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From The Office of Governor Dan McKee
Governor Dan McKee today announced the appointment of Elizabeth M. Tanner, Esq. as Rhode Island’s next Secretary of Commerce.
“Liz knows the ins-and-outs of small business and she has proven she will do what it takes to make Rhode Island a better place to live and work,” said Governor McKee. “When faced with challenges, Liz has always come out on top. She advocates for policy that is efficient and outside-the-box and I know she will get the job done to continue Rhode Island’s growing momentum.”
Tanner has served as the Director of the Department of Business Regulation (DBR) since 2017. In that role, she led the state’s third-largest agency revenue source in regulating financial services, the Fire Marshal’s Office and State Building Office, commercial licensing, gaming, cannabis and liquor while balancing a $25 million budget and over 160 employees. Her efforts in the business community helped generate several small business omnibus bills to make it easier to do business in Rhode Island. Before joining DBR, Tanner was the Executive Vice President of Client Services at Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, where she provided small businesses with counseling, resources and incentive products to enhance a customer-centric government.
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“It is an honor to step into a role that allows me to continue my passion in promoting the state’s economic and workforce development,” said Tanner. “I’ve been fortunate to work alongside Governor McKee in addressing business-related issues since he was Lt. Governor. We share the same commitment to helping small businesses grow in the Ocean State, especially as we continue our economic recovery, and I look forward to putting my skills to work as Commerce Secretary.”
Tanner graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. She earned her Juris Doctor from Western New England University School of Law, and an Executive Education Certificate in Strategic Management of Regulatory and Enforcement Agencies from Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
She will begin work with Commerce immediately. Beth Dwyer, ESQ will serve as Interim Director of Business Regulation during the search for a permanent Director.

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