Jumpstarting Rhode Island's economy and getting people back to work is our state's top priority, and Gina will use all the tools at her disposal as General Treasurer to contribute to this effort. By leveraging her professional network and mining her deep experience in building new companies and creating jobs in high-growth industries, Gina will direct investments and banks that do business with the state to contribute to economic growth right here at home.
Rhode Island's unemployment rate is among the worst in the country. While we have enjoyed some growth in life sciences and biotechnology businesses, our manufacturing base continues to erode. Today, even those workers with jobs feel insecure about their future employment prospects. Reduced tax receipts have also impacted our ability to provide much-needed social services. We must grow our economy and build a foundation of high-paying jobs for Rhode Island. Gina believes our state's retirement system can be a powerful catalyst for that purpose.
She will use her investment and management background to responsibly invest retirement fund assets in local opportunities, which will create good jobs here in Rhode Island -- while continuing to generate strong investment returns. Gina has spent the last 10 years building her own business, Point Judith Capital, and investing in more than 20 start-up companies, which now employ hundreds of workers. In addition to her professional experience, Gina's relationships with a vast national network of entrepreneurs, bankers and investors will help her identify and capture opportunities for economic growth here in Rhode Island. As General Treasurer, Gina's priorities will include:
Encouraging Banks to Get Credit to Local Businesses
As the state's chief banker, Gina will use the power of the General Treasurer's office to accelerate lending of needed capital to Rhode Island businesses -- many of which are struggling to operate and expand. Gina will seek to condition banking with the State of Rhode Island on financial institutions expanding credit opportunities to Rhode Island businesses, and charging fair rates to account holders. She will also explore opportunities to invest in state-backed loans for small businesses and a state-secured micro enterprise loans program.
Making Economically-Targeted Investments
Gina will develop an economically targeted investment strategy to invest a small percentage of the state's pension fund in Rhode Island businesses to generate return on investment for the fund, while also creating jobs and economic development for Rhode Island. Gina will also seek ways to invest funds that support the creation and development of innovative products, business systems and new jobs in our state. Certain industries, such as healthcare, clean technology, which promise to be a major driver of growth in the global economy during the next several decades, can help rebuild some of our economic base when we focus investment in those areas.