By Sue Misao
Northwest Asian Weekly
The United States ambassador to China, Gary Locke, said Nov. 19 that he would resign his post early next year to rejoin his family in Seattle. He told President Barack Obama of his decision when they met earlier in November.
Locke said in a statement that he was proud of what the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in China have accomplished, including increasing U.S. exports to China, promoting Chinese investment in the U.S., and reducing waiting times for a visa, which has “significantly increased” Chinese business and tourism travel there.
Locke, governor of Washington state from 1997 to 2005, is popular in the Northwest Asian Community.
“Its wonderful news to hear Gary Locke is returning to Seattle, he is the golden boy and one of Washington state’s greatest sons,” wrote Yale Wong, CEO & Co-Founder of Seattle’s General Biodiesel, Inc. “Before leaving to Washington, D.C. as Secretary of Commerce, he helped General Biodiesel, Inc. accomplish getting recognized as true player in the Washington state renewable energy space. We hope he can join our General Biodiesel, Inc. board again.”
“As both Secretary of Commerce and Ambassador to China, Gary Locke has been a tremendous leader focused on meaningful results,” said Seattle Port Commissioner Courtney Gregoire. “From expanding U.S. exports around the globe to reducing visa wait times for Chinese tourists looking to visit America, Locke has made an indelible impact. Seattle will welcome him home with open arms.”
Al Sugiyama, executive director of Executive Development Institute, also expressed admiration for Locke.
“I couldn’t be more prouder of Gary. Not just because he is the Ambassador to China but more importantly, he put his family ahead of his career,” said Sugiyama. “He is someone that everyone should look up to.”
Wing Luke Museum executive director Beth Takekawa also praised Locke’s service.
“We’re proud of Ambassador Locke’s amazing years of service to the public,” said Takekawa. “Similar to the example of Wing Luke, our Museum’s namesake, he is a Seattle-based trailblazer. The Governor Gary Locke Library and Community Heritage Center at the Wing Luke Museum is an important resource for students and researchers now and for the future.”
“It is exciting to have Gary Locke return to our community,” said Teresita Batayola, CEO of International Community Health Services. “His roots and family are here and it will be interesting to watch which arena he will take on next as a leader.”
Sam Wan of Kin On was surprised at the announcement, but had only good words to say about Locke.
“It’s a surprise for me to learn Ambassador Locke is stepping down as the U.S. Ambassador to China,” Wan wrote. “Gary serves as a bridge between U.S. and China for many years and he serves our country well. I am sure he will continue to contribute his invaluable knowledge and experience in promoting the interests of our country.”
Locke was the first Chinese American to hold the post of U.S. Ambassador to China. His father and grandfather were born in China.
“The Lock family is a great asset to our community,” said Jerry Lee of the architectural firm Mulvanny G2. “It’ll be wonderful to have them back in the Pacific Northwest.”
Locke took up the Ambassador post in August 2011. (end)
Sue Misao can be reached at email@example.com.