WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Independent candidate for governor, Joe Trillo, announced his first executive order, if elected, will be to make “serious changes” to the state’s pension system.
Trillo, who admittedly said he once supported then-treasurer Gina Raimondo’s pension reform law, said Friday that he would award pensioners a 3% cost of living adjustment (COLA) increase and continue an investigation into Raimondo’s changes to the state’s pension system.
When treasurer Raimondo froze COLAs for pensioners and invested the state’s retirement assets in high-fee hedge funds, Trillo says it hurt retirees and benefited Raimondo politically.
“By her investment in these high-risk hedge funds, she lost $500 million,” Trillo said. “She benefited because the people that administered these funds, the executives of these companies, all managed to raise millions of dollars for her and that is the money she is using this election cycle.”
Trillo received support from failed Democratic candidate for governor, Spencer Dickinson, and said he plans to appoint Dickinson to a special commission to look into the future of Rhode Island’s pension system.
“Reforming and protecting Rhode Island’s pension system was hard but necessary work,” spokesperson for Governor Raimondo’s campaign, Mike Raia, said in a statement. “Because of Governor Raimondo’s leadership, Rhode Island is making investments in education, job training and infrastructure and our economy is the strongest it’s been in years. Joe Trillo and Allan Fung promise to send Rhode Island backwards.”
Republican gubernatorial candidate Allan Fung’s campaign spokesperson also released a statement on his behalf:
“Joe Trillo admitted that his only goal in running is to prevent Allan Fung, the only candidate who can — and will — change Rhode Island from being elected,” spokesperson for Fung’s campaign, Andrew Augustus, said. “If Joe was really serious about helping seniors and changing Rhode Island for the better he would get out of the race and support the one candidate who can get it done. Everything else is just a sideshow, much like Trillo’s candidacy itself.”
Trillo said he is not looking to completely throw out the pension reform law, rather make changes so all of the retirees affected can have some financial relief.