President Obama Introduces His Latest Commerce Secretary Nominee

Feb 25, 2009 12:13pm

In the Indian Treaty Room of the old executive office building this morning — an ornate room where no treaty with India or native Americans has ever been signed — President Obama introduced his third nominee to be Commerce Secretary, former Washington Gov. Gary Locke.

Alluding to the aborted nominations of New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Sen. Judd Gregg, R-NH, the president said, "I’m sure it’s not lost on anyone that we’ve tried this a couple of times, but I’m a big believer in keeping at something until you get it right. And Gary is the right man for this job."

The president said Lock shared his "vision for our common future — one in which we accept the responsibility to act boldly and wisely to confront the extraordinary challenges of our times, put people back to work doing the work America needs done, and lay a new foundation for America’s growth and prosperity."

Heralding Locke’s work bringing businesses to Washington state, the president said Locke convinced "businesses to set up shop and create the jobs of the 21st century — jobs in science and technology; agriculture and energy — jobs that pay well and can’t be shipped overseas. That’s what he did by establishing favorable markets abroad where Washington state’s businesses could sell their products."

He also spent some time telling Locke’s personal story, describing how the grandson of a teenage Chinese immigrant who worked as a houseboy a century ago one mile from the governor’s mansion ended up living in that mansion. "Sometimes the American story can be told in the span of a single mile," Mr. Obama said.

Locke said he "grew up on the values of get a good education, work hard, and take care of each other … My family’s story is America’s story."

"Congratulations," the president said to his third choice for the office. "You’ll be great."

– jpt

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