The U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination of Gary Locke as U.S. Commerce Secretary by unanimous consent on Mar. 24. Locke is the first Chinese American to serve as Commerce Secretary. He will be an important member of the Obama administration’s economic team. The U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination of Gary Locke as U.S. Commerce Secretary by unanimous consent on Mar. 24. Locke is the first Chinese American to serve as Commerce Secretary. He will be an important member of the Obama administration’s economic team.
The Department of Commerce Web site includes a page on the Department’s organization and mission. The Department’s function is described this way:
The historic mission of the Department is “to foster, promote, and develop the foreign and domestic commerce” of the United States. This has evolved, as a result of legislative and administrative additions, to encompass broadly the responsibility to foster, serve, and promote the Nation's economic development and technological advancement. The Department fulfills this mission by:
a. Participating with other Government agencies in the creation of national policy, through the President's Cabinet and its subdivisions.
b. Promoting and assisting international trade.
c. Strengthening the international economic position of the United States.
d. Promoting progressive domestic business policies and growth.
e. Improving comprehension and uses of the physical environment and its oceanic life.
f. Ensuring effective use and growth of the Nation's scientific and technical resources.
g. Acquiring, analyzing, and disseminating information regarding the Nation and the economy to help achieve increased social and economic benefit.
h. Assisting states, communities, and individuals with economic progress.
The Commerce Department oversees other areas such as the country’s transition to digital television, oceans policy, and weather forecasts.
Locke, 59, is committed to accuracy in the 2010 U.S. Census, “The census only happens once every 10 years and we need to get it right -- no exceptions, no excuses.”
He has also promised Congress that the transition to digital television will be completed by the new June 12 deadline, but he admits that there are still many people who are not prepared for the switch.
Locke is excited about being part of the White House China Team with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
Locke was President Obama’s third choice for Commerce Secretary. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg both withdrew their nominations.