Detroit Regional Chamber > Detroiter Magazine > U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo: ‘Be Biased Toward Action’

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo: ‘Be Biased Toward Action’

May 28, 2024

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo Talks American Competitiveness, Supply Chain Resiliency, and Bipartisanship

What is the state of U.S. economic competitiveness?

Under President Biden’s leadership, U.S. economic competitiveness is stronger than ever. With smart investments like the CHIPS program, we are building the talent, technologies, and manufacturing capabilities necessary for America to out compete and out-innovate the rest of the world and secure our leadership of the 21st century global economy.

What is the biggest threat to that competitiveness?

Disinvestment. Too many elected officials bought into the idea that America could drive growth simply by cutting taxes and regulation, while disinvesting in education and essential services. But President Biden knows we should be investing in our country, in workers. With the right tools, on a level playing field, American workers and companies can out compete anyone in the world.

U.S. Secretary Gina Raimondo headshot

What can we do to make sure that our workforce thrives through major technology shifts like the transition from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles?

Failing to develop a diverse, skilled workforce is one of the biggest risks to our success. It’s on all of us – the government, the private sector, nonprofits, high schools, community colleges, and universities – to ensure that everyone has access to these opportunities, including women, people of color, and historically underrepresented communities.

The pandemic exposed the vulnerability of the U.S. supply chain, what still needs to occur to have the robust, resilient supply chain businesses and industries can count on?

We learned the hard way that a shutdown at a facility in Asia can result in supply chain bottlenecks and furloughs for autoworkers in America. CHIPS is investing in bolstering our semiconductor supply chain. Likewise, the Department of Commerce’s Supply Chain Center is helping the government, our allies, and the private sector better understand the proactive steps we can take to reduce supply chain risks.

The business case for an inclusive and equitable economy has been clear for quite some time – how do we build an economy where all can prosper?

We fail to meet our full potential unless we harness the strengths of all parts of the country, including women, people of color, and other underrepresented groups. Economic growth has been clustered in a few cities for far too long. With programs like Build Back Better Regional Challenge, we’re building inclusive, innovation-based regional ecosystems so that everyone can share in our prosperity.

You were central in bringing into reality the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Given continued partisanship, how optimistic are you that we can achieve future bipartisan legislation to tackle key issues that impact our economy?

When I talk to members of Congress, it’s about figuring out how we can best help the folks we’re responsible to. Does it always work like that? No, but that’s how it goes more often than you’d think. From there, it’s how do we get to a place where both sides can say ‘yes.’ We have to be biased toward action.