By Stacy Nguyen
Northwest Asian Weekly
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke is a very busy man. He’s in charge of the U.S. Census Bureau, the Economic Development Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Minority Business Development Agency, among many others.
Is it all too much?
That’s what some have suspected. Earlier this month, a local Chinese community member was heard asking, “How is Gary? I heard that he resigned as commerce secretary.”
Adding his voice to the fray of rumors, a former bodyguard of Locke, who worked for him when he was Washington’s governor, emphatically stated that it’s very likely that Locke will come back to Seattle after he is finished being secretary of commerce. “There is a job here waiting for him [now],” said the bodyguard, speaking on condition of anonymity.
With so many people supposedly ‘in the know,’ it’s hard to pick out the correct information.
Locke is no stranger to having rumors about him being passed around. They have plagued him since he entered politics. After he finished his second term as governor in 2005, a rumor circulated widely that he would join the Port of Seattle as its CEO, a position that Tay Yoshitani eventually took over. At the time, when asked about the Port of Seattle rumor, Locke had stated that there was no truth in it.
Five years later, not much has changed in terms of the veracity of the rumors. “They are absolutely not true,” Locke said in a telephone interview.
Locke returned to Seattle on June 23. Rather than coming back for a prospective job, Locke came back to celebrate a family event. “I came here for Mona’s parents’ 50th anniversary,” he said. “I have no idea who [spread the rumors].” Mona, who works for Komen for the Cure, is Locke’s wife.
Locke said that his visit was purely personal. He was happy to see Seattle, his parents, and his friends during the week.
He also does not remain still for long. He recently returned from the World Expo in Beijing. “It was just absolutely stunning. The architecture and everything is very amazing. It is too bad that only five of the pavilions will get to stay.”
He doesn’t know how rumors about him get started. “I have not talked to anyone,” he said. “I am enjoying my job in D.C. … It’s very challenging, but we’re making progress.”
Locke said that the U.S. Census is ahead of schedule and under its budget. In addition, he said he was able to save half a billion dollars on the digital TV changeover.
There has been only one thing he doesn’t like about D.C. — the recent heat wave. D.C. reached a record-breaking 100 degrees. Unlike temperatures in the Northwest, temperatures in D.C. and Baltimore have consistently exceeded past averages.
Locke’s young son Dylan also enjoys D.C. “It has a good school and good community,” he said during the anniversary party. ♦
Assunta Ng contributed to this report.
Stacy Nguyen can be reached at email@example.com.