Locke gets support from both parties

March 18, 2009 at 9:48 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 18 (UPI) -- Senators from both parties expressed support Wednesday for former Washington state Gov. Gary Locke, nominated for U.S. commerce secretary.

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said he expected the committee to approve Locke's nomination Thursday and send it to the full Senate for a confirmation vote, The Washington Post reported.

Locke is President Barack Obama's fourth choice for the job. Previous nominees have backed out because of tax or political problems.

But Rockefeller said he and the committee's ranking member, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, "have both looked at the financials and FBI reports."

"It was clean and happy reading," he said.

Hutchison joked, "Boring would have been better," the Post said.

Hutchison said she was pleased by Locke's assurance "that the census will stay in the Department of Commerce and it will be run in a professional process," the Post reported. Republicans had expressed concern that the Obama administration would politicize the redistricting process, which is based on census results.

Locke decided not to run for a third term in 2004, instead joining the Seattle office of the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine to specialize in China and energy issues, the Post said.

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