Gary Locke (politician)

Gary Locke (politician)

Infobox Governor
name= Gary Locke 駱家輝

office= Governor of Washington
term_start= 1997
term_end= 2005
predecessor= Mike Lowry
successor=Christine Gregoire
birth_date= birth date and age|1950|1|21
birth_place= Seattle, Washington
spouse= Mona Lee Locke
(李矇/Lĭ Méng)
party= Democrat

Gary Faye Locke (born January 21, 1950) was elected governor of Washington (1997-2005). A Democrat, he was the first Chinese-American governor in American history.cite news|title=Middle man: Gov. Gary Locke’s eight years in office showed hard work, if no real flash|url=|last=Robinson|first=Sean|publisher=The News Tribune|date=2005-01-02|accessdate=2007-10-17]


Locke was born in Seattle, Washington. A third-generation American with paternal ancestry from Taishan, Guangdong Province, China, Locke is the second of five children of James (a native of the United States, and Julie Locke (from Hong Kong). His parents gave him the Chinese name of Lok Ga-fai, similar phonologically to his English name of Gary Faye Locke.

He graduated with honors from Seattle’s Franklin High School in 1968. Locke achieved Eagle Scout and received the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America.cite book |last=Townley |first=Alvin |authorlink= |coauthors= | origdate= 2006-12-26 |url=|title=Legacy of Honor: The Values and Influence of America's Eagle Scouts |publisher=St. Martin's Press|location=New York |pages=pp. 5, 35-45|id=ISBN 0-312-36653-1 |accessdate=2006-12-29]

Through a combination of part-time jobs, financial aid and scholarships, Locke attended Yale University, earning a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1972. He then earned a law degree from the Boston University School of Law in 1975.

In 1994, Locke married Mona Lee, a Seattle television reporter. Her father was from Shanghai and her mother from Hubei. They have three children: Emily Nicole, Dylan James, and Madeline Lee.


In 1982, Locke's South Seattle district elected him to the Washington House of Representatives, where he served as chairman of the Appropriations Committee. Eleven years later, in 1993, Locke made history by becoming the first Chinese American to be elected King County's County Executive, defeating incumbent Tim Hill. In 1996, he won the primary and general elections for governor, becoming the first major Chinese-American state governor in North America. He easily won reelection in the 2000 governor's race.

Democrats criticized Locke for embracing the Republican Party's no-new-taxes approach to dealing with Washington's budget woes during and after the 2001 recession. Among his spending-reduction proposals were laying off thousands of state employees; reducing health coverage; freezing most state employees' pay; and cutting funding for nursing homes and programs for the developmentally disabled. In his final budget, Locke suspended two voter-passed, pro-school initiatives while cutting state education funding. That same state budget, though, had record-high allocations for construction projects.

On the national stage, Democrats saw Gary Locke as a rising star and a possible vice-presidential pick. He was chosen to give the Democrat's response to George W. Bush's 2003 State of the Union address. Former Washington Supreme Court Justice Phil Talmadge announced his plans to challenge Locke (supported by the state's political left) in the 2004 Democratic primary. Talmadge ended his campaign early for health reasons.

Leaving office

In a surprise move, Locke announced in July 2003 that he would not seek a third term, saying, "Despite my deep love of our state, I want to devote more time to my family."

Susan Paynter, a columnist at the "Seattle Post-Intelligencer", suggested that slurs, insults, and threats that Locke and his family received, especially the large number which came after his rebuttal to George W. Bush's 2003 State of the Union address, played a role in Locke's decision to leave office after two terms. The governor's office received hundreds of threatening letters and e-mails; others threatened to kill his children. [cite news|url=|title=Threats to Locke's family are a factor in third-term decision|last=Paynter|first=Susan|publisher=Seattle Post-Intelligencer|date=2003-07-26|accessdate=2007-10-17]

Locke left office on January 12, 2005. If the disputed 2004 election between Christine Gregoire and Dino Rossi had not been resolved by then, the state constitution mandated that Locke would have remained in office.Fact|date=August 2007

Next, Locke joined the Seattle office of international law firm Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, in their China and governmental-relations practice groups. During the leadup to the 2008 primary, Governor Locke signed on as Washington co-chairman of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's bid for president. [cite news|url=|publisher=Seattle Post-Intelligencer|title=Ex-governor Locke named Clinton state co-chair|last=Ammons|first=David|date=2007-10-07|accessdate=2007-10-17]


External links

* [ Article "Threats to Locke's family are a factor in third-term decision"] , "Seattle Post-Intelligencer"
* [ Bio of Gary Locke] , Washington State Digital Archives
* [ "Searching for Asian America"] , PBS
* [ "Was Someone Plotting To Kill Governor Locke?"] , KOMO TV News

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