By REP. CARLOS E. TOBON In a few days our governor will most likely be confirmed as the next Secretary of Commerce. Right now, she is one of 50 governors and after her confirmation she will be one of 15 members of President Biden's cabinet. The odds of
In a few days our governor will most likely be confirmed as the next Secretary of Commerce. Right now, she is one of 50 governors and after her confirmation she will be one of 15 members of President Biden’s cabinet. The odds of winning a major lottery is roughly one in 300 million. Out of approximately 320 million people in our country and the smallest state in the union, Gina did it. She defied the odds.
Right around now some people may be rolling their eyes or beginning to murmur all the things she did not do or could have done better. Unfortunately, that’s human nature and I cannot help that. My purpose in writing this is to highlight the fact that our little state does produce talent. That we can dare to dream and dream big. That our little girls in our little state are going to see Rhode Island’s first female governor also become the next United States Secretary of Commerce.
So if you do not wish to join in celebrating this accomplishment, let us at least recognize that this is not only an important moment for our governor and her family, but for our entire state. Regardless of your background, beliefs or party affiliation, let’s celebrate that a Rhode Island native, a little girl from Rhode Island, dreamed, worked hard, stepped into the arena and made it. Unlike a lottery that is all luck, this is an accomplishment.
Viola Davis, Helena Foulkes and Meredith Vieira are examples of exemplary native Rhode Islanders who through hard work, determination and dedication reached the heights of their industries and professions. They are women that we are proud to call our own. We can point them out to little girls in our state and encourage them to go after their dreams just like them. These women are heroes because they overcame great odds, regardless of their upbringing. They had to earn it and Gina did too! Some women face or endure some type of discrimination or assault while trying to get ahead. In politics you face scrutiny because you are elected to make decisions and it’s hard to please 1,000,000-plus bosses.
Let’s not let this rare, historic and important occasion escape us. Let us put politics and party ideology to the side and celebrate this moment – if not for the person, at least for what she has accomplished and the example for the little girls in our state and around the country. You too can aspire to be the No. 1 actress in the country from the smallest city in the country, the CEO of an internationally recognized conglomerate, a broadcast journalist in a variety of prime time programs and shows, or an elected or appointed public servant at the highest levels of our government.
Gov. Raimondo is not perfect. Everybody is entitled to their believes and opinion. As a legislator, I also did not agree with her at times. What I admire is that she did not only dared to dream, she took the steps to accomplish them.
Some may choose to tell their daughters about her accomplishments or failures as governor. Amber, my 6-week-old, will hear about Gina, the governor who shot for the moon and landed among the political stars.
Thank you Governor/Secretary, and best of luck in your new role.
State Rep. Carlos E. Tobon, a Democrat, represents District 58 in the House of Representatives. He resides in Pawtucket