Hello everyone, 

 

As many of you know, Governor Raimondo has been selected to serve as Commerce Secretary in the Biden Administration. I want to congratulate her and thank her for her leadership and service to our state. 

 

As the transition begins, I want Rhode Islanders to know that we’re all going to work together. We will be laser-focused on the COVID-19 response and vaccine rollout, and we will come out of this crisis stronger than we went in. 

 

This is a critically important time for our state and nation. 

 

Our frontline health care workers – our nurses, doctors, and hospital staff – are giving their all to save lives and fight against this virus. Thousands of families are working hard to make ends meet. Small businesses are being challenged like they have never been challenged before – and I will do everything I can to help them survive and prosper. Parents are concerned about their children’s education and our heroic teachers are doing incredible work overcoming unprecedented obstacles. And everyone is wondering when will a vaccine finally reach them. 

 

As a lifelong Rhode Islander – a former mayor, small business owner, and state official – I want you to know that our transition process will be seamless, particularly when it comes to the pandemic response and vaccine rollout.

 

I’m communicating with our health officials and have spoken to Speaker Shekarchi and Senate President Ruggerio. As I have in the past, I will continue to work with all our municipal leaders to ensure their voices are heard at the state level. 

 

We’re going to be a government that listens and works with our partners in all 39 cities and towns. Because we all have the same goal – to build a stronger future for the people of the State of Rhode Island. 

 

I look forward to working together to earn your trust – and confidence – in the days and months ahead.

 

In 2021, let’s stay positive and test negative. Thank you very much.

An outside panel of experts is recommending Johnson and Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine be approved by the FDA for emergency use. It is a traditional vaccine that only requires a single dose instead of two and does not need ultra-cold storage. It proved to be 85-percent effective in clinical trials at protecting people from severe sickness and is also cheaper and easier to manufacture.       President Biden and the First Lady are assessing the damage in Texas from last week's devastating cold snap. The Bidens visited a large food bank in Houston and stopped by an emergency operations center. Biden heard from local officials about massive power outages and serious problems with water supplies due to broken pipes.       Florida Senator Rick Scott is telling attendees at today's Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida to stand up to Democrats. Scott said both impeachments of President Trump were nothing more than political vendettas and political theater. He gingerly acknowledged former President Trump isn't perfect and said he's not either.       A full classified briefing on the U.S. air strike in Syria will be given to lawmakers next week. President Biden ordered the attack on Iran-backed militia in the eastern part of the country following a series of rocket attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq. The airstrike targeted facilities in Syria that are used by at least two Iranian-backed groups.        Canada is authorizing AstraZeneca's coronavirus vaccine for use in adults. Health Canada approved two versions of the British-and-Swedish drugmaker's vaccine, one it worked on with Oxford University and the second made in India. It is the third vaccine approved for use in Canada, joining the ones made by Pfizer and Moderna.        Lady Gaga says her "heart is sick" after her dog walker was shot Wednesday night in Los Angeles and two of her dogs were stolen. The singer is opening up on social media and said she's praying her family will be whole again with an act of kindness. Gaga is offering up half-a-million-dollars for her dogs safe return, or if someone bought them unknowingly, the reward is the same.