In the wake of Gary Locke’s resignation announcement after his brief but eventful tenure as US Ambassador, two possible successors were named: Former Chief Financial Officer of California Steven Westley (left) and Edwin Mah Lee, the mayor of San Francisco (right). SMCP reports:
Locke’s announcement coincided with a visit to China by San Francisco mayor Edwin Mah Lee. Lee has been rumored to be in line for the post, reported the San Francisco Chronicle, citing “rumors [that] have been circulating at San Francisco City Hall since at least September.”
Lee is the 43rd mayor of San Francisco and the first Asian American to assume the post. Born in Seattle to parents that immigrated to the US from Guangdong, Lee has visited China three times over the past year and has met both previous Chinese President Hu Jintao and current Vice President Li Yuanchao.
“While amused by the speculation, he has no interest in being ambassador to China,” Falvey reportedly told the San Francisco Chronicle in a follow-up article. “He is 100 per cent committed to a job he loves – being mayor of the best city in the world.”
Despite these claims, pundits have not completely written off Lee – the San Francisco mayor was originally only appointed as a one-year interim mayor in 2011, and said at the time that he had “no interest” in running for a full four-year term, a statement he later revised.
About Steven Westley:
Previously a candidate for the 2006 Governor of California election, the 57-year-old Westley currently runs The Westly Group, a clean technology venture capital organisation, and frequently visits China for business every few months. His wife, Anita Yu Westley, immigrated to the United States from Hong Kong as a child.
Westley has been considered for the position in the past, according to reports by The International New York Times, but has yet to issue any recent comment in light of Locke’s announcement.
Okay, elephant in the room: Internet rumors have been circulating that Locke decided to leave his post because of an extramarital affair he had in Beijing. His wife denies these allegations (which, as far as we know, are unfounded), and says he decided to resign so he could rejoin his family in Seattle.