gina raimondo

Ahead of Easter, RI governor hopefuls discuss their faiths

April 18th, 2014 at 12:01 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – It’s Holy Week and Passover for Christians and Jews around the world, and among those commemorating the solemn religious periods will be the five major candidates for Rhode Island governor, all but one of whom say they’re Christians.

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RI pension mediation ends; trial set for Sept

April 11th, 2014 at 2:44 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Rhode Island’s landmark pension law is heading to trial.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee and General Treasurer Gina Raimondo said Friday the state and its major labor unions have ended court-ordered mediation talks after eligible police officers voted to reject a proposed pension settlement. The two sides are now set to head to trial Sept. 15.

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Brown poll: Raimondo has slight lead over Taveras

April 10th, 2014 at 10:53 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – State treasurer and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo is clinging to a slight lead over Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, but more than a third of primary voters are still undecided, according to a Brown University poll released Thursday.

The new survey of 600 registered Rhode Island voters – including 395 Democratic primary voters – put Raimondo in the lead with 29.4%, with Taveras close behind at 25.8%. Clay Pell finished a distant third at 9.6%. More than 35% of those polled said they were still undecided.

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Chafee: RI may continue pension deal without police

April 8th, 2014 at 1:44 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – R.I. Gov. Lincoln Chafee said Tuesday the state may consider moving forward with its pension settlement without the eligible police officers who voted to reject the deal.

“There are various options and that might be one,” Chafee said following a news conference at the U.S. Attorney’s Office Tuesday morning.

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Providence’s pension return tops state’s since ’11

March 27th, 2014 at 5:50 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The pension plan in Rhode Island’s capital city has outperformed the state’s fund since Democratic rivals Mayor Angel Taveras and Treasurer Gina Raimondo took office, the city’s longtime financial consultants said Thursday.

The analysis, conducted by Boston-based Wainwright Investment Counsel, shows Providence’s $284 million in investments earned a 10.9% return between 2011 and 2013, while the state pension fund earned a 9.2% return during the same time period.

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Raimondo proposes more RI infrastructure spending

March 17th, 2014 at 11:49 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo on Monday put forward the second piece of what she says will be her campaign’s comprehensive jobs plan, proposing a significant increase in state spending on infrastructure.

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• Related: Taveras proposes new CCRI job-training program (March 11)


Most gov candidates oppose NECAP, support testing

March 13th, 2014 at 7:28 am by under General Talk

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – All but one of Rhode Island’s major gubernatorial candidates have found something they agree on: The NECAP standardized test should not be part of the state’s high school graduation requirements.

Democrats Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, state Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Clay Pell as well as Republican Cranston Mayor Allan Fung all said Tuesday they oppose tying results on the test to a high school diploma, but indicated they aren’t completely against the use of standardized testing in education.

Businessman Ken Block, who is challenging Fung in the Republican primary, said he supports the graduation requirements that are already in place, which include the use of the NECAP – short for the New England Common Assessment Program – for the classes of 2014, 2015, and 2016 before moving to another assessment beginning the following year.

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Raimondo rolls out plan to boost RI manufacturing

March 10th, 2014 at 1:51 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo on Monday put forward the first piece of what she said will be a comprehensive plan to grow Rhode Island’s economy and add jobs in a state with the nation’s highest unemployment rate.

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Myrth York, former Taveras ally, backs Raimondo for gov

March 5th, 2014 at 8:30 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi and Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The woman who made three unsuccessful runs for governor of Rhode Island is throwing her support behind a new contender for the job.

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Steve Jobs’ widow to co-host Raimondo fundraiser in Calif.

March 4th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Treasurer Gina Raimondo’s gubernatorial campaign is getting support from Silicon Valley royalty.

Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs, will co-host a fundraiser for Raimondo on March 25 in Palo Alto, Calif., along with SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg, who is married to Facebook executive and “Lean In” author Sheryl Sandberg, and David Crane, a former advisor to Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger who has backed changes to public pensions in the Golden State.

“Gina represents a dynamic new generation of Democratic leaders – she helped usher in progress for Rhode Island by adhering to key principles that have steadily guided her career: creativity, tenaciousness, and listening well,” the invitation, obtained by WPRI.com, states. Suggested contributions are $250 to $1,000.

The Raimondo event is part of an Election Speaker Series organized by Emerson Collective, a nonprofit founded by Powell Jobs, according to the invitation. Powell Jobs gave a maximum $1,000 donation to the treasurer’s campaign last September, while Crane has given Raimondo $2,000 since 2012 and Goldberg has given her $1,000, according to R.I. Board of Elections records.

Raimondo’s campaign confirmed the event but declined to say how long the treasurer will be in California or whether she will hold other events while she’s on the West Coast.

• Related: Clay Pell loans his campaign $1M; Gina Raimondo has $2.5M (Feb. 2)


Taveras, Raimondo exchange harsh words over pensions

February 25th, 2014 at 3:49 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The campaigns of Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and General Treasurer Gina Raimondo exchanged fire Tuesday about the two Democrats’ records on pensions, signaling Rhode Island’s ongoing battle over retirement benefits will be a battleground in this year’s primary for governor.

“Not only has the mayor failed to solve Providence’s pension problem, for most of his term he was too busy to bother with it,” Raimondo campaign manager Eric Hyers told WPRI.com. “He skipped 80% of the meetings of the board that oversees the city’s pension fund in the first half of his term.”

“We’re not surprised that she’s attacking him now since her constantly evolving positions and statements prove that she will say or do anything to get elected,” Taveras campaign manager Danny Kedem told WPRI.com.

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Chart: Comparing Raimondo, Fung and Taveras on pensions

February 18th, 2014 at 12:39 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Three of Rhode Island’s major candidates for governor this year – Treasurer Gina Raimondo, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras – have all struck deals with union members and retirees over the last two years to reduce the shortfalls in the pension funds for which they’re responsible.

So how much did they save?

In dollar terms, Raimondo obviously achieved the highest savings: a $3.9 billion cut in the state’s unfunded liability under the terms of last week’s proposed settlement, compared with a $186.4 million reduction from Taveras’s settlement and a $37.4 million reduction from Fung’s settlement. But that’s not really a fair comparison, since the two mayors were dealing with significantly smaller total liabilities.

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New WPRI/Projo Poll: Taveras 31%, Raimondo 27%, Pell 15%

February 12th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi and Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and Treasurer Gina Raimondo are locked in a tight battle for the Democratic nomination for governor, with Taveras holding a slight lead but one in four primary voters still undecided, an exclusive WPRI 12/Providence Journal poll released Wednesday shows.

The new survey of 503 likely Rhode Island Democratic primary voters puts Taveras on top at 31%, with Raimondo close behind at 27% and political newcomer Clay Pell further back at 15%. An even larger share of primary voters – 25% – haven’t decided whom they’ll support in the Sept. 9 election.

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• Interactive: Dig into the full results and crosstabs for the new WPRI/Journal poll


New WPRI/Projo Poll: 46% of primary voters back pension law

February 11th, 2014 at 5:00 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi and Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Fewer than half of Democratic primary voters in Rhode Island support the 2011 pension overhaul championed by one of the party’s leading candidates for governor, Treasurer Gina Raimondo, an exclusive WPRI 12/Providence Journal poll released Tuesday shows.

The new survey of 503 likely Democratic primary voters also shows 70% of them think it’s important that a candidate for governor has prior elective experience, a key question for Raimondo rival Clay Pell, while 55% think Providence’s financial problems have been only somewhat solved by Mayor Angel Taveras, another Democratic candidate for governor, since he took office in 2011.

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• Interactive: Dig into the full results and crosstabs for the new WPRI/Journal poll

Tomorrow at 5 a.m. – find out whether Raimondo, Taveras or Pell holds the lead among primary voters.


Pell loans his campaign $1M; Raimondo has $2.5M

February 2nd, 2014 at 4:15 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Democrat Clay Pell has jumped to the front ranks of Rhode Island’s best-funded politicians after putting more than $1 million of his own money into his campaign for governor, as his rivals Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Mayor Angel Taveras continue to sock away six-figure sums.

Here’s a rundown of how much money all the candidates for statewide office had as of Dec. 31.

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• Related: Ex-Enron trader Arnold gave $100K to pro-Raimondo PAC (Jan. 31)


Ex-Enron trader Arnold gave $100K to pro-Raimondo PAC

January 31st, 2014 at 7:28 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A super PAC formed to boost Treasurer Gina Raimondo raised $116,988 during the second half of last year, with most of the money coming from John and Laura Arnold, the deep-pocketed couple who also backed pro-pension-overhaul group Engage Rhode Island.

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• Related: A closer look at the Texas billionaire who backed EngageRI (May 20)


Pell, senator’s grandson and Kwan’s husband, running for gov

January 27th, 2014 at 4:02 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By David Klepper

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island’s already contentious race for governor is about to get a lot more complicated with the entry of Clay Pell, the grandson of the late U.S. Sen. Claiborne Pell and the husband of Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan.

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Watch Newsmakers: Treasurer, gov hopeful Gina Raimondo

January 26th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes

A correction: during the show, I said Kate CoyneMcCoy of American LeadHERship was on stage at one point during Treasurer Raimondo’s kickoff event; CoyneMcCoy was there but not on stage. I regret the error.


Taveras, Raimondo back higher minimum wage; GOP opposed

January 23rd, 2014 at 4:48 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Both announced Democratic candidates for governor agreed Thursday that Rhode Island should raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. They just don’t see eye to eye on when to do it. But the two Republican candidates disagree.

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• Related: Watch gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo on Newsmakers (Jan. 23)


Candidates for governor, mayor discuss violence at forum

January 21st, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – In the first candidate forum of 2014, the Democratic hopefuls for governor and mayor of Providence on Monday pledged to invest in nonviolence training and provide more support for young people at risk of falling into a life of crime.

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Raimondo, Taveras back Chafee budget; Fung wants lower taxes

January 16th, 2014 at 4:48 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The two announced Democratic candidates vying to succeed Gov. Lincoln Chafee expressed initial support for the governor’s final budget proposal Wednesday night, while a leading Republican hopeful called on state leaders to consider lowering taxes this year.

General Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, both Democrats, said they still want to dig in to Chafee’s $8.5 billion budget proposal, but agreed that the governor’s plans to spend an additional $38 million on public schools, freeze tuition at state colleges and invest in infrastructure are all good starting points in an election year.

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Raimondo puts focus on jobs, education at campaign kickoff

January 13th, 2014 at 10:20 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) – Treasurer Gina Raimondo kicked off her campaign to become the next governor of Rhode Island on Monday morning with a pledge to reinvigorate the state’s economy by using the same approach she took in spearheading the 2011 pension overhaul. She also unveiled a series of policy proposals.

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It’s official: Gina Raimondo will run for RI governor as a Dem

December 18th, 2013 at 1:29 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Treasurer Gina Raimondo officially jumped into the 2014 race for governor of Rhode Island on Wednesday, placing an emphasis on her commitment to her family and her desire to tackle the state’s intractable economic problems.

WPRI 12 political analyst Joe Fleming said the announcement isn’t a surprise and called her a “formidable” candidate. Providence Mayor Angel Taveras’s campaign criticized her for quickly going negative. And the American LeadHERship super PAC said it would swing into action to promote her candidacy.

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Republican Allan Fung enters Rhode Island governor’s race

November 4th, 2013 at 11:36 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) – The Republican mayor of Rhode Island’s third-largest city officially launched his campaign for governor Monday, promising to create 20,000 new jobs and freeze college tuition rates for four years beginning in 2015.

Describing himself as “respectful, result-oriented and fiscally responsible,” Cranston Mayor Allan Fung pledged to be a hands-on governor who will spearhead an economic development strategy that will be centered on lowering taxes, improving public schools, fixing the state’s aging infrastructure.

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Raimondo grows war chest over $2.3M; Taveras at $759K

November 1st, 2013 at 12:14 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – R.I. General Treasurer Gina Raimondo is now sitting on a campaign war chest that is more than three times the size of her closest rival’s as she prepares for a likely run for governor in 2014.

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Taveras moves $11M of city pension assets out of hedge funds

October 30th, 2013 at 2:18 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Providence’s pension fund has moved quickly to reduce its exposure to hedge funds this year, but a spokesman for Angel Taveras said Wednesday it’s not an effort by the mayor to get an advantage over Treasurer Gina Raimondo in their expected gubernatorial campaign.

“The mayor if anything is acting in a methodical, prudent manner,” Taveras spokesman David Ortiz told WPRI.com. “When concerns started being raised in Rhode Island and across the country, and financial experts like Warren Buffett and others started talking about their concerns with hedge fund investments, the mayor as chair of the Board of Investment Commissioners has a fiduciary responsibility to investigate that.”

The Providence pension system’s hedge-fund investments totaled $40.6 million on Oct. 22, down from $51.3 million on April 23, a reduction of nearly $11 million over six months, financial documents show. The share of total assets invested in hedge funds dropped from 19% in April to 14% this month. The change came to light when Ian Donnis of Rhode Island Public Radio mentioned it in a tweet.

Hedge funds have become a potent issue in Rhode Island politics in recent months, as Raimondo faced heavy criticism for moving more than $1 billion of the state’s pension assets into the higher-fee alternative investments. WPRI.com revealed in May that the city fund, which is overseen by Taveras, had an even larger share of its assets in hedge funds at the time; city officials said the investments dated back to David Cicilline’s tenure.

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Watch Newsmakers: Treasurer Gina Raimondo

October 27th, 2013 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes


Taveras asks Raimondo, others to sign pledge to curb outside spending

October 23rd, 2013 at 11:20 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – He hasn’t formally declared his intention to run for governor, but Providence Mayor Angel Taveras is already trying to set the rules for the race.

The first-term Democrat on Wednesday asked any Democrat mulling a run for the state’s top job to sign a “People’s Pledge” to limit spending by Super PACs and other out-of-state groups during the 2014 election season, a practice that gained notoriety following a Supreme Court decision that opened the door to unlimited campaign spending by outside groups.

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Report blasts Treasurer Raimondo’s pension overhaul; investment strategy

October 17th, 2013 at 4:57 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The analyst hired by Rhode Island’s largest public employees’ union released a scathing report Thursday that questions the 2011 overhaul of the state’s pension system and accuses Treasurer Gina Raimondo of having a cozy relationship with out-of-state hedge fund managers.

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Taveras campaign stands by poll giving him 19-point lead

October 9th, 2013 at 2:05 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras isn’t backing down in the battle of the pollsters.

Hours after Brown University released a survey showing Taveras trailing Treasurer Gina Raimondo in a possible Democratic primary for governor, Taveras campaign aide Peter Baptista said his team stands by its Garin-Hart-Yang Research survey findings from last month giving Taveras a sizable advantage.

“We stand by the poll we released,” Baptista told WPRI.com. “The methodology is solid, and Mayor Taveras is focused on delivering for working people in Rhode Island.”

The Taveras campaign only released a memo summarizing its internal poll instead of the full results, but pollster Frederick Yang said his primary sample was 60% Democrats and 40% independents. By comparison, Brown’s primary sample was made up of only 40% Democrats and 46% independents.

Baptisa hinted that Taveras is getting closer to making a formal announcement about his candidacy for governor. “He will announce his decision in weeks, not months,” Baptista said.

Raimondo spokeswoman Joy Fox didn’t join the fray. “The treasurer’s office will not comment on polls,” Fox told WPRI.com. “We will continue to concentrate on our work in Treasury, and deliver results for Rhode Islanders.”

• Related: Q&A: Orr explains how Brown University’s poll was conducted (Oct. 9)