Secretary of Commerce – confirmation needed

Gina Raimondo

by Deedra Abboud in Political
January 21, 2021 0 comments

President Joe Biden has selected Gina Raimondo to serve as the United States secretary of commerce in the Biden administration.

The position: Advises on trade policy, collects economic data, oversees the census, the National Weather Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Gina Marie Raimondo was born in 1971in Smithfield, Rhode Island, where she later grew up.

Of Italian descent, she is the youngest of Josephine (Piro) and Joseph Raimondo’s three children.

Her father, Joseph (1926-2014), made his career at the Bulova watch factory in Providence, Rhode Island. He became unemployed at 56 when the Bulova company decamped operations to China, shuttering the factory in Providence.

Raimondo graduated from LaSalle Academy, in Providence, as one of the first girls allowed to attend the Catholic school, where she was valedictorian.

Raimondo graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree magna cum laude in economics from Harvard College in 1993, where she served on the staff of The Harvard Crimson.

On November 1, 2001, Raimondo married Andrew Kind Moffit, in Providence. The couple have two children, Cecilia and Thompson Raimondo Moffit. The family resides on the east side of Providence.

She attended New College, Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, where she received a Master of Arts (MA) degree and Doctor of Philosophy in 2002 in sociology.

Her doctoral thesis was on single motherhood and supervised by Stephen Nickell and Anne H. Gauthier while she was a postgraduate student of New College, Oxford.

Raimondo received her Juris Doctor degree from Yale Law School in 1998.

Following her graduation from Yale Law School, Raimondo served as a law clerk to federal judge Kimba Wood of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Later, Raimondo acted as senior vice president for fund development at the Manhattan offices of Village Ventures, a venture capital firm based in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and backed by Bain Capital and Highland Capital Groups.

Raimondo returned to Rhode Island in 2000 to co-found the state’s first venture capital firm, Point Judith Capital. Point Judith subsequently relocated its offices to Boston, Massachusetts.

At Point Judith, Raimondo served as a general partner covering health care investments; she retains some executive duties with the firm.

On November 2, 2010, Raimondo was elected as general treasurer of Rhode Island by a margin of 62% to 38%. She served as general treasurer of Rhode Island from 2011 to 2015 and was the second woman to hold that office.

Raimondo 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, which are used for day-to-day operations including payroll and operating expenses. $500 million in funds could be eligible for the program, which would enable Treasury “to extend its expertise to municipalities and improve investment returns by creating economies of scale.” The program launched on April 23, 2012.

During the Rhode Island General Assembly’s 2012 session, Raimondo advocated for a decrease in the maximum allowable interest rate on payday loans in Rhode Island. She hosted a roundtable discussion with then Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and members of the Rhode Island Payday Reform Coalition.

Raimondo submitted letters to the Senate and House Corporations Committees in support of payday reform legislation. She wrote “Far too many families are facing financial challenges that might be mitigated or avoided through a greater understanding of personal finance,” and “payday loans exploit that lack of understanding…. With numerous economic challenges, Rhode Island should not permit the sale of a financial product that traps so many customers in a cycle of debt.” 

Raimondo wrote an op-ed in the edition of May 29, 2012 of The Providence Journal in support of payday lending reform.

Raimondo was elected governor of Rhode Island on November 4, 2014, winning 41% of the vote in a three-way race.

Raimondo is the first female governor of Rhode Island.

She is also one of nine current female governors of the United States.

When she ran for governor, Rhode Island had the nation’s highest unemployment rate.

Raimondo has cut taxes every year and removed 8,000 pages of regulations — 30 percent of the state’s regulations. She raised the state minimum wage to $11.50, created a sick-leave entitlement, financed the largest infrastructure program in the state’s history, and made community colleges tuition-free.

Raimondo was elected to serve as the vice chair of the Democratic Governors Association for the 2018 election cycle.

Raimondo ran for and won reelection to a second term in 2018, and becoming the first candidate to secure a majority of votes for that office since 2006.

She was elected as chair of the Democratic Governors Association in 2019.

In April 2020, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Microsoft News conducted a poll to determine how well governors across the U.S. were handling mitigation of COVID-19.

The poll found 76% of Rhode Islanders said they approved of the work done by Raimondo and her administration “to keep people safe” during the ongoing crisis.

Partnering with CVS, the nation’s largest pharmacy chain, headquartered in Woonsocket, her state has achieved one of the nation’s highest per capita levels of testing for COVID-19.

Her approval rating has soared during the pandemic.

She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and an Aspen Institute Rodel fellow. She was awarded an honorary degree from Bryant University, in 2012; and has received awards from the northern Rhode Island chamber of commerce and the YWCA of northern Rhode Island.

Until 2011, she was an administrator Women and Infants Hospital and chair of its Quality Committee.

Raimondo was elected alumni fellow at Yale, in 2014.

Raimondo serves as vice chair of the board of directors of Crossroads Rhode Island, the state’s largest homeless services organization.

She has served on the boards of La Salle Academy and Family Service of Rhode Island.

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