The “designated survivor” for Tuesday’s State of the Union address is Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.
By custom at least one Cabinet member does not attend the speech, in order to preserve the Constitutional line of succession in the event of a catastrophe. It is a holdover from the Cold War but one that has taken on new significance in light of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and broad threats from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Senate voted overwhelmingly in March 2021 to confirm Raimondo to serve as President Joe Biden’s commerce secretary.
Raimondo was the first woman elected governor of Rhode Island and was serving her second term. She is a Rhodes Scholar and a graduate of Yale Law School who went on to become a venture capitalist before turning to politics.
Raimondo is responsible for promoting the nation’s economic growth domestically and overseas.