GoLocal Voter’s Guide - GT Candidates: Gina Raimondo
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Democratic Candidate for General Treasurer
Providence; raised in Smithfield RI, where parents still reside. Age: 39.
LaSalle Academy (Valedictorian)
Harvard University (BA in Economics)
Oxford University (PhD) as Rhodes Scholar
Yale Law School (JD)
• Co-founded Point Judith Capital, a venture capital firm based in Providence ten years ago; serves as general partner and leads the firm’s healthcare investments
• Served as the Senior Vice President of Fund Development at Village Ventures, Inc., leading effort to establish a national network of venture capital funds
• Served as judicial clerk for Judge Kimba Wood in the federal district court (New York)
• Board member, New England Venture Capital Association, Trustee, Women and Infants’ Hospital, and is Board Vice Chair, Crossroads RI.
Married with two young children. They reside in Providence.
Views on Key Issues:
• Do you favor the expansion of casino gambling in RI to include table games in Lincoln and Newport?
I support letting the voters of Rhode Island make that decision. We need to be protective of all sources of state revenue, including gambling revenues on which our state budget increasingly depends, but I trust Rhode Islanders to make informed decisions on this issue.
• Do you think RI is culturally too accepting of public corruption?
No, I believe all Rhode Islanders find public corruption unacceptable, and I support harsher penalties for public officials who betray the public trust. The most important way to rebuild that trust, however, is to make sure our government performs, and delivers high quality services to the people in Rhode Island.
• Do you support the Deepwater Wind Project as a way of helping RI become a hub of the new energy industry? Do you think it is a viable method of economic development here?
Yes. We must develop alternative energy sources in this country, and globally. Rhode Island is well-situated to be a national leader in wind, which could be a great source of new jobs here. From my experience as a venture capitalist building new businesses in high growth industries, I believe that the Deepwater Wind Project has tremendous potential to help develop this sector here, which should spawn related efforts and other companies.
• Do you think RI effectively spends its education dollars?
Education is vital to our society and our goal in Rhode Island should always be to spend educational dollars more efficiently and effectively to ensure all of our children receive a quality education. I applaud the recent collaboration of state leaders, across the entire political spectrum, in the successful Race to the Top application. This effort has not only resulted in key educational reforms, including a fair funding formula, but also place a much-need focus on spending our resources differently to improve education outcomes. In education, as in all areas of government spending, we must evaluate the outcomes we are producing, and work to improve them.
• Do you favor a state law to allow gay marriage?
• Do you think RI should enact restrictive immigration legislation?
No. This is a federal issue, which Congress should debate and determine for the whole country. For me, this issue is personal too. All of my grandparents were immigrants from Italy, who came to this country seeking a better life for themselves and their families. We need to remember the tremendous contributions that immigrants have made to this country, and ensure that any immigration reform effort furthers this tradition of openness for legal immigrants. It is one of our unique national strengths.
• Do you think municipal government has done enough to cut spending?
No. Each city and town needs to look carefully at its own budget and act decisively, as there’s a real risk of bankruptcy as Central Falls is facing today. The issue is not about cutting spending by itself, but about each city and town spending more effectively. As local budgets have seen significant cuts in state aid, each community needs to examine and prioritize its spending in new and different ways (with a particular emphasis on restraining spending on retirement benefits) rather than continuing to raise taxes.
• What specifically do you propose to change in the state pension system, and how much will your changes save in annual costs to the pension system?
Our current state retirement system is unsustainable. In fact, if we don’t act now, our pension fund could be totally bankrupt within 15 years (or sooner). For me, however, this is “math, not politics.” Therefore, I will collaborate with key stakeholders and work with actuaries to assess our financial obligations and to develop a comprehensive solution that creates long-term sustainability (eliminating our unfunded liability in the near-term), offers a dependable retirement to current and future state employees, and ensures the fund’s efficient and effective operations going forward. I recognize there is no “one answer,” but all options must be on the table.
• What is your strategy to address the state's budget deficit?
Please be specific, i.e. what cuts or revenue enhancements you are proposing. Spending on our pension system arguably is the greatest driver of our state’s budget deficit, particularly over the next ten years. As discussed, I will lead effort to develop long-term solutions for our retirement system to ensure its financial sustainability and minimize its impact on our annual budget, which currently shoulders any pension fund shortfalls.
• What specifically will you do to improve employment for Rhode Islanders?
As an investor for the last ten years, I know that the best way to make private sector businesses grow is to make sure they have access to capital. As the state’s chief banker, I will use the leverage at my disposal in managing the state’s cash accounts with banks to accelerate lending for much needed capital to local businesses.
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