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Gina Raimondo ’98JD: Leading a small state’s big pension fight.

If the world ends on December 21, Gina Raimondo ’98JD’s problems will be solved. If not, the general treasurer of Rhode Island still has her work cut out for her.

A state judge this week ordered Raimondo and public-employee unions into federal mediation over a controversial new public pension law. Raimondo, a Democrat and former venture capitalist who was elected in a landslide in 2010, says the overhaul is essential to keep Rhode Island from going broke. The unions call it “outrageous,” saying it will force retirees into poverty.

The case is drawing national attention as numerous states struggle with the finances and politics of their public retirement plans. Raimondo’s campaign for the pension law (as well as her election campaign) were partly financed by a Yale Law School contemporary, Laura Munoz Arnold ’00JD, and husband John Arnold, a Houston billionaire “who sees the state as an opening salvo in a quest to transform retirement systems nationwide.”

Raimondo is already being rumored as a candidate for governor in 2014. Meanwhile, this week she enlisted another Yalie, Anne-Marie Fink ’87, as the state’s new chief investment officer.

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