Raimondo outlines plans on violence, trafficking; says fixing social problems helps economy



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PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island — Gubernatorial hopeful Gina Raimondo on Thursday outlined plans to address gun violence, domestic violence and human trafficking, saying that fixing social problems is an important element of improving the economy.

At a round table with community advocates in south Providence, the general treasurer said gun violence deters business. Domestic violence impacts the economic and overall well-being of families, keeping victims out of work and adversely affecting children who witness it, she said.

The Democrat wants to ban the sale of semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines. Legislation to do so has stalled in the General Assembly in recent years.

She said she would also seek to boost cooperation among agencies that work with domestic violence victims. One of her TV spots features the story of a two-time violence victim who says "Gina saved my life — twice." It notes Raimondo helped expand the Crossroads shelter and eliminated a backlog in Treasury's crime victims compensation fund.

On the issue of human trafficking, the candidate said Thursday that a working group created by statute in 2009 hasn't ever convened. "That's not how you solve problems," she said.

She also wants to explore a "one-strike" rule to close establishments where prostitution is found.

Raimondo said she would use the Office of Economic Empowerment she wants to create as governor to ensure that programs are bringing results.

The treasurer faces Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and political newcomer Clay Pell, the grandson of the late U.S. Sen. Claiborne Pell, in the Sept. 9 Democratic primary.

Speaking outside the round table, Raimondo criticized the mayor over the number of shootings in the city — 100 last year — though the overall crime rate and violent crime rate are down, mirroring a national trend.

While the Providence Police Department has shrunk in recent years due to budgetary pressures, Taveras has touted a new police academy that's expected to bring 60 new officers to the force this year.

Pell, a former prosecutor in the Coast Guard, released a "safe communities" plan in June that also focuses on combating gun and domestic violence, sexual assault on college campuses and elder abuse.

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