The Republican ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives sent a letter to former Washington Gov. Gary Locke, President Obama's nominee to be Commerce secretary, and the White House seeking Locke's position on the census in anticipation of his confirmation hearings.

In particular, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) asked what Locke thinks about speculation that the White House could strip the Commerce secretary of overseeing the the census and consolidate that authority in the administration. That speculation was cited a reason why Sen. Judd Gregg, a Republican of New Hampshire, withdrew his nomination for the post. Gregg has since said that had little influence on his decision.

McHenry's letter could be an indication of hurdles Locke will face in the confirmation process.

Check out the letter below.

February 26, 2009
Governor Gary Locke
c/o: The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Governor Locke,

Management of the 2010 Decennial Census will be an important responsibility for the next Secretary of Commerce. Last year, seven former Directors of the U.S. Census Bureau, appointed by Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, G.H.W. Bush, Clinton, and G.W. Bush wrote,

It is the responsibility of the Census Bureau to physically count every person in the United States. However, there are partisans who advocate statistical