‘GMA3’ exclusive: US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo

Raimondo discusses the most recent jobs report, $15 minimum wage and more in her first network interview since her swearing-in.
5:06 | 03/05/21

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Transcript for ‘GMA3’ exclusive: US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo
Our next guest has had quite an eventful few days, she began the week as governor of Rhode Island and after Tuesday's senate confirmation vote was sworn in on Wednesday as our nation's 40th commerce secretary. Joining us now is the newly installed U.S. Secretary of commerce, Gina Raimondo, thank you for being with us. Welcome back to "Gma3," secretary, and congratulations. Thank you, I appreciate that. Good morning, it's great to be with you. We're going to continue some good news because this morning, the labor department announced that the U.S. Added 379,000 jobs just last month. That's a big improvement over last month. What should we make of these Well, as you say, it is good news, because a lot of Americans are still out of work. In fact, 10 million Americans are still out of work. But it is certainly good to see that people are getting back to work. I think the biden/harris administration's leadership on the vaccine program is clearly starting to work. Folks are getting to be able to get back to work. So we still have an awful lot of work to do, but it is definitely a sign of things are starting slowly to get back on our feet. Progress of any kind at this point is welcome news. Now, I'm going to quote you here, secretary. You said that your job was to help spur good paying jobs and to create new opportunities. How do you do that right now? What is your plan? So the number one job now is to help Americans, the American economy get back up on its feet and stand up our economy again in a way that is more equal, more innovative and gives everybody a chance. So the best thing we can do right now is make sure that congress passes president Biden's American rescue plan which has -- you know, allows everybody to get vaccinated quickly. I can't emphasize enough how important that is to get business back again, get folks traveling again. We have to be there for small businesses and make sure they have the capital they need. And also the help that they need in order to become more innovative and more digital. And then, finally, we also have to make sure that everybody has access to broadband. Broadband is essential. It's going to be essential to work, to run a business, to run a small business. So there's no one thing, but we have to lean in aggressively, and I am prepared to use all the tools in the commerce tool box to get Americans back to work in high-paying jobs. And speaking of high-paying jobs, I'm going to talk a little bit about the minimum wage. It's very clear at this point that that $15 minimum wage is not going to be part of the stimulus bill. How important do you think that waging the minimum wage to $15 is in this economy? I think it's vitally important. As governor I'm proud to say that under my leadership we raised the minimum wage here in Rhode Island four times and we're on a path to get to 15. And again, president Biden has been clear on this, and I certainly agree, no one in America should work full-time and be poor, period. That is a value that I hope we can all agree on. So it is true, it's not presently in the current package before congress, but we have to stay at it. I mean, Americans deserve to have the dignity of work, and dignity means making a decent pay so that if you work hard and wrk full-time you're not struggling in poverty. I know you have shared stories about your father losing his factory job. You talked about the importance of that in this country. How do we bring those manufacturing jobs back to the United States? Yeah, thank you for mentioning that. I lived it. My brother, sister and I were able to have a good middle class life because of my dad's manufacturing job. And so, one of my priorities as commerce secretary is going to be to do what we can in order to make things in America. Whether that's semiconductors, which we need to make more of in America or all kinds -- electric vehicles, all kinds of advanced manufacturing, a key piece of that puzzle is making sure that Americans have the skills they need in order to work in advanced manufacturing. It's not my dad's manufacturing, it's not lower skill, lower tech. It's higher tech, higher skill. But I'll tell you, no one can beat the American worker if they're given a chance and given the skills they need to compete. So I'm excited to do what we can to revitalize American manufacturing. I can hear our audience cheering now, people wanting to support that sentiment and wanting to see that come to fruition. Congratulations. We hope you'll come back to the show. We always appreciate your time. U.S. Secretary of commerce, Gina Raimondo, thank you very much. Have a great day, thanks. You too. Have a great weekend.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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