Best Local Boy Made Good

Gary Locke

For a while, it looked as though former Governor Gary Locke would never live up to his lofty expectations. State pols aren't tapped to offer their national party's response to the State of the Union for nothing, and Locke's name swirled in vice-presidential-candidate pools long before he aired his dissent against Bush. But his robotic, centrist style and Olympia's tendency to swallow promising Democrats whole saw Locke sail off into the electoral sunset in 2005. But Obama offered the pride of Yesler Terrace a new political life free of ballots, first appointing him Commerce Secretary, then, in 2011, ambassador to China, arguably the most critical international diplomatic post outside of Secretary of State. When Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng sought asylum earlier this year, it was Locke who was shown shepherding him to safety, scaling the political peak years after many assumed he'd given up climbing for good. MIKE SEELY

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