As January 20th rounds the corner, Joe Biden will name two additional picks for his cabinet with starkly different profiles.
Biden is set to name Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, a democrat, to be his secretary of commerce and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, also a democrat, to be his secretary of labor.
Raimondo has often been at odds with major labor unions, while Walsh enjoys strong support from leaders of the AFL-CIO and earned his union card in 1988, the Washington Post reports.
Raimondo, a/ former venture capitalist, will serve as commerce secretary, a key economic position due to the agency’s role in areas from technology policy to climate change. As governor, Raimondo introduced training programs, cut taxes and eliminated regulations to support business, according to the New York Times.
While she does have a background in the financial industry, critics have questioned whether she has the technical background to carry out a strategy to deal with technology challenges from China. Progressive democrats have also protested the selection, arguing that Biden should look to a populist democrat who could better combat climate change and craft a trade policy that would help working families.
Raimondo has also been criticized as a “corporate insider” who locked in liability protection for businesses while stripping away funding from low-income areas of Rhode Island during the coronavirus pandemic, the Times reports.
Marty Walsh, if confirmed, will head the Labor Department amidst a critical point in our nation’s economy, specifically in American labor. The coronavirus pandemic undoubtedly created an economic crisis in our country, and while the economy has bounced back quicker than predicted, economists warn that the country may be shedding jobs amid surging cases.
Labor unions have welcomed Walsh’s nomination. “Boston Mayor Marty Walsh will be an exceptional labor secretary for the same reason he was an outstanding mayor: he carried the tools,” Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, said.
Some union officials have shared concern about corruption under Walsh’s nose as mayor, including one city employee who pleaded guilty in September of 2019 to accepting a $50,000 bribe, Politico reports.
Interestingly enough, though they do have close personal ties, Walsh did not endorse Biden in the Democratic party, as he chose to remain neutral.