New Administration Alert: Governor of Rhode Island to be Secretary of Commerce

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Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo was recently picked to step into the role of Secretary of Commerce. 

This Presidential Cabinet position is responsible for stabilizing our economy and will work in parallel with the Secretary of Labor to increase jobs and opportunities for American citizens. The ideal candidate for Secretary of Commerce should possess sharp intelligence, superior financial skills, and a knack for collaboration. 

Does Governor Raimondo’s past line up with these future expectations?

Imaged sourced from The Harvard Crimson.

Sharp Intelligence

Governor Raimondo received a very well-rounded education at several prestigious institutions. She attended Harvard and New College before becoming a Rhodes Scholar and Yale Law graduate. Her path then veered towards law and politics.

Superior Financial Skills 

In 2000, Ms. Raimondo co-founded Rhode Island’s first venture capital firm, Point Judith Capital.

From 2011 to 2015, Ms. Raimondo was elected General Treasurer of Rhode Island. In this position, she made these fiscally-responsible decisions: 

  • Created the Ocean State Investment Pool (OSIP), a low-cost investment vehicle intended to help the state and municipalities better manage and improve the investment performance of their liquid assets 
  • Supported payday lending reform at the 2012 RI General Assembly 
  • Reformed RI’s Pension Plan
Gina Raimondo, left, Rhode Island's General Treasurer, listened to Ernest Gibbons, a retired employee of the University of Rhode Island, after a meeting on pension reform last month in Newport. Photo credit: Stew Millne

Once elected Governor of Rhode Island in 2015, she continued to focus on finances- both of her constituents and of the state: 

  • Raised minimum wage to $11.50 per hour
  • Financed the largest infrastructure program in the state’s history with a $40 million increase in the Housing and Community Revitalization Fund; $183 million for offshore wind industry, repairing the state’s roads and bridges, and building a new health laboratory for disease prevention; and $5 million increase in the Beach, Clean Water and Green Bond.
  • Instated a tuition-free community colleges program
Governor Gina Raimondo and RIDOT officials at the East Shore Expressway and McCormick Quarry Bridges. ( photo)

Knack for Collaboration

Governor Raimondo worked with many of her state departments to decrease regulations by 30% – eliminating 8,000 pages of regulations! She also listened to workers and input from employers to develop and implement sick-leave entitlement. Finally, by working with energy groups and environmentalists, she signed an Executive Order to make RI the first state to reach 100% renewable energy by 2030.

Governor Raimondo at North Providence Solar Landfill Project

Governor Raimondo seems to have a good foundation to bring to her new role as Secretary of Commerce based on her knowledge and experience. We’re especially excited about her recent infrastructure funding initiatives, which show promise in providing much needed assistance to local communities while keeping priorities like renewal energy and fair wages top of mind. 

With the inauguration of President Elect Biden, we are eager to see how the administration works together to make recent proposals a reality. 


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