WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. Senate confirmed Gov. Gina M. Raimondo as Commerce Secretary Tuesday, voting 84-15, with the congratulations of RI’s Congressional delegation.
Incoming Secretary Raimondo will replace acting-Commerce Secretary Wynn Coggins, who previously served as Commerce Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration, before being tapped by President Biden to lead the agency on an interim basis. Rhode Island Lt. Gov. Daniel J. McKee will now serve as Governor.
“I congratulate Secretary Raimondo. She will lead with integrity and play a critical role overseeing a wide array of key initiatives essential to our nation’s future, from helping U.S. manufacturers compete to investing in economic development to managing our ocean resources. She’ll build successful partnerships, bring people together, and help spur smart, sustainable economic growth,” said US Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI).
“As Governor of Rhode Island, Gina Raimondo fought to create pathways to success for working families through her focus on job creation and economic growth. I am certain that she will continue her good work to revitalize our nation as Commerce Secretary. President Joe Biden and the American people are fortunate to have such a committed and capable leader at the helm of the Department of Commerce, said Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI).
“It gives me great pride knowing that a Rhode Island native will help lead the effort to combat the economic crisis we face. I wish her the best of luck on this next endeavor, and I am committed to working closely with her and the Biden Administration to see that our economy roars back, Langevin said.
Reed and Langevin expressed optimism and confidence in McKee’s leadership.
“Incoming Governor McKee has been working hard. He’s taking on this new assignment at a critical time. I’m committed to doing everything I can to ensure Rhode Island rises to meet the challenges ahead,” Reed said. “This week, the U.S. Senate is focused on delivering urgent and overdue pandemic relief, and I’m focused on delivering for the people of Rhode Island,” continued Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, who is working with colleagues and the Biden Administration to enact a COVID-19 rescue package that will benefit the state, including by providing additional resources for state and local governments to ensure they can save lives, businesses, and people’s jobs.
“I also want to congratulate Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee who is assuming the duties of Governor of our great state. Collaboration will be key to ensuring the wellbeing of Rhode Islanders and keeping our state moving in the right direction at such a critical time. I am fully committed to working with the McKee administration and fighting for our fair share of federal resources to meet local needs,” Langevin said.
Last year, Reed was part of a 20 person bipartisan working group that developed the CARES Act (Public Law No. 116-136). Senator Reed was the driving force behind the successful effort to create the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) in the CARES Act and successfully secured a minimum of $1.25 billion for all states in the law.
The latest COVID-19 rescue package currently advancing through Congress includes a $350 billion state and local aid package.
“I will continue working to target federal aid where it’s most needed. These federal funds will help Rhode Island recover and build back stronger. While this federal assistance will help cushion the financial blow, it won’t eliminate the need for tough choices or fully replace all the opportunities that have been lost during this pandemic,” Reed said.