Susan Farmer, who in 1982 became the first women elected to statewide office in Rhode Island when as a Republican she ousted a longtime Democratic incumbent to become secretary of state, has died after a protracted battle with cancer. She was 71.
In a wise move by the Rhode Island Foundation, the foundation has hired Chris Barnett, press spokesman for Rhode Island Secretary of State Ralph Mollis, to become senior public affairs officer.
Barnett has long been one of the state’s most reporter-friendly and helpful p.r. folks in a number of positions, including Rhode Island Housing. His knowledge of state election and public records and e-commerce laws was top notch and his awareness and concern for media deadlines won him respect over the years from journalists.