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Biden Announces Key Picks for Economic and Jobs Team

President-elect Joe Biden announced additional key members of his economic and jobs team on Thursday.

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo was nominated for Secretary of Commerce, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh was tapped for Secretary of Labor, California director of the Office of the Small Business Advocate Isabel Guzman was chosen as Small Business Administrator and veteran advisor Don Graves was nominated as Deputy Secretary of Commerce.

“This team will help us emerge from the most inequitable economic and jobs crisis in modern history by building an economy where every American is in on the deal,” Biden said. “They share my belief that the middle class built this country and that unions built the middle class. They know how to work with states, cities, small towns and tribal communities, along with labor, entrepreneurs and businesses to get things done for American workers. They will work tirelessly to ensure every American enjoys a fair return for their work and an equal chance to get ahead, and that our businesses can thrive and outcompete the rest of the world. They will be ready on day one.”

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris added that as the incoming administration works to contain this pandemic and open the economy responsibly, “we must also build our economy back better so it lifts up all Americans.”

“The outstanding team of public servants we are announcing today will protect and expand workers’ rights, provide access to capital for small business owners, and invest in American innovation and competitiveness,” Harris said Thursday.

President-elect Joe Biden nominated Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo as Commerce Secretary and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh as Labor Secretary.
Lisa Raimondo AP Photo/Susan Walsh

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Raimondo, is currently serving her second term as the Rhode Island governor, the first woman to hold the position. She launched successful workforce training programs such as a small business loan fund that has so far empowered 150 Rhode Island entrepreneurs–more than half of whom are women or people of color–to get new businesses up and running.

If confirmed, Walsh, who is currently serving his second term as the Mayor of Boston, would be the first union member to serve as Labor Secretary in nearly half a century. He has championed a $15 minimum wage and paid family leave. As the current chairman of Climate Mayors, a group of 470 mayors nationwide, Walsh has pushed for creating good-paying union jobs by investing in clean energy. He has served as the head of both Laborers’ Union Local 223 and the Boston Metropolitan District Building Trades Council.

President-elect Joe Biden nominated Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo as Commerce Secretary and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh as Labor Secretary.
Marty Walsh AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Guzman, a former senior advisor and deputy chief of staff at the SBA, is an advocate for small businesses and the opportunities they create for families and communities. Guzman served in the Obama-Biden Administration as Deputy Chief of Staff and senior advisor in the U.S. Small Business Administration. In her current role, Guzman’s office has launched the Shop Safe Shop Local initiative aimed at helping small businesses reopen safely, and its Get Digital CA initiative to help businesses adopt technology to safely and successfully operate in the pandemic.

Graves has been a long-time trusted advisor to Biden on jobs and the economy. When Detroit grappled with bankruptcy, President Obama and then-Vice President Biden put Graves in charge of coordinating the response to bring the city back by working with municipal, state, business and community leaders in overseeing the historic effort to revitalize the city. Grave is a former executive director of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Small Business.