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Venable partner, and retired Navy Rear Admiral, Jamie Barnett was interviewed in the September 15, 2014 issue of Communications Daily on FirstNet’s newest board members and its prospects for the future. The newest members include ex-Vermont Republican Gov. Jim Douglas and Houston Mayor Annise Parker, a Democrat. Their addition is expected to help improve FirstNet’s relations with state governments.

“The addition of Douglas and Parker to the board is likely to improve the authority’s image with state governments,” said Admiral Barnett adding that their addition is “a recognition that Commerce is going to have to pay attention” to states’ perspectives. “There’s been some lost time and misunderstandings, but this goes a long way toward getting FirstNet on the right track with the people that are going to be paying the bills and actually subscribing to the service.”

Commenting on the leadership of FirstNet chair Sue Swenson, Admiral Barnett said she has “already proven herself to be a great communicator with all FirstNet stakeholders.” Admiral Barnet also said FirstNet needs to better explain its financial and cost model for states. “FirstNet is working very hard on the RFPs, but there still needs to be some type of model upon which the RFPs will be based,” he said. “It needs to be explained publicly, and I’m hoping FirstNet will do that in the next few months.”