Gary Faye Locke (born January 21, 1950) is an American politician. Locke was the United States ambassador to China from 2011 until 2014. He was the 21st Governor of Washington from 1997 to 2005 and served in the Obama administration as United States Secretary of Commerce from 2009 to 2011.
Locke is the first governor in the continental United States of Asian descent, and is the only Chinese American ever to serve as a governor of any state. He is also the first Chinese American to serve as the U.S. ambassador to China.
Gary Locke was born on January 21, 1950, in Seattle, Washington, and spent his early years living in the Yesler Terrace public housing project. A third-generation Chinese American with paternal ancestry from Taishan, China, Locke is the second of five children of James Locke, who served as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Fifth Armored Division during World War II, and his wife Julie, who is from Hong Kong. His paternal grandfather left China in the 1890s and moved to the United States, where he worked as a houseboy in Olympia, Washington, in exchange for English lessons. Gary Locke did not learn how to speak English until he was five years old and entered kindergarten.
Locke graduated with honors from Seattle’s Franklin High School in 1968, and achieved Eagle Scout rank and received the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America. Through a combination of part-time jobs, financial aid, and scholarships, Locke attended Yale University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in political science in 1972. He later received his juris doctor from Boston University School of Law in 1975...
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