Engage Rhode Island forms to reform pension system

Providence, RI – A new advocacy group, Engage Rhode Island, was created to build public support for implementing what it calls comprehensive pension reform.

In tax lingo, Engage Rhode Island is a 501(c)4. In other words, it's a nonprofit that can do unlimited lobbying and campaigning without disclosing where its money comes from. Spokesman Jon Duffy says Nortek executive Ed Cooney started the group for civic reasons and the threat posed to the state by the rising cost of public pensions.

He's a very active member in the business community, but he also has a special needs son," he says. "And he started to see some of those services get cut for him and he knew had to do something."

Other Engage RI board members include: Family Service of Rhode Island CEO Margaret Holland McDuff; Dan Sullivan and John Galvin of Collette Vacations; Central Falls councilor James Diossa; and Crossroads Rhode Island head Ann Nolan.

Engage Rhode Island is pushing its message with a Web site, advertising, direct mail, polling and plans for a six-figure budget.

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