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Gov. Raimondo to be nominated for Commerce Secretary

The two-term Democratic Governor of the Ocean State and former Venture Capitalist will be tapped as the Biden administration’s connection to the business world

Updated 12:49 a.m., Jan. 8, 2021

President-elect Joe Biden will nominate Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo for commerce secretary, according to a Friday announcement. A former venture capitalist, Raimondo would be the Biden administration’s top liaison with the business community.

Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee would take over the position of governor and serve out the two remaining years of Raimondo's second term as governor if her approval is confirmed by the U.S. Senate and she leaves her post for Washington. Raimondo is the first woman to serve as the Governor of Rhode Island.

Citing her experience as governor on initiatives including economic development, the growth of small- and medium-sized businesses, workforce training programs, education and clean energy jobs, Biden wrote in the announcement that Raimondo "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."

Raimondo, previously a rumored frontrunner in Biden’s cabinet for Health and Human Services secretary, announced in December that she had taken herself out of contention. Citing Rhode Island as her focus, she said she would not be the President-elect’s nominee for HHS secretary during a press conference. Her announcement followed fierce opposition from progressive groups, who took issue with both her past experience as a venture capitalist and an executive order she made granting nursing homes immunity from liability during the pandemic. Biden selected California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to lead the HHS less than a week later.

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