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Happy Wednesday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and I’m quickly learning that none of my old baseball cards are worth very much. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.
ICYMI: Rhode Island was up to 126,849 confirmed coronavirus cases on Tuesday, after adding 264 new cases. The overall daily test-positive rate was 2.7 percent, and the first-time positive rate was 18 percent. The state announced eight more deaths, bringing the total to 2,525. There were 157 people in the hospital, and 78,350 residents had been fully vaccinated.
Update: Rhode Island voters approved $400 million in new borrowing on Tuesday, as all seven bond questions that were on the ballot passed with overwhelming support.
That’s Governor Dan McKee to you.
It’s the first full day of the Governor McKee era, which means it’s also the first day of the 2022 Rhode Island governor’s race. Everything good that happens now will be a sign of McKee’s success and every mistake that gets made will be on his watch (unless there’s a way to blame Gina Raimondo).
McKee shared what he calls good news with around 100 members of his transition team (I also happened to be on the call) last night prior to being sworn in as governor: the state budget he’ll propose next week will not raise taxes and will continue phasing out the dreaded car tax.
”People will be pleased,” he told the team.
If all goes right, that phrase could become his campaign bumper sticker within the next year. Rhode Island is likely to get another round of hundreds of millions of dollars (maybe more) in stimulus funds from the federal government, which should erase any threat of a budget shortfall, and the state has rocketed up the vaccination rankings in the last two weeks.
Next comes the reopening conversation. McKee told his transition team that he’s targeting March 14 as a possible date for relaxing some of the state’s pandemic restrictions, and you can bet he’s going to find ways to visit every small business in the state as they begin to fully reopen.
McKee already has the early makings of a campaign team in place. All signs suggest his fund-raising numbers have improved since Raimondo announced she was leaving. His transition spokesman, Mike Trainor, is moving over to the campaign right away. Chris Farrell, a senior advisor, will likely play the important role of government insider who reminds everyone to think about the politics.
The last big question is who he’ll name as lieutenant governor and when it will happen. His team wants to interview more than 70 applicants, but there are only a handful with a realistic chance of getting the job. (Former Central Falls Mayor James Diossa and Providence City Council President Sabina Matos come to mind.)
THE GLOBE IN RHODE ISLAND
⚓ Former Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo secured 84 votes from the US Senate during her confirmation hearing on Tuesday, and about 30 of you will be getting Rhode Map tote bags in the mail for correctly predicting the outcome. Read more.
⚓ For people with certain medical conditions, contracting COVID-19 could be deadly. But Alexa Gagosz reports that they’re still not yet eligible for the vaccine. Read more.
⚓ Nobody loves downtown Providence more than Frank LaTorre, who died this week at the age of 71. Read more.
⚓ The Globe’s editorial board is calling on the US Senate to pass US Representative’s David Cicilline’s Equality Act. Read more.
MORE ON BOSTONGLOBE.COM
⚓ Health: The Boston neighborhoods with the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates — East Boston, Mattapan, and Dorchester — have endured some of the highest levels of coronavirus cases in the city. Read more.
⚓ Education: Pressure mounted Tuesday on Governor Charlie Baker to join the majority of states in immediately vaccinating teachers, as President Joe Biden, state lawmakers, and teachers unions intensified calls to move educators to the front of the line. Read more.
⚓ Politics: President Joe Biden’s pick to head the Office of Management and Budget, Neera Tanden, has withdrawn her nomination after she faced opposition from key Democratic and Republican senators for her controversial tweets. Read more.
⚓ Sports: Video of Tom Brady using a dishwasher would definitely get better ratings than the Golden Globes. Read more.
WHAT’S ON TAP TODAY
Each day, Rhode Map offers a cheat sheet breaking down what’s happening in Rhode Island. Have an idea? E-mail us at RInews@globe.com.
⚓ BIRTHDAYS: Rhode Map readers, if you want a friend or family member to be recognized on Friday, send me an e-mail with their first and last name, and their age.
⚓ The state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Subcommittee meets at 7:30 a.m. to consider approving the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Rhode Island.
⚓ The House Vaccine Committee meets at 4 p.m.
⚓Governor McKee plans to sign an executive order at 1:30 p.m., according to his public schedule. The order is expected to be an attempt to address vaccine hesitancy.
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