Gina Raimondo, Commerce Secretary, only wears Bulova watches — a company which laid off her scientist father and closed its Rhode Island factory in 1983. It then moved production to China.
Raimondo, who was a Rhode Island governor in the past, feels a sense of purpose as President Joe Biden’s tech minister. This responsibility is focused on creating new, cutting-edge factory jobs.
Raimondo stated that her watch selections were a tribute to her father in an interview. “And a reminder to us that we have to do more to create good manufacturing jobs in America.”
Biden gave Raimondo the task of ensuring that the United States is the global leader in computer chips. Her performance could determine America’s position as an economic and militarily powerful country.
Computer chips have become an essential component of autos, medical devices and phones. However, a global shortage of computer chips is slowing growth and driving inflation. The United States may be outnumbered by China and other countries that support their semiconductor industries if it doesn’t have computer chips.
Raimondo (50) must restore production of both chips and solar panels and batteries to end the shortage. This is based on the belief that these sectors are vital for prosperity. It means that Raimondo consults semiconductor executives nearly daily and follows data about plant shut downs in Asia. She also needs additional government support to make her department more than just a generic envoy for business.
Raimondo stated that if we do our jobs right and I believe we will, you’ll see a fundamentally stronger, larger, and more revitalized manufacturing sector in 10 years. It is a national security issue that America doesn’t produce enough semiconductors, solar panels, or critical batteries. This makes us vulnerable economically as well.
Commerce’s tenure has been quite prominent for a department to which some presidents have not paid much attention.
Although the previous secretary was a great negotiator and was well-known, Wilbur Ross is best known for his inability to fall asleep at events for Donald Trump and for trying to explain tariffs on television by holding up a soup container. Only one acting secretary was available for the Obama administration.
Raimondo was close to Biden, who frequently quotes his parents when promoting his policies. After she was interviewed as Biden’s potential running mate, political allies noticed her ambitions. The Commerce Department could be a stepping stone for a Democratic Party that is increasingly being shaped by college-educated females.