Third Time’s a Charm? Obama’s new pick for SOC

With two failed picks for commerce secretary behind him, White House officials say that former Washington Gov. Gary Locke will be President Obama’s next choice to be hoisted out to the public. 

From Fox News:

Locke, a Democrat, was the nation’s first Chinese-American governor when he served two terms in the Washington statehouse from 1997 to 2005. 

Since leaving office he’s been working for the Seattle-based law firm Davis Wright Tremaine on issues involving China, energy and governmental relations. He argues that global engagement is a way to improve China’s human rights record and deal with piracy of intellectual property. 

Obama surely wants his third nomination to the commerce department to be as drama-free as possible. Already troubled by the personal controversies of nominees for other more high-profile departments, Obama has run into unexpected problems filling the commerce post. 

The typically low-profile head of the department oversees agencies responsible for the once-a-decade census, for oceans policy and for many aspects of international trade, among other things. 

But in Obama’s administration, the delay in getting a commerce secretary has been top news in part because it has been accompanied by other Cabinet troubles. He still does not have a Health and Human Services secretary, either. Former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle withdrew his nomination for that post amid a tax controversy. 

The loss of Gregg for the commerce job also highlighted the difficulty Obama has had reaching out to Republicans. Gregg would have been one of three Republicans Obama had put in his Cabinet to emphasize his campaign pledge that he would be an agent of bipartisan change. 

Despite those and other efforts, Obama drew hardly any GOP support for his main legislative priority, the stimulus package. 

Locke, 59, was born into an immigrant family and lived in a Seattle public housing project until he was 6. He graduated from Yale University, which he attended with a combination of scholarships and financial aid, and Boston University Law School. 

He lists among his accomplishments as governor a package of tax breaks that persuaded The Boeing Co. to assemble its new 787 jetliner in Everett, north of Seattle, and expanded transportation and construction budgets. 

Locke is married to Mona Lee Locke, a former television news reporter who is now executive director of the regional affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, a breast cancer research and advocacy organization. They have three children. 

Perhaps Locke will pass muster with the Senate.  We’ll be watching.