Hometown Smithfield proud of Raimondo’s appointment

Hometown Smithfield proud of Raimondo’s appointment

Town Council President Suzy Alba, left, said she is proud of Smithfield native Gov. Gina Raimondo for her nomination from president-elect Joe Biden to work in his cabinet as commerce secretary.

SMITHFIELD – For many Smithfield residents and town officials, having one of their own move forward to work in the White House with President-elect Joe Biden proved a source of pride this week.

Last week, Biden nominated Smithfield native and Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo, 49, for secretary of commerce. Her appointment, which requires Senate approval, will leave former Cumberland Mayor and Lieutenant Gov. Dan McKee to serve out the remaining two years of Raimondo’s term.

Though she previously served as state treasurer and has a background in venture capitalism, Raimondo got her start in Smithfield, where she attended Winsor Elementary School and then Saint Philip School.

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St. Philip Principal Cynthia Senenko congratulated Raimondo on her cabinet appointment this week and wished her well.

“This appointment is an honor for her and her family. We ask God to bless the work she will be doing for our country,” Senenko said.

Raimondo’s sister Marianne, who, like her brother Tom, still lives in town, said the family is “incredibly proud” of what she’s accomplished.

“This is unbelievable and amazing but not surprising,” she said. “Gina has always been ambitious, driven and hardworking from the time she was a young student. We are proud of all her accomplishments strengthening the state’s economy and know that she will be a strong, innovative and effective leader growing the economy and creating jobs at the federal level.”

Marianne Raimondo said she remembers the day Gina was born.

“I was a freshman in high school and was so excited and happy when I got word in my gym class that I had a new baby sister,” she said. “That same joy and pride has only grown over the years.”

They had a wonderful childhood growing up in Smithfield, she said.

“I have fond memories of my brother and I skating with Gina at the pond near our home, sledding in our neighborhood, and building snowmen in our backyard, and my favorite memories are the years I took my ‘baby sister’ trick-or-treating.”

At events in Smithfield over the years, Raimondo has often shared her loved for the town as a Smithfield native who grew up on Cider Lane off Austin Avenue. She often mentions that her family still lives in town. In an interview with The Valley Breeze in 2014 following her election to her first term as governor, Raimondo said she and her family were involved in St. Philip’s Church growing up, and she was part of the children’s youth organization.

After attending St. Philip School, Raimondo completed high school at La Salle Academy in Providence, where she graduated as class valedictorian in 1989. She went on to study at Harvard, Oxford and Yale.

Smithfield High School students this week weighed in on Raimondo’s cabinet nomination. SHS senior Victoria Richard, 18, said as a student who wants to go into government and politics, it is “very encouraging to see a woman from my hometown be as successful as she is.”

Richard said sometimes students, particularly female students, may feel discouraged from pursuing a career in government because they do not feel qualified enough.

“Having a woman from our hometown who not only was the first female governor of our state but now also is commerce secretary and will work closely with the president is a huge inspiration for kids,” Richard said.

“I hope it will inspire more students to consider this career path and have confidence to pursue their ambitions even if they seem far-fetched.”

Town Council President Suzy Alba said she is personally excited to have been one of the governor’s first appointments to the Governor’s Workforce Board, where Alba helped develop skills and job opportunities for unemployed and underemployed Rhode Islanders. Alba said Raimondo can now bring that experience to the national stage.

“Our town should be incredibly proud to have one of our own appointed to a cabinet position for the first time in history,” Alba said. “We will miss her here in Rhode Island, but wish her well in this new opportunity for her family and our country.”

Town Manager Randy Rossi echoed Alba’s sentiments, saying he is very happy for the governor and thinks the overall situation is fantastic. He commended her work on the state level, and said it got her recognized at a federal level.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for her. It’s definitely going to help put Rhode Island on the map,” Rossi said.

Sen. Stephen Archambault said Raimondo entered office in a time of “economic doldrums” but that her leadership took care of the state.

“She listened and responded to the needs of the business community, forged partnerships and created innovative programs that helped Rhode Islanders gain the workforce skills to succeed,” he said.

In a release, Raimondo said her mission as commerce secretary will be the same one that’s driven her life and her family’s life across generations.

“To help spur good-paying jobs, to empower entrepreneurs who innovate and grow, to come together with working families and American businesses to create new opportunities for all of us,” she said.

“As secretary of commerce, I will harness that same American ingenuity to create good-paying union jobs and build our economy back better than ever before.”

Biden said in a release that his cabinet, which he’s announced two dozen nominations for, consists of tested and dedicated public servants who will advance his Build Back Better agenda. He said he hopes to dig America “out from the worst job crisis in nearly a century by supporting small business, dramatically increasing union density and rebuilding the backbone of America – our middle class.”


This article, though well meaning, fails to fully paint the picture of Secretary elect Raimondo. When it's mentioned that she has a background in venture capitalism, there is no follow up. For example, see here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/edwardsiedle/2016/09/29/rhode-island-politi...

Much like David Cicilline, Raimondo is making a quick exit from the state as the economic house of cards is crumbling. And, how is she to implement Biden's union utopia when she has been a vocal critic of unions AND pensions? This appointment is laughable, but I'm glad it has been made, for we now will be represented by a more moderate Governor - one who knows how to actually lead.

Some things will never change! They just keep exposing more and more in the vicious circle of corruption!

im sure the wonderful town of smithfield has more to be proud of then a failed governor like gina raimondo,wont miss her cant wait untill shes gone

Valley Breeze -- why publish these comments?

Gina already decimated commerce in RI... Now she will help Biden decimate and destroy the USA economy .... Worst governor we EVER had ... Don't let the door hit ya ....

Gina is a very popular Governor in the State of Rhode Island, who was re-elected with a majority. Every day I encounter some form of road construction - a result of her great work. She's been a pioneer of leading the Corona response - which despite the failings in other States I have always felt RI is the leader. President Joe Biden selected the best person for the job and I await her successes to traverse at the national level after sometime of Federal failings! I am sad to be losing her as Governor.

See the 1st amendment.

"We now will be represented by a more moderate Governor - one who knows how to actually lead". Are you kidding me? Have you seen what he has done to his former town Cumberland? A school budget nightmare. He has been Lt. Gov for the last 6 years and has accomplished nothing. Oh, we are lucky to have him alright. Buckle up Buttercup!

The first amendment has NOTHING to do with internet comments, it’s why some Toxic politicians who incited about insurrection have no more social media. Gina is a class act and helped repair Rhode Island after the disastrous Chaffee and Carcieri administrations. She will do amazing at the federal level!

I see, so any comments that you disagree with are not protected by the 1st amendment. I think the governor did an OK job, but what is the purpose of the internet if you can’t voice negative opinions about public figures? No one is inciting anything in these posts. You may want to rethink your position.

See above, go look at cat pictures if you want to use the internet properly.

There are some people out here who do not think that Gov Raimondo has done a fantastic job, and it is our right to say so. Take a look at what she has done to the public pension (as someone has previously posted). She has done NOTHING to help small business in RI, especially during the pandemic- holding onto the CARES Act money instead of distributing it to the businesses. Her attitude during her weekly briefings are more like "listen to me, the Italian mother" instead of just putting forth the information and addressing why the government is taking these particular steps.
She certainly has done some things right, but let's not put her on a pedestal just yet.

@voice of reason: The First Amendment says only that the government can't censor speech. Private companies like the Valley Breeze (& Twitter & Facebook) can, and do.

Facebook and Twitter have section 230 protection. That means that they are an open platform and thus not liable for posted material. Other than specific threats of violence, they are not allowed to censor or ban opinions under section 230. If they do censor opinions then they should have the section 230 exemption removed and thus become a publisher. As for Valley Breeze, I believe they are not section 230 and therefore can censor comments at their discretion, but to their credit they do not.