Senate Confirms Locke As Commerce Secretary

The Senate Tuesday night confirmed former Washington State Governor Gary Locke as secretary of Commerce.

The Commerce Commitee voted last week to approve the nomination of Locke, the administration's third choice for the post.

As Commerce Secretary, Locke will ultimately be in charge of the NTIA's broadband stimulus grant program ($4.6 billion) and the DTV digital-to-analog converter box coupon program, which has $650 million in funding to make sure analog-only viewers are not disenfranchised by the switch to digital.

Locke is the Obama administration's third attempt to seat a new Commerce Secretary after Republican Senator Judd Gregg (New Hampshire) withdrew his nomination citing differences with the administration over moving some of the census responsibilities out of Commerce and over the stimulus package.

Gregg was a replacement for former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who also withdrew his name due to an investigation of a private company's dealings with the state government, specifically how political donors won a state contract.

"I am very pleased to see Gary Locke confirmed by the Senate to be our nation's 36th Secretary of Commerce," said Rockefeller in a statement Tuesday. "The American people deserve to know that the person working every day to determine the best way to reboot this economy understands -- and simply put, Gary Locke gets it."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.