Obama Picks Locke for Commerce

Posted February 25, 2009 at 10:50am

President Barack Obama on Wednesday nominated former Washington Gov. Gary Locke (D) to be Commerce secretary, his third choice for the post.

The nod to Locke, who served as Washington co-chairman for Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign, marks another move by Obama to people his administration with former political opponents. Locke was the first Chinese American governor in the nation’s history.

Locke’s appointment follows the withdrawal of the Commerce nominations of New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) and Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.). It will likely mark an end to Obama’s efforts during the initial round of appointments to put Republicans in key administration positions.

“Gary will be a trusted voice in my Cabinet and a tireless advocate for our economic competitiveness and an influential ambassador for American industry, who will help us do everything we can, especially now, to promote our industry around the world,” Obama said in remarks at the White House ceremony. “I’m grateful he’s agreed to leave one Washington for another.”