gina raimondo

Providence pension investments beat state’s again

July 25th, 2014 at 5:02 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The Providence pension fund’s investment performance beat the state’s once again in the fiscal year that just ended, and it wasn’t particularly close.

The City of Providence Employee Retirement System’s roughly $272-million portfolio earned 17.5% during the 12-month fiscal year that ended June 30. The Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island’s roughly $8.2-billion portfolio earned 15.1% over the same period.

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Clay Pell getting traction in Democratic gov primary

July 21st, 2014 at 1:48 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Could Clay Pell win the Democratic nomination for governor on Sept. 9?

No small number of people have scoffed at that suggestion. But with 50 days to go before the primary – and more than $1 million in Pell TV ads saturating the airwaves – there’s reason to think the 32-year-old political newcomer has a real, if still unlikely, shot at victory.

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RI governor hopefuls have already spent $2M on TV ads

July 14th, 2014 at 5:27 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The campaign to become Rhode Island’s next governor is already getting quite expensive.

The five major candidates for governor have bought $2.1 million worth of television advertising since mid-May, according to an internal campaign tracking document obtained by WPRI.com. The lion’s share of that money – $1.9 million – has been spent by the three Democrats: Gina Raimondo, Clay Pell and Angel Taveras.

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Raimondo stands by hedge-fund adviser canned by Mass.

June 24th, 2014 at 12:10 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – General Treasurer Gina Raimondo is keeping for now the California financial adviser that helps her office pick hedge funds for the state’s investment portfolio, despite a recent decision by the Massachusetts pension board to cut ties with the same company.

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Watch: The entire June 10 RI Democratic primary debate

June 11th, 2014 at 11:10 am by under Nesi's Notes


5 takeaways from Tuesday night’s Democratic RI gov. debate

June 10th, 2014 at 11:05 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Raimondo Taveras Pell June 2014 debateThe top three Democratic candidates for governor – Angel Taveras, Gina Raimondo and Clay Pell – met Tuesday night for their first TV debate of the primary campaign. For a full recap of what they said, check out Dan McGowan’s full story on WPRI.com. The full video of the entire 60-minute debate is online here.

Here are five quick takeaways from this first primary debate of the season.

1. Nobody bombed. Supporters of the three candidates will point to the best moments each of them had and the occasional stumbles of their rivals, but the truth is there didn’t appear to be any really bad moments that will become a major post-debate headache for their campaigns. Particularly in the first debate, when the candidates are still trying to get their sea legs, they likely have the Hippocratic oath in mind: “First, do no harm.” As WPRI 12 political analyst Joe Fleming put it, “I would say they all held their own tonight. But nobody had a knock-out punch.”

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WPRI/Journal Poll: Taveras still leads Raimondo; Pell slips

June 3rd, 2014 at 5:00 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi and Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The tight race between Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and Treasurer Gina Raimondo for the Democratic nomination for governor has barely budged since last winter, but their opponent Clay Pell has lost ground, an exclusive WPRI 12/Providence Journal poll released Tuesday shows.

The new survey of 506 Rhode Island Democratic primary voters shows Taveras still in the lead at 33%, with Raimondo still a close second at 29% and Pell a distant third at 12%. More than one in five voters – 22% – haven’t decided whom they’ll support in the Sept. 9 primary. Perennial candidate Todd Giroux is at 1.6%.

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Key Raimondo aide Brumberger leaving for private sector

May 29th, 2014 at 5:44 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

A longtime member of Treasurer Gina Raimondo’s State House team is heading for the exit.

Josh Brumberger, who is currently Raimondo’s deputy treasurer of policy and financial empowerment, said Thursday he will leave the treasurer’s office next month to do business development for Utilidata Inc., the Providence-based energy-management startup.

Brumberger, 35, was hired by Raimondo shortly after she took office in February 2011 and played a key role in developing policies such as the 2011 pension reform and a statewide push to improve financial literacy. His departure comes as a bit of a surprise, with Raimondo in the thick of a campaign for governor.

Brumberger also worked on former U.S. Sen. John Edwards’ 2004 presidential campaign, and was called to testify during Edwards’ 2012 trial for campaign finance fraud. He was also featured in “Game Change,” the popular campaign book penned by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann.

Brumberger is the second key Raimondo aide to leave Treasury this month. Joy Fox, Raimondo’s spokeswoman throughout her tenure there, moved over to her gubernatorial campaign this week. Raimondo’s former chief of staff, Joe Pratt, was shifted to a different job in 2012 and left her office last year.

Heather Hudson will take over as Raimondo’s director of financial empowerment and Rebecca Webber will become her policy director at Treasury once Brumberger leaves.

Ted Nesi ( tnesi@wpri.com ) covers politics and the economy for WPRI.com and writes the Nesi’s Notes blog. Follow him on Twitter: @tednesi

An earlier version of this post incorrectly said Brumberger worked on John Edwards’ 2008 presidential campaign; he worked on his 2004 campaign.


Dems sign ‘People’s Pledge’ to limit spending in gov race

April 28th, 2014 at 10:21 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The Democratic candidates for Rhode Island governor said Monday they have reached an agreement to limit outside spending during the campaign, a deal that could significantly limit the influence of Super PACs and other special-interest groups this year.

Known in politics as the “People’s Pledge,” the agreement requires any candidate who benefits from an outside group’s advertisement to contribute 100% of the ad buy to a charity selected by their opponent within three days of the ad’s discovery. In the event that two candidates benefit from the ad, they will each contribute 50% of the cost to the third’s candidate’s charity of choice.

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WPRI 12, Projo will host 2 TV governor debates in June

April 28th, 2014 at 10:19 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Get out your calendars.

WPRI 12 and The Providence Journal announced Monday they will host two Rhode Island gubernatorial primary debates in June. Democrats Angel Taveras, Gina Raimondo and Clay Pell will debate on Tuesday, June 10 at 7 p.m.; Republicans Allan Fung and Ken Block will debate the following Tuesday, June 17, also at 7.

The debates will be moderated by Tim White, with yours truly and Journal political columnist Ed Fitzpatrick joining him to ask questions. Both debates will be held at PPAC and air live on WPRI 12.


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, Nesi's Notes

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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