the international law firm Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, where he co-chaired the firm's China practice and was active in its governmental relations practice.

President Obama nominated Locke as commerce secretary in February 2009, and he was sworn in on May 1.

Locke and his wife, Mona Lee Locke, a former reporter for the NBC affiliate KING 5 television in Seattle, were married in October 1994. The Lockes have three children -- Emily, born in March 1997, Dylan, born in March 1999, and Madeline, born in November 2004.

Source: Xinhua
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