Raimondo to remain Gov. until confirmed to Biden cabinet; Assures ‘seamless transition’ to McKee

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Governor Gina Raimondo was joined by Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee at Wednesday’s COVID-19 briefing at The Vets, but declined to answer questions from reporters before departing.

Raimondo and McKee both made remarks to start off the briefing, and Rhode Island Department of Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott took over to lead the press conference.

“I’ve loved every minute of being your governor,” Raimondo said to start off her remarks, adding that it wasn’t her goal to make it to Washington, but she felt compelled to answer the call when asked by President-elect Joe Biden. “I felt that I had to say yes, and it will be my great honor to serve the American people and continue to serve the people of Rhode Island.”

She reassured Rhode Islanders that the transfer of power from her to McKee would be seamless.

“We have been in contact already over the past week, throughout the weekend, planning a seamless transition, and his team is meeting with my team on a daily basis already.”

While McKee has spent much of his time as Lieutenant Governor on the sidelines, he said he’s been watching closely and will be ready for day one. He estimates that he could take over as governor in mid-February.

“Our learning curve is going to be short, but there is a learning curve, and we’re gonna do everything we can to make sure we’re prepared when the governor heads to her commerce secretary position in Washington,” McKee said to reporters after Wednesday’s briefing.

Raimondo said she’s asked McKee to keep the state’s COVID response team in place, and that he agreed.

“It should give you great comfort that our response around testing and contact tracing and vaccines and field hospitals, the use of the National Guard, will remain intact so this will be a seamless transition,” said Raimondo.

When it comes to selecting a lieutenant governor, McKee said he’s discussing the process with the General Assembly. He said he’s not sure if the position is something that he can appoint someone to, or if they must be elected.

McKee also pointed to his time as Cumberland’s mayor, saying he’s used to the process of transitions.

“Transitions are not new to me. Right? I’ve had the opportunity to become Mayor-elect and transition into office, and I also have been a mayor when I had to usher a new administration in. I understand the dynamics.”

McKee will hold a press briefing on Thursday at 10 a.m. at Chelo’s in Warwick.

© WLNE-TV 2020

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Politics, Providence, Regional News, Rhode Island