17:46 GMT20 January 2021
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    Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, a Democrat, made headlines late last year amid reports that she was being considered for the role of health and human services (HHS) secretary in US President-elect Joe Biden's administration. The nomination ultimately went to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

    Citing "people familiar with the matter," Axios reported Monday that Raimondo is being regarded as the standout candidate for the US president-elect to nominate for secretary of commerce. 

    The outlet describes Raimondo, who recently served as a national co-chair for the presidential campaign of Mike Bloomberg, as a "rising star" within the Democratic Party. It was previously reported that a Republican was being considered for the position. 

    Prior to becoming the first female governor of Rhode Island in 2015, Raimondo ran Point Judith Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm that reportedly still provides her revenue via a blind trust.

    The company became a point of contention when Raimondo was elected as general treasurer of Rhode Island in 2010. She would later announce that she had resigned from Point Judith Capital's board of directors and from a position that oversees investments. 

    While Raimondo has yet to comment on the recent reports regarding Biden's Cabinet, she took a neutral stance toward a possible administration position during a December interview with WPRI

    “I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but I truly have nothing more to say on the topic,” she told reporter Tim White. “My intention is to be the governor. I am the governor now. I am working constantly and I have nothing else to add.”

    If Raimondo were to accept the appointment, Lt. Gov. Dan McKee, a Democrat, would take over the position as governor. 

    “I do think it’s certainly a source of pride that a governor of Rhode Island would be considered for a Cabinet position for the president of the United States,” McKee told WPRI. “My job has been always to be prepared in that unlikely scenario. I am prepared, and I’ve been working for the last six years to make sure that I am prepared.”

    Prior to whispers of a potential commerce secretary appointment, Raimondo's name also came up as a top contender for the role of HHS secretary. According to Politico, Biden's team initially planned "to announce Raimondo as his HHS nominee." 

    However, reports at the time claimed Raimondo wanted to focus on Rhode Island. Those allegations were made prior to Raimondo's December interview with WPRI. 

    “They had the person they wanted, and that person isn’t doing it. Are there plenty of qualified people? Yes. Do they have the setup they wanted? No," a source "familiar with the transition's efforts" told Politico. 

    Becerra, California's Democratic attorney general, was announced as Biden's nominee for HHS secretary in December. If appointed, Becerra would be the first Latino to run the US Department of Health and Human Services.

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    Tags:
    Xavier Becerra, Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, Democrat
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