Secretary of State Ralph Mollis

Raina C. Smith, a former Channel 12-WPRI reporter, freelance writer and novelist, has been hired by  Democratic RI Secretary of State A. Ralph Mollis as his new director of communications. Smith replaces Chris Barnett, who left the secretary of state’s office to take a communications post with the Rhode Island Foundation.

Smith, 42, a North Scituate native who currently lives in Cranston, has her first day on the job today. She will be paid $92,669 annually. She is a 1997 graduate of Rhode Island College, where she majored in communications and graduated cum laude.

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.

Tomorrow (Nov. 6th) is election day, America’s grand tribute to democracy. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders why Rhode Island is so far behind most of the country in promoting voter turnout.

The 1960 presidential election remains etched in American political annals. It signaled the ascension of two young World War II veterans to the pinnacle of national leadership.  One of those candidates, Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kennedy, would make history by ending the exclusion of Roman Catholics from the Oval Office.