Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo is being considered to run the Department of Health and Human Services in the incoming Biden administration, according to multiple reports Wednesday.
Politico and NBC News reported on Wednesday that Raimondo was among those under consideration, with Politico describing her as a “top contender” for the post. The news comes as the US continues to hit records in the number of new daily coronavirus cases, underscoring a daunting challenge facing the next Health secretary, who would have oversight over critical agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and the Food and Drug Administration.
Raimondo was reportedly vetted as a possible running mate for President-elect Joe Biden over the summer. Though she was not selected, the New York Times reported that Biden’s search committee was “dazzled” by the state’s first female governor. But the newspaper reported that her poor relationship with labor unions was seen as a liability. She has been criticized for her handling of the state’s pension fund crisis and more recently by teachers’ unions as she pushed to re-open schools in September.
Raimondo, who is serving her second four-year term as governor, is prohibited from running for the office again due to term limits. She was reelected in 2018, defeating Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, 53 percent to 37 percent.
Others under consideration for the HHS job reportedly include Dr. Vivek Murthy, the former US surgeon general and a former Brigham & Women’s physician, and New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.
Biden has been busy rolling out Cabinet picks in the past few weeks, even as President Trump has refused to concede the election. He recently named former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as his choice for Treasury Secretary, and prior to that chose Antony Blinken as his pick for Secretary of State and Alejandro Mayorkas for Homeland Security secretary.
A spokesperson for Raimondo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.