Gary Locke


U.S. Ambassador to China – 2011 to 2014

Locke served as America’s 10th Ambassador to China. During his tenure in Beijing, he worked to open markets for U.S.-made goods and services; reduced wait times for visa interviews of Chinese applicants from 100 days to three days, and was instrumental in making accurate air quality information accessible to people living in China.

U.S. Commerce Secretary – 2009 to 2011

 As the 36th Commerce Secretary, Locke aggressively led the effort to implement President Obama’s National Export Initiative to double American exports in five years; he assumed a troubled 2010 Census process, which, under his active supervision ended on time and substantially under budget, saving taxpayers $2 billion; and he achieved the most significant reduction in patent application processing time in the agency’s history: from 40 months down to one year. Gov. Locke also oversaw a significant first step in the president’s export control reform effort that strengthened national security, while making U.S. companies more competitive by easing their licensing burden for high-tech exports to partners and allies.

Washington State Governor – 1997 to 2005

A two-term Governor of Washington and the first Chinese-American Governor in the history of the United States, Locke fostered robust and constructive economic relations between China and the state of Washington. He helped open doors for Washington businesses by leading 10 productive trade missions to Asia, Mexico, and Europe, significantly expanding the sale of Washington products and services. He also successfully strengthened economic ties between China and Washington. His visits are credited with introducing Washington companies to China and helping more than double the state’s exports to China to over $5 billion per year.

During Locke’s tenure in Olympia, he achieved bipartisan welfare reform and oversaw the gain of 280,000 private sector jobs, despite two national recessions. Gov. Locke’s accomplishments, management skills, and innovations in government efficiency have won him acclaim by nationally recognized authors and organizations, including Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. During his time in office, Washington was ranked as one of the four best managed states in America.

Additional Qualifications

  • Washington State House of Representatives – 1983-1994
  • King County Executive – 1994-1997
  • King County Deputy Prosecutor – 1975-1980


 The Committee of 100, Member: A national nonpartisan organization composed of American citizens of Chinese descent who have achieved positions of leadership in the U.S. in a broad range of professions.


Born into a Chinese immigrant family, Gov. Locke spent his first six years in Seattle’s Yesler Terrace, a public housing project for families of World War II veterans. He worked in his father’s grocery store, became an Eagle Scout, and graduated with honors from Seattle’s Franklin High School in 1968. Gov. Locke attended Yale University, where he received his bachelor’s degree in political science (1972). He earned his law degree from Boston University (1975).