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Gov. Gina Raimondo. Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Fortune/Time Inc.

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo has emerged as a leading candidate to be President-elect Joe Biden's commerce secretary, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: Raimondo, a Rhodes scholar who co-founded a venture capital firm in Rhode Island earlier in her career, has prioritized good relationships with the business community, the target audience of commerce.

  • Nonetheless, Raimondo has also clashed with unions as she worked to reform Rhode Island’s public employee pension plans.
  • She also served as a national co-chair for Mike Bloomberg’s presidential campaign, endorsing Biden only after the former New York mayor dropped out.
  • A Biden transition official declined to comment.

The big picture: Biden had been considering a prominent CEO or a Republican to lead the Commerce Department.

  • In considering Raimondo, he appears to be moving to a more traditional choice.
  • Raimondo, 49, and former chair of the Democratic Governor’s Association, is seen as a rising star in her party.

The intrigue: Raimondo also was under consideration to serve as secretary of health and human services, a job that eventually went to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

  • In early December, she appeared to take herself out of the running by saying during a press conference, “I am not going to be President-elect Biden’s nominee for HHS secretary.”

Go deeper

GOP research firm aims to hobble Biden nominees

Alejandro Mayorkas. Photo: Joshua Roberts/AFP via Getty Images

The Republican-aligned opposition research group America Rising is doing all it can to prevent President Biden from seating his top Cabinet picks.

Why it matters: After former President Trump inhibited the transition, Biden is hoping the Republican minority in Congress will cooperate with getting his team in place. Biden hadn't even been sworn in when America Rising began blasting opposition research to reporters targeting Janet Yellen and Alejandro Mayorkas.

Tim Scott hopes to reintroduce version of GOP police reform bill

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) told reporters Wednesday he plans to reintroduce his police reform bill or a similar proposal in the coming weeks and that he has discussed a potential compromise with Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.).

Why it matters: Eyes have again turned to Washington to take steps to address police reform in the wake of Derek Chauvin's guilty verdict Tuesday, after efforts stalled in Congress last year.

Biden announces small business tax credits for vaccine PTO

Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden on Wednesday called on all employers to provide workers paid time off to get vaccinated or recover from COVID side effects, and said he'll include a paid tax credit for small businesses that do so.

Why it matters: The Biden administration sees workplaces as highly influential in making shots more convenient for working adults who are in high-risk industries.