Monday, December 7, 2020 | 1:30 PM EST - 2:45 PM EST

Zoom webinar | Bob Holden, Jon Huntsman, Jr., Gary Locke, Rick Snyder

National politics have grabbed the headlines over the last few months; less publicized are the challenges taking place at the local levels. Nine former Governors gathered this fall to discuss the toll a deteriorating U.S.-China relationship has had on their states. As localities have faced job cuts, lost markets, multiple crises in higher education, and reduced trade revenues, among others, the governors all agreed that we must work to stabilize the bilateral relationship and develop a long-term strategy that recognizes that while the United States and China inevitably will compete in some areas, it will be essential for us to cooperate in others.

On December 7, 2020, the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations and the U.S. Heartland China Association (USHCA) invited former governor and current chairman and CEO of USHCA Bob Holden (Missouri, D, 2001-2005), along with former governors Jon Huntsman, Jr. (Utah, R, 2005-2011), Gary Locke (Washington, D, 1997-2005), and Rick Snyder (Michigan, R, 2011-2019) to discuss the consequences of bilateral tensions in each of their respective states and how revitalizing subnational relationships and cooperation can help pave a path forward.

Bob Holden served as Missouri’s 53rd governor from 2001 to 2005. Prior to being elected Governor, Holden served two terms as Missouri State treasurer and three terms as a Missouri State representative. During Governor Holden’s term in office, he chaired the Midwest Governors Association, opened Missouri’s first trade office in China, created Missouri’s first Hispanic Outreach Committee, moved Missouri from 41st to 5th in terms of women in leadership positions, appointed over 200 African Americans to prominent leadership roles, established the state’s first Youth Cabinet, and built the first LEED certified state office building in Missouri.
As the chairman and CEO of United States Heartland China Association (USHCA), a grassroots organization first established as the Midwest-U.S. China Association, Governor Holden has been a tireless advocate for the significance of the heartland region for U.S.-China relations.  He continues to build a bipartisan coalition around USHCA that is committed to strong, stable ties between the United States and China.
He believes that long-term economic success for both countries must be built on mutual respect, clear understandings, and honest dialogue. This can be achieved by expanding our cultural ties, creating more educational partnerships, and creating bridges of opportunities for successful business in both countries.
Jon Huntsman, Jr. began his career in public service as a staff assistant to President Ronald Reagan, and served each of the five presidents since then in critical roles around the world, including as deputy assistant secretary of commerce for Asia, U.S. trade ambassador, and ambassador to Singapore, China, and most recently, Russia. Twice elected governor of Utah, Governor Huntsman brought about strong economic and tax reforms, tripled the state’s rainy-day fund, and helped bring unemployment rates to historic lows. During his tenure, Utah was named the best-managed state in America and ranked number one in the nation in job growth.
Ambassador Huntsman was a candidate for president in 2012. Previously he chaired or served on the boards of several major companies, educational institutions, and non-profits. He has been a visiting fellow at the Kennedy School of Government, and a distinguished lecturer at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy. Huntsman is a seventh generation Utahn and has been married for 36 years to Mary Kaye Huntsman. They are the parents of seven children, including two adopted daughters from China and India. Huntsman is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and has ten honorary doctoral degrees.
Gary Locke currently is the interim president of Bellevue College. During the Obama administration, he served as secretary of commerce and ambassador to China. Before his appointment to the president’s cabinet, Ambassador Locke served two terms as governor of Washington where he expanded the sale of Washington products and services by leading trade missions to Asia, Mexico, and Europe. Governor Locke has extensive experience working with China.  As commerce secretary, he co-chaired two sessions of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade that resulted in important changes to Chinese trade policy. As governor of Washington, he strengthened economic ties between China and Washington State, more than doubling its exports to China to over $5 billion per year. As a partner in the Seattle office of the international law firm, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, he co-chaired the firm’s China practice.
Governor Locke is the first Chinese-American to serve as ambassador to China, as secretary of commerce, and as governor. His grandfather emigrated from China to Washington State, initially finding employment as a servant, working in exchange for English lessons. His father, also born in China, was a small business owner, operating a grocery store where Ambassador Locke worked while receiving his education in Seattle public schools. Ambassador Locke went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in political science from Yale University and a law degree from Boston University. He currently serves as interim president of Bellevue College.
Rick Snyder served as governor of Michigan from 2011 to 2019. He led a depressed bottom 10 state to top 10 status. Michigan became a leader in job creation and increases in per capita income. The turnaround of Detroit, eliminating a huge budget deficit, providing health care to over 600,000 citizens, and reducing government debt by over $20 billion were key achievements. Multiple other economic, educational, infrastructure, cybersecurity and quality of life programs were implemented. From 1997 to 2010, he led two of the largest venture entities in Michigan history, which focused on early stage investments and university technology transfer. Snyder served as COO and later chairman of Gateway, a PC company, which he helped grow from a privately held $600 million entity to a NYSE listed $6 billion corporation. He started his career as a tax accountant with the Detroit office of PricewaterhouseCoopers and in six years was made partner.
Snyder is the first certified public accountant to be elected governor of Michigan.  He and his wife, Sue, reside in Ann Arbor.
Steve Orlins has been president of the National Committee since 2005. Prior to that, he held several senior positions in major companies, primarily based Asia: managing director of Carlyle Asia; chair of the board of Taiwan Broadband Communications; senior advisor to AEA Investors Inc., with responsibility for AEA’s business activities throughout Asia; a managing director with Lehman Brothers and president of Lehman Brothers Asia. Prior to that he practiced law with Coudert Brothers and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York, Hong Kong, and Beijing. From 1976 to 1979, Mr. Orlins was in the Office of the Legal Advisor of the United States Department of State, first in the Office of the Assistant Legal Advisor for Political-Military Affairs and then for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. While in that office, he was a member of the legal team that helped establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China.
Mr. Orlins is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College and earned his law degree at Harvard Law School. In 1992, Mr. Orlins was the Democratic nominee for the United States Congress in New York’s Third Congressional District.