The Women’s Fund of Rhode Island is honoring RI Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, D-Newport, with the organization’s Susan L. Farmer Award.
The award will honor Paiva Weed for her leadership role as the first female Senate president and for her support for the state’s Temporary Caregivers Insurance program, which was a top priority of the Women’s Fund of RI.
Paiva Weed became the first women to hold the post of Senate president in 2009. She is a lawyer and Providence College graduate.
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.
Former Secretary of State and public television executive Susan Farmer has died after a long fight with cancer.
Farmer became the first woman elected to statewide office when she won an election for secretary of state in 1982. Former Providence Journal political columnist M. Charles Bakst said Farmer was the leader in a wave of GOP women winning political office.
“Republicans led the way in this state. Five of the first six women who were elected to office were Republicans,” said Bakst. “She was a liberal Republican. In her day, that was the thing to be.”
Malcolm `Mac” Farmer III was once one of Providence’s best known Republicans, a city council member with a sharp eye for financial and legal issues. A prominent lawyer, Farmer was a staunch moderate and supporter of civil rights who was a well-regarded voice of reason on a council riven by ethnic and partisan grandstanding . He is the husband of Susan Farmer, a Republican who in 1982 became the first women elected to statewide office in Rhode Island when she won as secretary of state.
The YWCA Rhode Island is out with its 5th annual Women Holding Office Celebration. This year the YWCA will honor two path-breaking Rhode Island women political figures with the Isabelle Ahearn O’Neill award. Republican Susan L. Farmer, who in 1982 became the first woman elected to a statewide office in Rhode Island when she was elected secretary of state, and Kathleen S. Connell, who became the first Democratic woman to win statewide office when she was elected secretary of state in 1986.