On January 6, 2015, Gina M. Raimondo became the 75th Governor of Rhode Island and the state’s first female governor.
Governor Raimondo’s top priority is to rebuild the middle class and create opportunity for everyone—and she works every day to advance the lives and livelihoods of all Rhode Islanders. She believes that, in order to move our state forward, we need to shake up the status quo and help people build the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century. As Governor, she’s kick-started the state’s economy to better attract entrepreneurs, create jobs, encourage existing businesses to grow, and foster innovation throughout state government.
Since her swearing-in, Rhode Island has replaced every private-sector job lost during the Great Recession and attracted top companies like GE Digital, Johnson & Johnson, Virgin Pulse, and the Cambridge Innovation Center to plant flags here and help grow our state economy. The Governor has also made critical investments in existing Rhode Island companies like A.T. Cross to help them stay and expand in-state. When she first took office, Rhode Island had the highest unemployment in the country—now, it’s ranked 28th for jobs.
Knowing that great jobs need talented people—and wanting those jobs to go to Rhode Islanders—Governor Raimondo has made advancements in education a centerpiece of her economic growth plans. She made new investments in early education, tripling the number of public pre-kindergarten classes and working to ensure that every child can attend all-day kindergarten. Thanks to her CS4RI initiative, Rhode Island is poised to become the first state with computer science classes at every single public school, and every high-school student can now take the SATs for free.
Ocean State students have more opportunities to thrive than ever before, including new offerings for career readiness, workforce training, and more. In 2017, the Governor also proposed a higher-education program to guarantee two years of free college or community college to every in-state student, making Rhode Island a national leader on college affordability.
Governor Raimondo also understands that infrastructure matters—and that businesses and families won’t relocate to a state with crumbling roads and unsafe bridges. In 2016, she led the state in the creation of RhodeWorks, which spurred action rather than kicking the can down the road. After awarding $174 million in contracts that year and more than $200 million in 2017, RhodeWorks has begun or completed repairs on nearly 120 bridges, created 800 direct jobs, and saved the state over $900 million in the next ten years. It’s a visible sign that we’re rebuilding Rhode Island together.
These achievements continue Governor Raimondo’s pragmatic work as the General Treasurer of Rhode Island, where she spearheaded landmark pension reform that put the Ocean State’s fiscal house back in order. By tackling the state’s unfunded $7 billion pension liability, she ensured Rhode Island would be able to make investments in its future success—in its economy, education, infrastructure, and more.
A Smithfield native, Governor Raimondo currently resides in Providence with her husband Andy Moffit and their two children, Ceci and Tommy. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and later won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University, where she earned a doctorate. After graduating from Yale Law School, she clerked for US District Judge Kimba Wood, served as senior vice president at Village Ventures, and co-founded Point Judith Capital. Prior to running for office in 2010, she was involved in dozens of successful start-up companies across Rhode Island.
A Test of Rationality in Blue-State New England
Wall Street Journal- Alyssa Finley, 11/18/16
The reforms Ms. Raimondo championed in 2011 were, and still are, revolutionary. They shifted future as well as current workers to hybrid plans with a defined-contribution component.
Rhode Island – The Startup State
Forbes- Andrew Yang, 9/9/16
This has long made it a natural environment to try things that other states might not. This is all the more true now that the state can claim a very progressive, innovative governor, Gina Raimondo, a former venture capitalist who’s very interested in attracting talent and growing businesses.
Women at the Top
New York Times- Frank Bruni, 7/28/16
“Little girls — 8 years old, 9 years old, 10 — come up to me and say, literally, ‘You make me think that I can do that,’” Raimondo said. “I know it sounds like something you read in a book, but it’s happened to me 500 times. It’s a much bigger impact than I ever realized.”
R.I. governor’s road show seeks to remake state economy
Boston Globe- Megan Woolhouse and Jon Chesto, 1/10/16
Raimondo, starting her second year as Rhode Island governor, has criss-crossed the country to recruit businesses, pushing the idea that her state, one of the slowest to recover from the last recession, could become a thriving technology hub.
One governor bucking the bipartisan tradition of passing the buck
Washington Post- Fred Hiatt, 12/20/15
Raimondo stands out on a number of counts: a Democrat elected in a year when even Massachusetts was choosing a Republican governor; a woman, when 44 states are led by men; perhaps oddest of all, a Democratic reformer of state pensions.
Rhode Island Averts Pension Disaster Without Raising Taxes
New York Times – Mary Williams Walsh, 9/25/2015
But Ms. Raimondo was able to revamp her state’s pension system, keeping some of the traditional structure while lowering the cost, and surviving lawsuits by workers and retirees who called her moves unconstitutional.
This governor is worth keeping tabs on
Fortune – Dan Primack, 9/15/2015
Besides being held up as a model for other cash-strapped governments, the state’s recent successes have fueled speculation about Raimondo’s future. Asked about it, she demurs—mostly. “I can’t imagine myself doing anything in the legislative branch.”
The Governor Who Has Figured Out How to Fix Bridges and Pensions
Bloomberg- Tom Moroney and Matthew Winkler, 8/4/15
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.