Biden picks Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo to serve as Commerce secretary

The Ocean State’s leader is set to become a key player in the U.S. commercial fishing industry.

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo is set to be nominated by U.S. President-elect Joe Biden to serve as his Commerce Secretary, according to Politico.

If she is approved – a possibility more likely after Democrats won control of the U.S. Senate following the results of run-off election in Georgia on Tuesday, 5 January – Raimondo will have oversight of NOAA Fisheries, the federal agency that regulates fishing in federal waters.

During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, her administration has allowed the state’s fishermen to sell directly to customers.

According to NOAA’s most recent Fisheries of the United States report, Rhode Island ranked as the 13th-largest state for commercial fishing, with its landings valued at USD 105.1 million (EUR 85.7 million).

The seafood industry has been a focus for U.S. President Donald Trump and current Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Even in its final days, the president has taken actions he said to protect commercial fishing interests, including vetoing a bill that would have banned the use of driftnet in the swordfish fishery off the California coast.

While Raimondo comes from a fishing state, she’s also been an advocate for offshore wind, a clean-energy movement that sometimes has butted heads with commercial fishing interests. Biden has called for the country to up its investment in and reliance on green technologies, including offshore wind.

In October 2020, Raimondo said Rhode Island would issue a solicitation to get up to 600 megawatts of offshore wind energy. The state is also home to the country’s first operational offshore wind farm. Raimondo has said she wants the state to get all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

"In the face of global climate change, Rhode Island must drive toward a cleaner, more affordable, and reliable clean energy future," she said in October. "It is critical that we accelerate our adoption of carbon-free resources to power our homes and businesses, while creating clean energy jobs.”

Photo courtesy of Anthony Ricci/Shutterstock


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