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Happy Thursday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and see, I told you I’d still be in your inbox every morning. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.
ICYMI: Rhode Island was up to 140,025 confirmed coronavirus cases on Wednesday, after adding 449 new cases. The most-recent overall daily test-positive rate was 2.3 percent, and the first-time positive rate was 21.6 percent. The state announced three more deaths, bringing the total to 2,635. There were 154 people in the hospital, and 267,992 residents were fully vaccinated.
US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo made her debut at the White House press briefing on Wednesday, and it’s looking like she’s going to continue having a front-and-center role in President Joe Biden’s administration.
The former Rhode Island governor is one of five cabinet secretaries tasked with pushing Biden’s $2 trillion American Jobs Plan over the finish line. You can read the entire transcript here or watch the video below, but here are a few takeaways from Raimondo’s first big briefing.
The great compromiser
She’s not quite Henry Clay (yet), but Raimondo said that she believes “there is room for compromise” on the Biden administration’s proposal to raise the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent, which would be among the highest in the world. But she called it “unacceptable” for the business community to simply walk away from the negotiating table because they oppose the 28 percent idea.
A review of China
The only real heat that Raimondo faced during her confirmation hearing came from US Senator Ted Cruz, who didn’t like her initial refusal to commit to keeping telecomuntications giant Huawei on the entity list. When asked about where she stands on TikTok on Wednesday, she said the administration is “in the middle of the overall review of the China policy.”
Winning was easy, governing’s harder
When asked about states rolling back COVID-19 restrictions, she said that being a governor right now is very difficult because they’re trying to balance the pandemic with wanting to reopening the economy. Her advice was to vaccinate as many people as possible, but she had one warning: “Just don’t jump the gun. I am not going to tell governors what to do. I just have lived it, and every time you jump the gun, you live to regret it.”
An update on the Census
Raimondo said she expects redistricting data to be made available no later than Sept. 30, but she acknowledged that the bureau is behind due to the pandemic and civil unrest last summer. “But we are prioritizing accuracy over rushing it out,” she said.
Gina’s got jokes
At the end of her part of the briefing, Raimondo drew laughs when she turned to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and said, “I can’t believe that you do this every day.”
THE GLOBE IN RHODE ISLAND
⚓ My latest column: Even as Sabina Matos has risen up the ranks in politics, Rhode Island’s next lieutenant governor has always worried about what people think of her accent. Read more.
⚓My colleague Alexa Gagosz profiles Michelle Liu, who co-founded “Red Envelope Stories,” an online platform to collect and share stories about the “modern Asian diasporic identity.” Read more.
⚓ US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is sponsoring legislation that would put an opioid treatment hotline out of business, Brian Amaral reports. Read more.
⚓ An advocate is pushing for suicide-prevention barriers of Rhode Island’s most iconic bridges – the Newport Pell, Mount Hope, and Jamestown Verrazano bridges. Read more.
⚓ Scoop from Ed Fitzpatrick: Dr. Luis Daniel Muñoz plans to run for governor next year. Read more.
⚓ More than 200 Brown University students decked in shades of pink marched to university President Christina Paxson’s Georgian Revival-styled home on College Hill Wednesday, demanding that the administration take a tougher stand against sexual violence on campus. Read more.
MORE ON BOSTONGLOBE.COM
⚓ Health: The corporate brass at Mass General Brigham have a rare opportunity to put a new generation of executives at the top of each hospital as they push the rivals to work together in ways they long resisted. Read more.
⚓ Housing: The number of homes for sale in Greater Boston — especially single-family houses in the suburbs — is at its lowest spring level in years. At the same time, attractive interest rates and pent-up demand have increased the number of people looking to buy. Read more.
⚓ Entertainment: Here’s a review on the new Netflix series on the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum art theft. Read more.
⚓ Sports: My colleague Tara Sullivan questions whether Augusta National can reconcile with the political reality of the moment. 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. If you want a shout out on the new Globe Rhode Island Facebook page, send along their Facebook handle as well.
⚓ Governor Dan McKee will hold his weekly COVID-19 briefing at 1 p.m.
⚓ The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a confirmation hearing at 3 p.m. for Lieutenant Governor-nominee Sabina Matos.
⚓ Need something fun to do tonight? Check out Boston.com’s virtual Cocktail Club at 7 p.m. Tonight’s focus is cognac.
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