Raimondo, Duckworth Discuss MEP National Network During Senate Commerce Committee Hearing

Home / Blog / Raimondo, Duckworth Discuss MEP National Network During Senate Commerce Committee Hearing

by | Feb 5, 2021

RI Governor, Secretary Commerce Nominee Gina RaimondoAmerican manufacturing and the MEP National Network™ were topics during a Senate panel last week considering consider the presidential nomination of Gina Raimondo to be Secretary of the United States Department of Commerce.

On Tuesday, January 26, 2021, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo appeared before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. In her testimony. Gov. Raimondo noted that she was raised in a manufacturing family:

“Like most of you, like many of you I was raised to appreciate the value of hard work and good family-supporting jobs.
When I was growing up here in Rhode Island, Rhode Island was the national epicenter of jewelry manufacturing and those factories supported thousands of families all across my state. My dad always used to say there was something special about a job in manufacturing: the dignity of a job when you spent your day making things.”

Several of the Senators questioned Gov. Raimondo about support for manufacturing and her thoughts on promoting economic growth domestically. Senator Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., led her questions with comments about the MEP National Network, a unique public-private partnership focused on helping small and medium-sized manufacturers generate business results and thrive in today’s technology-driven economy. The MEP National Network comprises the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP), 51 MEP Centers located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Polaris MEP is the MEP for Rhode Island; Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) is the MEP in Sen. Duckworth’s home state of Illinois.


Sen. Duckworth began, “One of the most pivotal programs overseen by Commerce is the MEP. My state’s organization within the MEP Network, IMEC, delivers incredible value for small businesses and manufacturers by helping them improve their operations, implement long-term strategies, commercialize their products and grow their companies. And last year, IMEC helped small businesses in my state weather the COVID-19 crisis and assist others in a very critical moment in our fight against pandemic.”

The Illinois Senator went on to state “Now I know that you have the same success story within Rhode Island itself. Your own Polaris MEP helped connect your state with nearby manufacturing company to produce vitally needed PPE gowns last year.”

Gov. Raimondo’s response indicated strong support for the MEP program nationally and in RI:

“Yes, I’ve just had a fantastic experience here in Rhode Island with our MEP program and I am a strong supporter of the MEP program. President Biden has said he would like to have it expanded, which is something I support. I think I’ve been clear today that I would, should confirmed, I would like to be a champion for the American worker but American manufacturers. And do everything I can including executing MEP to expand the industry, promote Innovation and help be a leader in manufacturing.”

Media Inquiries

For information specific to Rhode Island manufacturing, Polaris MEP’s COVID response efforts, and/or the recent Executive Order to Buy American, please contact Kathie Mahoney, Polaris MEP Center Director, at kmahoney@polarismep.org.

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