Pro-Raimondo group to push pension bill with ads, lobbyists

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A newly formed advocacy group launched its public campaign Thursday for the forthcoming Raimondo-Chafee pension bill, trumpeting a list of well-connected supporters and deep pockets to match.

Engage Rhode Island placed advertisements in Thursday’s Providence Journal and on the radio to mark the unveiling of its website, EngageRI.org, which was registered Sept. 6. The 501(c)4 nonprofit has no paid staff but has hired a team of consultants led by Providence public-relations agency Duffy & Shanley, said Jon Duffy, the firm’s president.

Engage Rhode Island has a six-figure budget to tap into during the coming weeks as the General Assembly debates the Raimondo-Chafee bill in the special session set for October, Duffy said. He declined to reveal the group’s list of contributors, noting that federal rules for 501(c)4 organizations don’t require them to do so.

“We want to see an up-or-down vote on the pension plan as it is submitted by the governor and the treasurer,” Duffy said. “We want comprehensive pension reform. We don’t want watered-down pension reform.”

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• Related: Final hearing clears stage for Raimondo-Chafee pension bill (Sept. 28)

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