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Issue Position: Sustainable Retirement System

Issue Position

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Date:
Location: Unknown

The primary role of the General Treasurer is to oversee the state's retirement system investments. It is a role that requires not only financial expertise, but also the experience and wisdom to put that expertise to practical use. In her career as a finance professional, Gina demonstrated that she has the financial skills and experience to be successful in overseeing the state's retirement system on her first day in office. Effective management of the state's retirement system is critical not only to state employees and retirees, but to all citizens of Rhode Island, who support any shortfalls through higher taxes or reduced services. As part of this responsibility, Gina will work to reform the pension fund, collaborating with key stakeholders to truly understand the complicated financial issues and to develop a comprehensive solution that creates long-term sustainability, offers a dependable retirement to retired workers and ensures the fund's efficient operations going forward.

Rhode Island's retirement system today faces many challenges--we have a significant unfunded pension liability--which is unsustainable. Addressing these challenges requires a leader with the financial expertise to rigorously analyze and understand the issues, and a willingness to engage broadly to find common ground. The role of the General Treasurer is to analyze, educate and help the General Assembly and key stakeholders find workable solutions. Gina has more than a decade of professional investment experience, during which she has demonstrated an ability to effectively manage investments across a range of assets and successfully collaborated with fellow investors, banks and credit agencies. She is adept at working through complicated financial problems and devising long-term solutions that make sense for all stakeholders. As General Treasurer, her priorities will include:

Applying Effective Portfolio Management

Gina understands that effective management of the state's retirement system requires focusing on long-term returns, and minimizing expenses. She will adopt a rigorous portfolio approach, with careful diversification of risk, asset classes and investment horizons to maximize long-term returns.

Creating a Sustainable System

Gina understands the need to research and understand the complicated financial issues, and to advocate for policies that will improve the long-term sustainability of Rhode Island's retirement system. Gina believes that the solution to our pension issue is rooted in math, rather than politics. She will serve as an honest broker among key stakeholders -- balancing the interests of state employees who have faithfully paid into the system and the taxpayers who work hard to fund it -- to develop a comprehensive approach to reforming the retirement system and ensuring its sustainability. This goal requires exploring all potential solutions to the long-term pension liability, including different program structures, using detailed actuarial studies and ensuring input from all stakeholders.

Maintaining a Fair and Efficient System

Gina will work to identify and eliminate fraud and abuse in the state's retirement system. She will also explore opportunities to merge locally administered pension plans -- some of which lack meaningful professional management-- into the state-administered MERS plan, and to provide increased state oversight of severely underfunded local pension plans.


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