Gary Locke is a leader of the Washington State Democratic Party, having served two terms as governor (1997-2005). An attorney, Locke became the first Chinese-American elected governor in the United States. After leaving public office, he joined the Seattle office of Davis, Wright, Tremain, an international law firm.
Locke (b. 21 Jan 1950) was born in Seattle, a third-generation American; his mother was from Hong Kong but his father was a native U.S. citizen. In 1972, he graduated from Yale University with a political science degree. He earned a law degree from Boston University in 1975. Locke and his wife, Mona Lee Locke, a former reporter for KING 5 television in Seattle, were married in 1994. They have three children: Emily Nicole, Dylan James and Madeline Lee.
Locke's Political Career - Local :
Locke was a King County Deputy Criminal Prosecutor (1976-1980) before entering elected office. In 1982, South Seattle voters elected Locke to the Washington State House of Representatives. He was a member of the House Judiciary and Appropriations committees; his final five years, he served as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. In 1993, he defeated incumbent Tim Hill to become King County's County Executive; he was the first Chinese-American to hold this position.
Locke's Political Career - Governor:
In 1996, Locke become the first Chinese American state governor in U.S. history when he became the 21st Governor of the state of Washington. He easily won re-election in 2000. His second term was marked by the bursting of the dot-com bubble, resulting in controversial budget measures, including reduction in state education funding. Public education is the only charter granted by the state constitution. He did not run for a third term.
Locke's Political Career - National:
In 2003, the Democratic Party selected Lock to respond to George W. Bush's 2003 State of the Union address. On 4 December 2008, the Associated Press reported that Locke was in the running for Secretary of the Interior in then-President-elect Barack Obama's cabinet. On 23 February 2009, CNN reported that Locke was President Barack Obama's third choice for Secretary of Commerce.
After leaving the Governor's office in 2005, Locke joined the Seattle office of the international law firm Davis Wright Tremain, LLC as a partner. He specializes in China, government relations, diversity counseling and energy issues.