The Governor Who Has Figured Out How to Fix Bridges and Pensions

Tom Moroney and Matthew Winkler
Blooomberg Business

Mending a state pension system on the verge of collapse is a worthy closing act for any politician. Now it’s clear Gina Raimondo was only warming up.

Four years ago she was treasurer of Rhode Island -- the smallest state headed for the highest unemployment -- when she took on the pension’s unfunded $6.8 billion liability and set it on a path toward solvency.

It was a moment of gritty political will that made the Rhodes scholar plenty of enemies, including public unions whose retirement benefits were scaled back. Seven months into her first term as governor, Raimondo, a 44-year-old Democrat, is applying the same vigor to building a robust economy with jobs that pay $60,000 or more. Among her key strategies: She’s enlisting the help of company chief executive officers, forgiving student-loan debt and fixing the state’s crumbling transportation infrastructure.

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