Gov. Raimondo: Job creation in R.I. will be ‘blueprint for how to rebuild America’

GOV. GINA M. RAIMONDO on Jan. 13 addressed state residents for the first time in 2021. She did not take questions from reporters. /COURTESY CAPITOL TV

PROVIDENCE Gov. Gina M. Raimondo said she plans to use programs that have led to job creation in Rhode Island as a blueprint for helping Americans get back to work at a time of economic crisis in the country.

Her comments were directed at Rhode Islanders Wednesday, but reflect her new stature as the nominee for U.S. Commerce Secretary. Named last week by President-Elect Joseph R. Biden, Raimondo said her programs for creating new jobs, specifically Real Jobs RI, could be a blueprint for getting Americans back to work.

“In a moment of darkness there is an opportunity to build back better,” she said.

Her update on COVID-19 included brief comments about her nomination and acceptance of that nomination. She did not take questions from reporters.

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Raimondo, who will remain governor until confirmed by the U.S. Senate, said she plans to continue as governor until that time. She did not specify a timeline, other than to say the Senate process would follow the inauguration of Biden as president, which will take place next week.

Her jobs program, launched in her first year as governor, included Real Jobs RI, a state-funded job training program that is aimed at retraining people for needed, well-paying positions in manufacturing and other industries.

In the past six years, 11,000 state residents have received retraining for jobs under the program.

“To reimagine job training in a way that lifts up working families,” she said. “To bring back manufacturing jobs that have gone overseas. To build a more resilient and inclusive workforce. Those are familiar words that I have said many times to the people of Rhode Island and they are President-Elect Biden’s vision for the Commerce Department. And if I am confirmed, it will be my great honor to lead that work on behalf of the incoming administration.”

The country faces a dual crisis in economics and health, she said.

“In this unprecedented moment for our country, I believe these initiatives that we have worked on here in Rhode Island, together, will provide a blueprint for how to rebuild America in a way that lifts up those who have been left behind.”

She hadn’t envisioned going to Washington, she said. But when Biden called, and asked her to serve and “lean into this work of job creation and building back better at this moment of unprecedented economic crisis,” she said she had to say yes.

“It will be my great honor to serve the American people and continue to serve the people of Rhode Island in my new role as Commerce Secretary, should I be confirmed.”

Mary MacDonald is a staff writer for the PBN. Contact her at macdonald@pbn.com.

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