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January 7, 2021 2:00 PM, EST

Biden Taps Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo as Commerce Chief, Source Says

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo speaks during a panel discussion at a summit in Washington in 2018.Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo speaks during a panel discussion at a Goldman Sachs summit in Washington in February 2018. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News)

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President-elect Joe Biden has chosen Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo as his nominee for commerce secretary, a person familiar with the matter said Jan. 7.

Raimondo, a former venture capital executive, has focused on building relationships with business during her time as governor, a job she’s held since 2015. She was her state’s first female governor.

Raimondo, 49, has served in public office in Rhode Island since 2011, when she was sworn in as state treasurer. Before that, she spent more than a decade working in venture capital, including co-founding Point Judith Capital.

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Progressives have raised concerns about her record in business and in state government. In 2011, Raimondo led an effort that cut pensions over the opposition of unions. She’s also faced criticism for her handling of the coronavirus pandemic in the state and is currently quarantining for a second time in recent months after being exposed to someone who tested positive for the virus.

The Commerce Department comprises a variety of agencies including the Census Bureau, which runs the decennial count and produces economic data; the International Trade Administration, tasked with monitoring unfair global competition from dumping and subsidies, as well as enforcing U.S. trade laws; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, home to the National Weather Service; and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

A Harvard graduate, Raimondo was a Rhodes Scholar and went on to Yale Law School. She clerked for Judge Kimba Wood on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

She was national co-chairwoman of Michael Bloomberg’s 2020 presidential campaign. Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.

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