(Washington D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor after Governor Gary Locke was confirmed by the Senate as Secretary of Commerce. Governor Locke was confirmed by unanimous consent. 

“Mr. President, I am proud to speak today to support Gary Locke to be the next Secretary of Commerce at this important time in our nation’s history.  As we all work to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, we need a Commerce Secretary with the dedication and expertise to carry out policies that will strengthen our economy well into the future.

“I believe that Gary Locke is uniquely qualified for that task because of a lifetime of experience built on hard work, a wealth of knowledge, and a unique appreciation of the American Dream.

“Mr. President, Governor Locke understands the importance of the American Dream because he has lived it.  His grandfather emigrated from China and worked as a servant just one mile from the governor’s mansion in Olympia that his grandson would one day call home. 

“Mr. President, there are lots of reasons why Governor Locke is an ideal nominee. But I want to tell one personal story that I think illustrates his commitment to public service and to making sure we make the best decisions for the taxpayers.

I” first met Governor Locke in the Washington state Legislature when he was chair of the House Appropriations Committee and I was a new state Senator trying to get a piece of legislation passed that was critical to my constituents. 

“As a part of the process of getting the bill passed, I went before then-Chairman Locke’s committee.  And it was one of the toughest experiences of my political life up to that point.  He knew the budget inside and out, and he ran me through the paces.  He grilled me about what my bill would do and how much it would cost, and what impact it would have on the taxpayers. 

“He was tough.  But ultimately, because he asked the hard questions and made me defend my legislation, we improved the focus of the bill and got it passed.

“Governor Locke has brought that level of expertise and dedication to the taxpayers in every single position he has held.  And it makes him an ideal candidate to lead the Commerce Department.

“So Mr. President, let me say a few words about the experience Governor Locke brings to this position.  One of the most critical jobs the Commerce Secretary performs is finding markets for American products and technologies.

“Governor Locke understands how important this is – and he knows how to do it successfully.  As the two-term governor of the nation’s most trade-dependent state, he spent eight years breaking down trade barriers and promoting our American products – from airplanes, to apples, to operating systems. 

“He has led numerous, successful delegations to our Asian trading partners to help build those relationships. 

“Governor Locke also understands that the health of the environment has a direct impact on our quality of life – and on the economy

“Mr. President, all of Governor Locke’s experience means he will hit the ground running as Commerce Secretary as we confront global climate change and other environmental concerns, including the management of our fisheries.

“Mr. President, I am pleased to help support the confirmation of Gary Locke.  He won unanimous approval from the Commerce Committee and today he won unanimous approval from the full Senate today.

“He has served the people of Washington state well and he will bring that same level of commitment and intelligence to this Administration.”