Governor Gina Raimondo. Photo via Governor Raimondo's Facebook Page.

President-elect Joe Biden has picked Governor Gina Raimondo to join his cabinet as commerce secretary.

The news was first reported by Jonathan Martin, the National Political Correspondent for The New York Times.

On Thursday evening, President-elect Biden made the announcement official in a press release, here is an excerpt;

“Today, President-elect Joe Biden announced additional key members of his economic and jobs team: Governor Gina Raimondo, nominee for Secretary of Commerce; Mayor Marty Walsh, nominee for Secretary of Labor; Isabel Guzman, nominee for Small Business Administrator; and Don Graves, nominee for Deputy Secretary of Commerce. With two dozen cabinet nominees announced, President-elect Biden has put forward the most diverse cabinet in American history — all tested, dedicated public servants ready to lead on day one.

This experienced team will advance the President-elect’s Build Back Better agenda, digging us out from the worst jobs crisis in nearly a century by supporting small businesses, dramatically increasing union density, and rebuilding the backbone of America — our middle class. The nominees announced today will usher in a new wave of worker power, help struggling small businesses recover and re-open, and put Americans back to work by creating millions of good-paying union jobs. They will be partners to the President-elect in building a stronger, more resilient, and more inclusive economy that delivers every American a fair return for their work and an equal chance to get ahead.

President-Elect Joe Biden said, “This team will help us emerge from the most inequitable economic and jobs crisis in modern history by building an economy where every American is in on the deal. They share my belief that the middle class built this country and that unions built the middle class. They know how to work with states, cities, small towns, and tribal communities, along with labor, entrepreneurs, and businesses to get things done for American workers. They will work tirelessly to ensure every American enjoys a fair return for their work and an equal chance to get ahead, and that our businesses can thrive and outcompete the rest of the world. They will be ready on day one.”

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris said, “As we work to contain this pandemic and open our economy responsibly, we must also build our economy back better so it lifts up all Americans. The outstanding team of public servants we are announcing today will protect and expand workers’ rights, provide access to capital for small business owners, and invest in American innovation and competitiveness. And I look forward to working alongside them and the rest of our economic team to help create millions of good-paying, union jobs and build an economy that’s not only stronger, but fairer for working people.”

This distinguished slate of public servants includes:

  • Governor Gina Raimondo is nominated to serve as Secretary of Commerce. Currently serving her second term as the 75th Governor of Rhode Island — the first woman to hold the position — she is known as an effective and innovative executive whose strong management brought her state back from what was, at the time she first ran for Governor, the worst unemployment rate of any state in the nation. A champion of creative, forward-thinking economic initiatives, Governor Raimondo launched successful workforce training programs to prepare Americans for the 21st century economy. Her small business loan fund has empowered 150 Rhode Island entrepreneurs so far — more than half of whom are women or people of color — to get new businesses up and running. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she has worked to quickly bring the state economy back from the depths of the nationwide crisis. Governor Raimondo has expanded clean energy jobs and put Rhode Island on a path to achieving 100% renewable energy. She will be a key player in helping position the United States as an exporter of 21st century products and leader in the clean energy economy.

The following White House announcements were made today:

Gina Raimondo, Secretary of Commerce
Link to high-res photo

Gina Raimondo is currently serving her second term as the 75th Governor of Rhode Island. The first woman to lead in this role, she has revitalized the state’s economy through innovative investments in economic development, job training, and infrastructure, while spurring the creation and growth of small- and medium-sized businesses across Rhode Island. A believer in the power of education, Governor Raimondo more than quadrupled the number of public pre-K classrooms, ensured every school had a computer science curriculum, and made Rhode Island the nation’s fourth state to provide free community college opportunities to every high school graduate. Under her governance, Rhode Island has provided its population with the most tests per capita in the United States and she has worked to quickly bring the state economy back from the brink.

Prior to her tenure as Governor, Raimondo helped found the first venture capital firm in Rhode Island, Point Judith Capital, and served for four years as the state’s General Treasurer. A Rhode Island native, Governor Raimondo received her bachelor of arts degree from Harvard University, her master of arts and doctor of philosophy degrees as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, and her JD from Yale Law School.”

Governor Raimondo said the following on Twitter on Thursday evening.

Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee would take over to serve Raimondo’s remaining two years as governor (her second term expires in January 2023).

McKee share the follow on Twitter on Friday.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s website, “The Department of Commerce promotes job creation and economic growth by ensuring fair and reciprocal trade, providing the data necessary to support commerce and constitutional democracy, and fostering innovation by setting standards and conducting foundational research and development”.

Through their bureaus and 46,608 employees located in all 50 states, every U.S. territory, and more than 86 countries, the U.S. Department of Commerce says it provides “U.S.-based companies and entrepreneurs invaluable tools through programs such as the Decennial Census, the National Weather Service, NOAA Fisheries, and the Foreign Commercial Service. Among many other functions, the Department oversees ocean and coastal navigation, helps negotiate bilateral trade agreements, and enforces laws that ensure a level playing field for American businesses and workers”.

Raimondo has been under quarantine this week after a close contact tested positive for COVID-19. She was expected to host her weekly COVID-19 press briefing at 1 pm on Friday, January 8. Per the Governor’s Office, this briefing will be rescheduled for next week. RIDOH’s Dr. Alexander-Scott will give an update for reporters on Friday at 3 pm instead via Zoom.

More local and national reporting on this;

The New York TimesBiden Picks Rhode Island Governor for Commerce Secretary

Reuters: Biden to pick Raimondo for Commerce secretary -CNN

The Boston Globe: Governor Raimondo reportedly set to be tapped to join Biden administration as commerce secretary

WPRI: Raimondo picked for US commerce secretary

Politico: Raimondo selected for Biden’s Commerce secretary

CNN: Biden poised to tap Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo to lead Commerce Department

Bloomberg: Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo Tapped for Commerce Chief

This story is developing.

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