Transition underway for governor in RI

Lt. Gov. Dan McKee and Gov. Gina Raimondo appear on stage together at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium January 13, 2021 as she announced their transition is underway, following President-elect Joe Biden’s announcement he will nominate her to become U.S. Commerce Secretary. Photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

Steve Klamkin WPRO News

Rhode Island’s transition in the governor’s office is underway, as Gov. Gina Raimondo introduced Lt. Gov. Dan McKee Wednesday at her coronavirus briefing, saying she is confident in his ability to assume the role, as her nomination to a Cabinet position unfolds, and said he has agreed to keep her COVID team in place.

A hand-off of sorts took place on stage at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium during Raimondo’s 125th coronavirus briefing.

“I have every confidence in him and know that he is ready to step up on day one,” Raimondo said. She faces confirmation hearings by the U.S. Senate to become President-elect Joe Biden’s Secretary of Commerce, and refused to take any questions from reporters following the briefing.

Raimondo and McKee are both Democrats, the Governor and Lt. Governor are elected independently and do not run as a team, a provision of the Rhode Island constitution that some feel should be changed.

McKee, who has often criticized Raimondo’s handling of aid to small businesses in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic said he does not feel as though he has been snubbed during their six years in office.

“No, because that’s the way our process works in the state of Rhode Island. Certainly, I have been public about the fact I think we should be running as a team and managing as a team, but that would take a constitutional change. So, you work with what you have and you make it work and that’s what we’ve done,” McKee told reporters outside the Vets Auditorium.

McKee said he believes the Senate confirmation process could be completed by mid-February, leading to the transition of power here. He plans to meet with reporters Thursday to talk about transition matters.