10 Things You Didn't Know About Gary Locke

President Obama nominated Locke as the next commerce secretary.

By + More

1. Gary Locke was born in Seattle on Jan. 21, 1950, the second of five children. His parents, Jimmy and Julie Locke, were both Chinese immigrants.

2. His first six years were spent in Seattle's Yesler Terrace, public housing for World War II veterans. Jimmy Locke was an Army staff sergeant in Europe.

3. As a youngster, Gary worked in his father's grocery store and was an Eagle Scout.

4. Following his graduation from Seattle's Franklin High School, Locke earned a bachelor's degree from Yale in 1972 and a law degree from Boston University in 1975.

5. Locke was a deputy prosecutor, a state representative, and then chief executive of King County before being elected governor of Washington in 1996. His election made him the nation's first Chinese-American governor.

6. In the governor's mansion, Locke awoke one night to find a bat circling over the bassinet of his infant daughter. He managed to shoo the bat out of the room with a dust mop. After health officials raised an alarm about rabies, the governor, his wife, and the 4-week-old received rabies shots.

7. During the 2008 presidential primaries, Locke supported Hillary Clinton and served as state co-chairman of her campaign.

8. An avid do-it-yourselfer, Locke spent about 10 years gutting and rebuilding his home. He once broke two vertebrae when he fell off the roof after his ladder shifted.

9. Before last summer's Beijing Olympics, Locke ran a leg of the Olympic torch relay.

10. Locke and his wife, Mona Lee, have three children: Emily, Dylan, and Madeline.


  • Washington State Office of the Governor
  • Associated Press
  • Seattle Times
  • Seattle Post-Intelligencer
  • Spokesman Review
  • The Olympian