Raimondo responds to critics of her Manhattan Institute award
General Treasurer Gina Raimondo has offered the following response to the seven liberal groups who criticized her for accepting an award from the Manhattan Institute. The letter is addressed to Kate Brock, executive director of Ocean State Action:
Thank you for reaching out to my office regarding the Manhattan Institute. I appreciate your perspective and understand your concerns.
Receiving the non-partisan Urban Innovator award on behalf of Rhode Island for its thorough and transparent process surrounding comprehensive pension reform was an opportunity to highlight our important work. Pension reform was essential to the advancement of some of the many goals we share around education, social services, and the environment. Absent reform, the government funds available for these priorities would have been severely reduced. Other leaders, mayors, governors, Democrats and Republicans were recognized with the same award in past years for their own work in trying to tackle other difficult issues.
Accepting an award from any organization is never an across-the-board endorsement of its leanings, agenda or goals. There is no room in any thoughtful debate for messages of hate or inequity, especially regarding LGBTQI and women’s issues. I took this opportunity to emphasize that government can work to efficiently serve the people.
Rhode Island’s pension reform was successful because we were able to make it an “everybody” issue and stay focused on the substance of the issue. By using thoughtful analysis and avoiding divisive rhetoric we were able to achieve a feat many thought was impossible. It is in this same spirit that I accepted the Urban Innovator Award because it recognized our state’s outstanding effort and collaboration. We proved good work can happen respectfully and collaboratively, and sharing this message is more important than ever.
I plan to continue serving the people of Rhode Island as Treasurer in a way that is cooperative and focused on the substance of the challenges we face. I will talk to anyone, anytime. I look forward to meeting with you in the future to find ways to work together to continue to move Rhode Island forward.