WESTERLY — The Town Council voted 4-2 on Tuesday to authorize the sale of the Bradford School property to Trendsetter Properties LLC, a Watch Hill-based development firm, for $750,000.
The company plans to develop the 7-acre property with apartments or condominiums, according to Jeffrey Pucci, a company principal. The council’s vote to sell the property is contingent on town officials first resolving a potential obstacle to specific uses of the property.
According to town officials, the town accepted $50,000 from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund several years ago to develop outdoor recreation facilities on a portion of the school property. The question to be resolved is whether a condition of the grant of using the property for recreation runs in perpetuity regardless of whether the property is sold or whether a new owner can develop the property for other uses.
Town Council President Sharon Ahern, during an interview on Wednesday, said she was confident the town would be able to follow through on the sale to Trendsetter Properties LLC. The town’s land records do not include documents outlining a requirement for the recreation use.
“If it is not recorded in the land records it is very difficult to prove the use runs with the land,” Ahern said.
Pucci, during an interview with The Sun, said it was premature to discuss details of what is company will do with the property.
“Most likely it will be residential housing in the form of apartments or condominiums,” Pucci said.
Trendsetter Properties LLC is also working on plans to develop the former St. Pius X School into housing and a related company is developing the Brown Building on High Street with 13 apartments on the second floor and a new street-level restaurant and retail space. Pucci and a business partner also developed apartments above Mel’s Downtown Creamery, at 37 West Broad St., Pawcatuck.
Pucci said he is aware that some residents of Bradford have pushed for the town to retain ownership of the Bradford School property, but he said the school building is in a state of disrepair due to a failing roof.
“It would only be the Westerly taxpayers who would have to pay to make those repairs or pay for it to just sit there. I hope the idea of a developer coming in will make people happy,” Pucci said.
Ahern said developing the Bradford property for residential use will inject new energy into the community.
“To my mind some form of housing, preferably for seniors or affordable housing, is an excellent use of the property. I think it is definitely needed and would bring life to that area,” Ahern said.
Town Councilor Brian McCuin said selling the property is the correct choice.
“Now it’s a revenue-generating asset. Before it was costing the town money, so it was time to get rid of it,” McCuin said.
Trendsetter Properties LLC, McCuin said, is a trustworthy buyer.
“I think they’re legit. They’ve done this kind of project before — redeveloping an area and bringing it back into a usable condition,” McCuin said.
Ahern, McCuin, and Councilors Caswell Cooke Jr. and Karen Cioffi voted in favor of the sale. Councilors Philip Overton and Suzanne Giorno voted against the sale. Councilor Christopher Duhamel recused from the vote. The council initially voted in a private executive session and then announced its vote after briefly resuming the public portion of its meeting.
Councilor Philip Overton, who voted against the sale, said he was not dead-set against selling the property to Trendsetter Properties LLC but was hoping the council could find a potential buyer with different plans.
“I wanted to hold out for a medical center of some sort,” Overton said.
More specifically, Overton said, he would have preferred selling the property to a developer for doctors’ offices or other medical services.
William Aiello, a Bradford resident and former member of the Town Council, said he was caught off-guard by the council’s actions. For years Aiello has advocated tirelessly for for the property to be returned to use as a school or as a potential community center.
“I was totally blindsided by the town council’s actions at their meeting Tuesday night, especially after speaking during citizens comments and explaining the progress of our Bradford Community Group,” Aiello said.
The community group has been brainstorming ways to improve the village and looking for ideas on how to use the Bradford School property.
“Councilors Giorno and Overton are undoubtedly the only two sensible councilors regarding this matter. They actually demonstrated care and concern about the neighborhood and want the community to play a major role in deciding what and how the property is used,” Aiello said in comments to The Sun.
The Bradford School was taken offline as a school following the conclusion of the 2016-17 school year. It eventually was used as office and program space for the Recreation Department and other organizations, including youth sports and cheerleading. In March, the council voted to ask Town Manager Shawn Lacey to begin marketing the property for sale. Members of the Planning Board recommended the council not sell the building and said it was needed by the town.
The property has an assessed value of $3.6 million. Lacey recently said that the $750,000 asking price reflected market value and that the $3.6 million figure was the potential cost the town would face if the school building had to be replaced for use as a school.
Key West, Florida, the southernmost point of the continental U.S., is a veritable paradise that has long attracted artists and authors and acts as a beacon for those discontented with mundane life in the big cities or the Midwest. It’s all too common to hear a server or bartender say, “I came down for a vacation and never left,” or “After Key West, I couldn’t bear to go back.”
The ocean is within reach in every direction; birds sing like they’re auditioning for a Planet Earth special; the palm fronds mute any nearby noise pollution every time the wind picks up; and when it rains no one is that unhappy about it. It’s easy to forget that one is at the very end of U.S. Highway 1 on nothing more than a speck of land surrounded by unapologetic straits and seas.
The trouble with any paradise, though, is that everyone wants a piece of it, and as the story usually goes, it’s those with the power, money, and influence who end up with the largest of chunks. Right now, the ever-shrinking square footage of Key West isn’t just being consumed by rising sea levels but also by the rising real estate market.
“Companies and investors are coming in—people from Airbnb and Zillow—and they’re knocking on doors to offer cash,” said Lila, who bartends at one of the many hotel chains battling over property right now. “Cash buyouts are scary because you don’t know where the money is coming from. It’s worse than 2008.”
Lila has lived in Key West since 1992 and now is left wondering how much longer she will be able to stay. There already existed a familiar power dynamic between landlord and tenant, but now, like in other cities across the country, corporations are coming in to outbid locals.
“My friend has been here for 20-plus years, and her landlord was offered $50,000 over the asking price,” Lila told People’s World. “She’s going to have to move.”
Properties are being bought up in bulk for the sake of creating more rentals.
“When condo-izing started, landlords could divide individual homes into multiple units and sell off or rent out more,” explained Bridget, who has worked in the Key West real estate market. “What we are seeing now is even worse.”
“Back in the 1970s, landlords could purchase a limited number of transient licenses for their properties, which essentially means those properties could be rented daily or weekly. If a property did not have that license, it would be restricted to a 30-day minimum rental period. Lots of companies are using Airbnb and Vrbo to get around this.”
The velocity of the market is such that only companies with highly liquid capital can keep up.
“It used to be that residents could afford a rent of $2,000 or $3,000 a month, but now these units are renting for $25,000 to 30,000 a month,” Bridget told People’s World. “Homes that were in the past used for long-term rentals, for condo-izing, to divide up for families to live in are all being gobbled up for the vacation rental market.
“I have a theory: as soon as the first storm happens, as soon as these people with all this wealth don’t know how to react, we’re going to see another mass exodus, which is going to hurt everyone here.”
A cursory search of what’s currently on the market is enough to dampen any hope of moving down to Key West with minimal possessions if one is looking to buy: It seems half-a-million dollars yields less than 300 square feet and a million can get you from 600 to 1100 square feet, depending on location.
The lowest average nightly cost of a vacation rental in Key West is $315, and although some properties do dip below the $300/night mark, this would mean a rent of $7,800 to $9,450 per month, assuming steady business. This is a huge mark-up from what would be garnered from roommates or a family occupying the same space for only $3,000 a month. Even at only 81% occupancy rate, according to AirDNA—a firm that studies vacation rentals—with an average of $460 per day, the monthly cost is $11,178.
The numbers confirm what has already been known in real estate: It’s more profitable to keep properties empty temporarily than to rent to long-term residents. The larger danger looming is what happens when these property owners figure out the “critical mass” of occupancy. Not only would it be concerning for landlords to determine the perfect amount of time a property can be left empty balanced with rent increases; but, what happens when deliberately keeping properties empty for longer drives up value?
Although Key West Mayor Teri Johnson is looking to “crack down” on these companies renting through Vrbo and Airbnb, the bulk purchases of land and the soaring property values they drive is dispossessing and displacing those who already live and work here.
Working to live in Key West
When happy hour begins (at some places it’s the usual 4 p.m., others begin as early as noon), the bars and restaurants are jam-packed. Cruise ship passengers have yet to flock back to the safety of the ship’s belly already bursting with endless buffets, leaving servers and bartenders and back-of-the-house staff overwhelmed.
Having made their way into work an hour or so before to help prep and get ready for the shift change, these service industry folk—ranging from lower middle class to working-poor—meander from their condo-ized houses in Old Town or fight through the droves of tourists coming to see the 3,000-square-foot Hemingway House that overshadows their affordable/public housing or make the 45-minute drive in from Big Pine Key.
One bartender confessed that they drive in from Fort Lauderdale every working day—a four-hour commute one-way, which wouldn’t be worth it if they had not also had to stop in Islamorada for an earlier shift those same days.
“The last two weeks I have gone out to happy hour, our server has been in tears at some point,” said Bridget. “The god-awful workload they have—there’s not enough people here. They have all been driven too far out.”
Being displaced further has had other effects besides just a dwindling labor force. Traffic has also skyrocketed because of both workers coming from greater distances and the increase in tourism. Both Bridget and Lila have all but stopped biking around the city because of increased danger from this traffic.
“Nobody’s paying attention—they’re not looking for you, they’re only looking at their phones,” Lila explains of the out-of-towners coming down to pay to be her neighbor for a few days. Lila has been struck by a car three times now.
“I don’t know how someone could live down here on $100,000 a year or less,” exclaimed Danielle, who is originally from Michigan and now wonders how long she can stay in Key West. “I can barely afford what I’m doing and I’m very high up at my company.”
“I was talking about this with a doctor who recently left Key West [because of the cost of living]. Anything you want to do here is expensive; if you want to enjoy any part of the island or life on the water, it’s a lot. You can’t enjoy living because you have to pay the rent bill.”
When asked about affordable and public housing, Danielle—who has spent much of her free time researching different properties—said, “The rules and regulations [around affordable housing] are strict. It can be around $2,800 to $3,000 for a one-bedroom, and that’s without utilities. You can’t share that with anybody either.”
When compared to the fact that the average tourist is going to spend $441 per day, these costs in living in Key West seem to be more than just costs: They seem to be prohibitive to living.
A change in the community
As tourists begin to stream toward Mallory Square to watch the sunset, the streets fill up with those staying on the island, re-energized after spending too much time in the sun and ready to live that so-called island life. Only a few short hours later, when it’s not quite the end of the night, there are people passed out on porches and lawn furniture of houses they do not belong at, or urinating in public, or using their vacation rental as a frat house.
“There is such a lack of concern for everything. The behavioral changes in cruise ship passengers—it’s just unbelievably intolerable and it makes going to work miserable,” explained Bridget. “Now houses all around me are being used for vacation rentals; sometimes there will be good considerate people, but so many people have become so entitled and inconsiderate.
“I have had to ask these renters several times to take their parties inside or down a notch. A lot of times I get met with hostility. It makes my family cringe every time the season comes around.”
The changes have had clear ideological shifts as well. Once a city known for its progressive identity in comparison to much of the rest of Florida, Key West has been left vulnerable to a more reactionary tourist population by investors and property holdings groups. Many store fronts are now adorned with t-shirts bearing homophobic slogans, Trump paraphernalia, and Confederate flags.
“I think people have lost so much…. The gay community is what put Key West on the map and made it what it is—a fun and fabulous place to be,” lamented Bridget. “And all of that has been hatefully driven away.”
The racial disparities of Key West are continuously exploding as well. Bahama Village, the historically Black and African-American part of the city, has been losing more and more ground to real estate developments and the U.S. Navy.
“The people there have nowhere to go; the guy who built the Truman Annex has been trying to develop the Village for some time,” Lila explained.
“Much of the Haitian population is without jobs because of recent crackdowns on illegal labor practices, and the service industry is too cautious on ‘who’ to hire,” said Danielle.
The threat of cheaper labor is a common form of employer blackmail. “My friend’s fiancé was given an ultimatum at work [after asking for a raise] and told if she didn’t like it, she didn’t have to come in tomorrow and they would pay some Haitians $2-an-hour less to do the same job,” said Lila.
Will the city’s old political character return? As more and more residents are pushed off the island, a political void has been created, and both the tourist and real estate industries seem to be ensuring that continues.
“I used to be very involved in activism here, but the last few years have made things devastatingly hopeless,” said Bridget. “There’s this defeated attitude among the younger generations down here—this ‘what difference does it make?’—and it really scares me.”
The decrease in population Illinois recorded since the 2010 Census cost the state one of its seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and cost Vermilion County voters a united voice in deciding who that representative will be.
Once the Census results are final, Illinois lawmakers — in this case, the majority Democrats —must draw new district map to reflect changes in the count. Vermilion County, whose voters all cast their ballots for the same congressional representatives for decades, will see their results split between two congressional districts.
The former 15th Illinois Congressional district now includes only the far southern part of the county. It stretches across a good part of the middle of the state except for a snake-like 13th Congressional District that starts around St. Louis and runs northeast.
As anyone with a television will know, two Republican incumbents — Mary Miller and Rodney Davis — are waging an expensive fight for their party’s nomination. Their districts were merged to create the new 15th District.
The rest of Vermilion County, roughly from just south of Westville north, will vote for candidates in the 2nd Congressional District. There, incumbent Democrat Robin Kelly from southern Cook County, whichever Republican — Shane Cultra of Onarga, Thomas Lynch of Cissna Park or Ashley Ramos of Bradley — wins the primary.
The 2022 version of the 2nd District includes a good portion of the Lake Michigan shore from north of the University of Chicago to the state line. It runs along the Illinois-Indiana state line until it reaches Vermilion County where it heads west, includes Westville, Catlin and Oakwood, but not Fairmount. It then meanders northward, bobbing west to include Rantoul and Pontiac, before angling back northeast to include Kankakee before getting back to Chicago.
The majority of voters in the district reside in Chicago, the south suburbs and around Kankakee. That weakens the volume of Vermilion County voters regardless of who wins in November.
The 2022 redistricting efforts again show why Illinois — and all states — should use a non-partisan, practical method to create legislative districts. The twists and turns of the new districts, designed to maximize the Democrats’ chances of winning, put serving the public’s interests last. Just as the Republicans did when they had the opportunity to create such maps.
Anyone knows the farmers in northern Vermilion County share few of the same interests as residents on the south side of Chicago. Yet one congressional representative will speak for them all.
Politics on the state and national levels place gaining and keeping power — and the financial benefits campaigns enjoy because of that power — as a priority. Serving the people who cast the ballots? That’s way down the list.
That doesn’t mean local voters should surrender. Voters should continue to press candidates on the need for non-partisan redistricting, and cast their ballots for those who pledge to support the change. Vermilion County being shoved into the far corners of two large congressional districts means local officials will need to work harder to be heard — or be content with the silence.
SUNBURY — City Council members approved the first reading of the much-debated commercial property ordinance in Sunbury after giving the public a chance to raise concerns Monday night.
Mayor Josh Brosious led the public meeting for commercial property owners to discuss any concerns before City Council members met to vote on the first reading, which will now require commercial property owners to be inspected by an outside agency every three years.
“The inspections required under this ordinance will be carried out utilizing the IMPC 2015, (International Property Maintenance Code), by the city’s designated licensed inspector, by North East Inspection Consultants,” Solicitor Joel Wiest said.
Wiest said the ordinance does not require current code compliance and standards. It is intended to provide a standard for the maintenance of equipment, systems, devices and safeguards required by this code or a previous regulation or code under which the structure or premises was constructed, altered or repaired shall be maintained in good working order.
“This ordinance will require that the safety systems already in place in a commercial building be in working order, and that minimum structural safety standards are met,” said Wiest.
The cost for each inspection will be $200, and inspections will be required on a three-year basis, according to the ordinance.
The inspections will not become mandatory until Jan. 1, 2023, so that business owners have time to prepare for the fee, according to council members.
Brosious said the ordinance is for the good of the city and the safety of people who are entering the structures.
Council also thanked the Degenstein Foundation for matching a grant the city applied for. The city applied for a grant for the S.W.E.E.P project, and received $125,000. The Degenstein Foundation matched the grant.
“We are very thankful to them and continue to help and support the city of Sunbury,” Brosious said.
Brosious said the project will be beneficial to the city and surrounding areas.
Almost 13,200 shops are ripe for rent in the North with 650,000 jobs have been lost in the UK’s retail sector over the past five years as premises close
Image: BerkshireLive – Grahame Larter)
Forcing landlords to rent out empty high street shops could bring up to 58,000 premises back into use, a think tank has said.
Analysis by the centre-right Onward group found rising vacancy rates meant there were around tens of thousands of empty shops across the UK.
In the North, almost 13,200 were empty, only slightly less than the 13,500 premises in London, despite the North having fewer shops overall.
It could also see up to 9,000 shops brought back into use in the Midlands, 3,000 in Scotland and 2,700 in Wales.
New figures show that almost 650,000 jobs have been lost in the UK’s retail sector over the past five years.
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Onward’s director Will Tanner said the figures demonstrated the impact that Government proposals to hold compulsory rent auctions could have.
Mr Tanner, a former Downing Street adviser under Theresa May, said: “Empty shops are a blight on high streets right across the country.
“They aren’t only a very visible sign that the local economy is in dire need of levelling up, they are also a blow to civic pride.
“Any tenant is better than no tenant at all, so the Government is right to be taking steps to address this problem by forcing commercial landlords sitting on vacant shops to make them available to the community.”
Large commercial property owners such as financial institutions and overseas investors have contributed to long-term vacancies in British high streets.
Graham Young / BirminghamLive)
These types of owners account for half of all empty properties in the UK as they had little incentive to accept lower rents, according to the report.
Industry experts are calling for caution from the Government over business rates levels next year in order to protect the future of high streets.
The Centre for Retail Research said that 645,204 retail jobs have been lost and 72,580 stores closed during the five years since 2017.
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This included 105,727 jobs lost last year as the continuation of the furlough scheme kept losses below previous years.
The stark figures come as high street firms face a significant increase in business rates after benefiting from tax breaks during the pandemic.
SUNBURY — The much debated commercial property ordinance in Sunbury will be discussed again on Monday prior to a City Council meeting.
According to solicitor Joel Wiest the city will hold a public meeting on Monday at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall, relative to changes to and implementation of its commercial property inspection ordinance.
“The inspections required under this ordinance will be carried out utilizing the IMPC 2015, (International Property Maintenance Code), by the City’s designated licensed inspector, by North East Inspection Consultants,” Wiest said.
“The IPMC is a maintenance document intended to establish minimum maintenance standards for basic equipment, light, ventilation, heating, sanitation, and fire safety. Responsibility is fixed among owners, operators and occupants for code compliance.”
Wiest said he wanted people to understand the ordinance.
“To be very clear, this ordinance does not require current code compliance and standards, it is intended to provide a standard for the maintenance of equipment, systems, devices and safeguards required by this code or a previous regulation or code under which the structure or premises was constructed, altered or repaired shall be maintained in good working order,” he said.
“So basically, this ordinance will require that the safety systems already in place in a commercial building be in working order, and that minimum structural safety standards are met.”
A few examples of things the inspections will cover are clear ingress and egress from the building, emergency lighting, exit signs, smoke/carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, sanitation, required GFI receptacles, properly installed electrical and plumbing fixtures, and structural soundness,” Wiest said.
“This ordinance is being implemented solely to ensure the health and well-being of the patrons, employees, and other users of commercial buildings in the city of Sunbury,” he said.
There has been much discussion of the implementation of fair and recognizable exclusions from this ordinance. To be clear, at this time, the only buildings which will be excluded will be those which have been properly inspected under the IPMC 2015 within the previous three year period. Owner occupied structures, unused structures, and others will be required to obtain inspections due to the impossibility of ensuring that the same are used only by the legal owners thereof, and given the fact that even if solely owner occupied said buildings could impact neighboring structures.”
The cost for each inspection shall be $200, and inspections will be required on a three year basis, according to the ordinance.
However, due to the public interest in cost hereof, the inspections will not become mandatory until Jan. 1, 2023, so that business owners have time to prepare for the fee, Wiest said.
“Any business owners who wish to immediately undergo the inspections required under this ordinance may do so immediately upon passage of the new ordinance. Further, local, state, and federal government buildings not inspected within the prior three years will be inspected, but not charged by the city for said service,” he said.
Sunbury Mayor Josh Brosious said the ordinance was implemented to ensure the safety of the owners and residents.
Council meets at 6 p.m. on Monday.
OTTAWA – Advertising and public-relations agencies have been banned for working for Russian oil and gas firms as part of a new wave of sanctions designed to increase pressure on the Putin regime.
The latest round of sanctions following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine includes a ban on the export of services, including engineering and accounting, to Russia’s oil, gas and chemical industry.
The new sanctions outlaw 28 types of Canadian consultants, including technical and management consultants and advertising agencies, from working for Russia’s oil, gas and chemical sector, which accounts for about 50 per cent of the country’s revenues.
Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said “Canada will do everything in its power to prevent Putin’s ability to fuel and finance his war machine.”
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, Canada has imposed sanctions on more than 1,070 individuals and entities from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.
They include Alina Kabaeva, a former Olympic gold-medal gymnast, who is reportedly Putin’s girlfriend.
Canada has also sanctioned Azatbek Omurbekov, a military commander whom the EU has said is nicknamed the “Butcher of Bucha.”
When the EU imposed sanctions on him, it said he led Russian troops responsible for killings, rapes and torture in Bucha, a town outside Kyiv.
The massacre of civilians in Bucha is being investigated as war crimes, with the help of RCMP investigators from Canada.
Canada and the EU have also sanctioned Mikhail Mizintsev, a Russian general the EU said is known as the “Butcher of Mariupol.”
The general was involved in the siege and bombardment of the port city, which was obliterated by Russian artillery, killing civilians as well as Ukrainian troops.
Canada has also sanctioned Russian oligarchs and their families and banned the import of Russian caviar, vodka and diamonds.
At a G7 meeting earlier this year, Joly advocated for allies to also ban the export of professional services to Russia’s oil industry in protest at the invasion of Ukraine.
“The Russian invasion of Ukraine has now lasted over 100 days. In that time, Vladimir Putin and his regime have caused untold pain and suffering in Ukraine and across the world,” she said. “We will continue to relentlessly pursue accountability for Vladimir Putin’s senseless war.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 8, 2022.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
DANVILLE — Borough council members on Tuesday night approved a final sales agreement to sell 20.055 acres of former Danville State Hospital farmland to the Danville Area School District for use as athletic fields.
Council agreed in April to the transfer, which stipulates that the district only use the land for “athletic fields and attendant athletic facilities,” according to the agreement. If the district or its successors convey the property or permit the property to be used for any other purpose, the land title would immediately revert back to the borough, the agreement states.
The vote on the agreement was not listed on the original agenda, but council voted early in the meeting to add it.
The district agreed in 2018 to lease the land for 99 years and pay $34,333 each year for 15 years, as part of a land swap in which the district gave the borough two-thirds of the playground at the former Danville Elementary School, on East Front Street, to build a new police station. The district later sold the former school to Montour County for $750,000 to use as an administration building.
The agreement for the land sale lists the purchase price as $515,000, less any lease payments the district has made.
Borough Manager Shannon Berkey said the district has made about three years of payments, which would put the balance owed at approximately $400,000, though Berkey said on Tuesday night she did not have a specific figure then.
The land for additional soccer fields is part of more than 400 acres of the former state farmland the borough has owned since 1994. The borough leases the land for farming and uses part of the farmland for disposal of sewer sludge.
Council recently accepted a quit claim deed from the state releasing the agricultural restriction on the tract the district is buying and another approximately 20-acre tract along River Drive. The district currently leases both tracts from the borough.
The restriction would have prevented the district from building any structures, such as baseball dugouts, on the property.
She continued, “You know, this is, in large part, caused by (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s aggression. You know, since Putin move troops to the border of Ukraine, gas prices have gone up over $1.40 a gallon, and the President is asking for Congress and others for potential ideas. But as you say, the reality is that there isn’t very much more to be done.”
Raimondo on Tuesday pointed to the possibility of a gas tax holiday, which would require congressional action. And she outlined the record-setting steps Biden has already taken to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserves, which has had a negligible effect on prices.
Prices won’t go down, she said, until the war in Ukraine is over.
“But again, especially what we need to do is get Putin to end this war. And that is also something that we are working as hard as we can to do. … The President is thinking about this every day and pushing his team and Congress to come up with any idea possible because we’re deeply aware of how this is hurting American families,” Raimondo said.
Pressed on whether she was comfortable with Biden meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman next month to help potentially alleviate gas prices, Raimondo suggested Biden is “going to use every arrow in his quiver in order to bring down gas prices for Americans.”
She added that she has “full trust” in Biden’s judgment on such a meeting.
She also reiterated that the administration is looking into lifting some Trump-era tariffs on China, but declined to get into specifics.