Rep. Joy Hearn will not seek re-election in 2018

BARRINGTON, R.I. (WPRI) – State Rep. Joy Hearn announced Thursday she will not seek re-election this November.

Hearn, a 59-year-old Democrat who was first elected to represent House District 66 in 2008, shared the news with friends and supporters in an email. She lives in Barrington and also represents a portion of East Providence.

Joy Hearn

“Having been elected five times, serving 10 years in the legislature, I believe that as a supporter of term limits, it is time to practice what I preach,” she wrote.

Hearn said she had been pleased to be part of a number of major policy debates, including same-sex marriage, the statewide education formula, tax reform and “championing a good-government agenda.” She also said she was proud to have helped get the White Church Bridge in Barrington completed on time and on budget.

Hearn was a close ally of former Rep. Michael Marcello, a Scituate Democrat who was Nicholas Mattiello’s chief rival during the 2014 contest for House speaker. Marcello, who represented a conservative-leaning district, lost re-election in 2016.

Mattiello, D-Cranston, praised Hearn in a statement Thursday. “Joy is a thoughtful and hard-working public servant who will be missed by her colleagues in the House,” he said.

House Majority Leader Joe Shekarchi, D-Warwick, added: “She has always been a conscientious advocate for Barrington and East Providence and this a big loss for the communities she serves and for the state.”

No other sitting lawmaker has announced plans to retire so far, but three state representatives are seeking higher office: Patricia Morgan, R-West Warwick, a candidate for governor; Bobby Nardolillo, R-Coventry, a candidate for U.S. Senate; and Aaron Regunberg, D-Providence, a candidate for lieutenant governor.

Ted Nesi ( covers politics and the economy for He writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook