PROVIDENCE, RI — In her first address to the Rhode Island public since she was announced as President-elect Joe Biden's pick to lead the commerce department, Gov. Gina Raimondo said it will be a bittersweet parting to leave Rhode Island.
"The truthful answer is, I never pictured myself going to Washington," Raimondo said. "It's the greatest honor of my life to serve as your governor."
Raimondo went on to say that her entire life — her childhood and family history, marriage, the birth of her children and her political career — have all been in Rhode Island, and that the state will always be first in her heart.
Lt. Gov. Dan McKee, in his first address as soon-to-be-governor, praised the governor for her leadership.
"This is a source of pride for everyone in the state of Rhode Island to have a governor who serves in the cabinet of the President of the United States," McKee said.
Raimondo's departure is not yet set in stone, since her nomination must be approved by the U.S. Senate. That "will not happen overnight," she said, and will come at some point after the inauguration.
"In the meantime, I will remain as your governor," she said. "[I will] continue to serve this state until I am confirmed."
Both Raimondo and McKee promised a smooth transition, with the state's coronavirus response effort set to continue "without missing a beat."
"I am confident [McKee] is ready to step up on day one," Raimondo said.
The lieutenant governor has started joining the state leadership's pandemic meetings and briefings, and has committed to keeping the same pandemic response leadership team in place after he assumes the role of governor.
"I have always been committed to seeing this state succeed," McKee said.