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Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Economy and Jobs Team Nominees in Wilmington, Delaware

January 08, 2021

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Nominee for Secretary of Commerce, Governor Gina Raimondo in Wilmington, Delaware

Mr. President-elect, Madam Vice President-elect —thank you for this chance to go to work for the American people.

And thank you to my wonderful husband, Andy, and our two kids, Ceci and Tommy, for your endless love and support.

The mission of the Commerce Department is a simple one — to help spur good-paying jobs; to empower entrepreneurs to innovate and grow; to come together with working families and American businesses; to create new opportunities for all of us.

A simple mission, but a vital one.

It's the same mission that has driven my own life and the path of my family across generations.

My grandfather was fourteen years old when he came to America, alone, on a boat from Italy in search of new possibilities.

He taught himself English in the Providence Public Library.

And he started a family, the first chapter of a new American story.

My father was the son of another Italian immigrant — a butcher who had helped found the Rhode Island Meat Cutters Union.

And after serving in the Navy and going to college on the G.I. Bill, my father went to work in manufacturing, spending most of his career at the Bulova watch factory in Providence.

I was the youngest of three kids — there were six of us, including my grandfather, living in a small house and sharing one bathroom.

We didn't have a lot, but we had everything we needed.

Until one day, my dad came home, and told us that the factory was going to close.

After 28 years of dedicated work, he was forced into early retirement in his 50's.

It was a difficult time for my family, and like so many families across the country today, we had to cut back to make it through.

My mother held our family together and we got through it.

I went on to college and began to chase my own dream of starting a business and creating jobs for hardworking people.

Because I knew exactly what those jobs would mean for families who had fallen on hard times, for communities where the factory had shut down, for a state that needed a shot in the arm to get up off its feet.

When I announced my run for Governor, Rhode Island was in the midst of an eight-month streak as the state with the highest unemployment rate in the nation.

But over the last six years, we grew our way back, achieving a record number of jobs and the lowest unemployment in 30 years.

We did it by bringing together our workers and our businesses in common cause.

We invested in our people — in their skills, their opportunities, and their dreams.

We helped new businesses launch and sparked others to hire and grow responsibly.

That's the same vision, the same faith in American workers and entrepreneurs that I see in the Build Back Better agenda.

It's a vision for an inclusive recovery that lifts up those who have been left behind.

It's a vision for a national effort that provides skills, training, and wraparound supports to get Americans back to work.

It's a vision for rebuilding American manufacturing and bringing back jobs that have gone overseas.

And it's why I'm so excited to get to work on a national scale to help realize the vision of the President-elect and Vice President-elect, and help more hardworking families, in every community, write the next chapter of their own American stories.

Thank you for this opportunity to serve the American people.

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Nominee for Secretary of Labor, Mayor Marty Walsh in Wilmington, Delaware

Mr. President-elect and Madam Vice President-elect — thank you for the opportunity to serve the American people.

The word "labor" means everything to me.

My mother and father came to this country as immigrants from Connemara, Ireland.

All they brought with them were willing hands, honest hearts — and hope for the American dream.

But that's all they needed — because my father joined the Laborer's Union in Boston.

And that's why my parents were able to raise my brother John and me with dignity and security in the multi-ethnic, multi-racial, working-class neighborhood of Dorchester, in the City of Boston.

I followed my father into that union.

I learned what it took to turn an honest day's work into an honest day's pay.

I saw what fighting for good jobs, good benefits, and safe workplaces does for the lives of hardworking men and women, and their families.

And I've fought for working people every day of my life since.

Today, we're at a crossroads for workers in America.

It's a time of great hardship.

As the President-elect has noted, working people are holding the country together right now.

I've seen it up close as the Mayor of the city I love, Boston.

Health care workers and first responders.

Grocery store workers and delivery drivers.

Postal workers, sanitation workers, custodians.

Coming through for us, under impossible conditions.

But it isn't just the COVID crisis or the economic crisis that threatens their wellbeing.

Working people have been struggling for a long time — under the erosion of their rights, and under deep inequalities of race, gender, and class.

For the last four years, they've been under assault — from attacks on their rights; their livelihoods; and the unions that built the middle class.

We are facing hard times.

But nobody's tougher than the American worker.

And now — now we have the opportunity to put power back into the hands of working people.

And that is a good thing for our economy and our country.

We can defend workers' rights.

We can strengthen collective bargaining.

We can grow union membership.

And we can create millions of good-paying jobs with investments in infrastructure, clean energy, high-tech manufacturing — along with the workforce training to help people get those good jobs.

The Biden-Harris team has the plans to make it happen.

Mr. President-elect, we spent memorable days together in my hometown.

At a rally to support grocery store workers fighting for their rights.

At my inauguration as Mayor.

And on a day I'll never forget: at the Boston Marathon memorial, where you lifted a whole city's spirits.

So I know that from Dorchester to Scranton; Wilmington to West Virginia; and all across this great nation, your home and your heart is with the working people.

I look forward to working with you to deliver good jobs — jobs with dignity, security, prosperity, and purpose — to all American families.

And I look forward to working with the entire Administration, shoulder to shoulder with the working people, to build our country back better.

Thank you once again for this incredible honor. May God bless the American worker, and God bless the United States of America.

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Nominee for SBA Administrator, Isabel Guzman in Wilmington, Delaware

Good morning.

Mr. President-elect, Madame Vice President-elect — I am honored and truly thankful for this opportunity to serve America's small businesses.

Together with you and the exceptional and diverse team you're assembling, I am eager to build our economy back better in every community.

The small business experience is personal to me.

I grew up in an entrepreneurial family —my father started his first veterinary hospital when I was one, and I have early childhood memories of tagging along with him on weekends to check on the animals under his care.

As I grew older, I worked alongside my dad at the family business, and witnessed his dedication to his clients, his employees, and the community.

I saw him spending endless hours wearing multiple hats — tirelessly working to learn more and grow the business.

Those memories have defined my career, and still inspire my work.

Along my own path, I have partnered to start businesses and I have helped entrepreneurs launch and grow their own firms.

I have advised a startup minority-owned bank, and I have co-founded a consulting firm for small business contractors.

At the U.S. Small Business Administration, I was honored to help make a difference on a national scale — I formed a deep passion for the SBA's work providing loans, investments, contracts, and counseling to help entrepreneurs start and grow, and spur job creation.

Today, as California's Small Business Advocate, I support the small businesses and innovative startups of the 5th largest economy in the world — focusing on ensuring the economy works for everyone, as that's how we will thrive together.

Now, I'm honored to return to the SBA at a crossroads moment for our nation's small businesses — the dreams they embody, the people they lift up, and the communities they serve.

So many small businesses across the country have been devastated by the pandemic and economic crisis.

A disproportionate impact has fallen, as it so often does, on our businesses owned by people of color.

Small businesses have had to adapt quickly to survive and chase down relief while facing closures, drops in revenues, shrinking cash flow, and increasing debt.

I know you believe wholeheartedly, Mr. President-elect and Madam Vice President-elect, that all of our small businesses are critical to our collective success as a nation.

Their American dreams fuel our economy, bring new ideas to transform our lives for the better, and enliven every main street in America.

And now more than ever, our small businesses need us.

I share your commitment to help strengthen the many small business owners who have seen their dreams and livelihoods impacted by COVID-19.

And to create opportunities and instill greater equity for all of the new startups that will lead us to recovery.

I am excited to get to work with the incredible mission-driven civil servants at the SBA to help America's small business owners build better futures for their families and communities.

And I am grateful for this opportunity to serve.

Thank you.

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Nominee for Deputy Commerce Secretary, Don Graves in Wilmington, Delaware

Mr. President-Elect and Madame Vice President-Elect, I am honored and humbled to be here today.

I first want to thank my family for giving me the permission to once again serve the American public.

I have spent my career, in government, the private sector, and nonprofits finding ways to ensure that economic opportunity is inclusive and broad-based.

And as it is for us in our own ways, it's personal. I come from a long line of small business owners, including one who owned and operated the only African-American-owned hotel in the mid-to-late 1800s, just four short blocks from where the Commerce Department sits today.

But for too many people in this country, the chance to start and grow a business, to take their idea into market and sell all over the world remains elusive all these years later.

But we also know that government, its resources, and its experienced and capable civil servants can help level the playing field and empower people, communities, and our economy to reach their full potential.

Mr. President-elect, I saw it first hand when you and President Obama prevented another Great Depression and helped us recover, rebuild, and put us on the way to resurgence.

I saw it in Detroit, where we were able to provide the partnership to help residents, businesses, and leaders get their city back on its feet again.

And as we traveled the country, meeting with local leaders, labor unions, business leaders, and educators, I saw how you brought people together to ensure American workers were equipped and matched with the skills for jobs in their own communities that also strengthened the economic competitiveness of our nation.

Above all you showed me how to do it the right way.

To understand that service isn't about those who serve, but the people we serve.

To spend the extra time to really understand what they are going through.

And to know they aren't looking for us to solve everything, but to understand and help make their lives better.

I felt that most through the cancer moonshot you launched — deeply personal to both of our families — and that gave the American people a renewed sense of hope in what we can do as a nation.

With Governor Raimondo, Mayor Walsh, Isabel, and the entire economic team, we will govern by that high standard you and the Vice President-elect continue to set.

To revive the economy through the pandemic and build it back better.

To advance racial equity across the board and to meet the existential threat of climate change with American jobs and ingenuity.

With your leadership, I know this Administration will provide the American people the support they need to thrive, and the opportunity to turn their hopes into lives of dignity and respect they deserve.

Thank you again for the opportunity to serve.

Joseph R. Biden, Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Economy and Jobs Team Nominees in Wilmington, Delaware Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/347514