Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, the first woman to lead the country’s smallest state, has been named President-elect Joe Biden’s intended nominee for commerce secretary.
If confirmed by the Senate, Raimondo, a Democrat who is serving her second term as governor and was previously the state’s treasurer, would oversee the U.S. Commerce Department’s eclectic portfolio of federal agencies, including some that have been thrown into political hot waters during the Trump administration — most notably the Census Bureau.
The federal government’s largest statistical agency has been scrambling to prepare the release of the first set of 2020 census results, which was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic and last-minute schedule changes by Trump administration officials.
The state population counts that determine each state’s share of congressional seats and Electoral College votes for the next decade are not expected to be out until February at the earliest, the Trump administration said this week. Depending on the timing of that release and Raimondo’s potential confirmation by the Senate, she could play a key role in the handoff of those numbers, which are ultimately certified by the clerk of the House of Representatives.
As commerce secretary, Raimondo would take over the position from Wilbur Ross, a Trump appointee who has been found in contempt of Congress by the House for defying a subpoena to turn over documents about the Trump administration’s efforts to add a citizenship question to census forms.