LEWISTON – David Farmer, a former Sun Journal editorial page editor and the paper’s political reporter, is leaving journalism to head Gov. John Baldacci’s press office.

“I’m very sorry to lose David, but the governor and the state have found the perfect person for this job,” said Executive Editor Rex Rhoades. “David has an extensive background in government, both in Maine and in Washington. He is one of the brightest people I know, and he has an amazing memory for detail. Most importantly, he brings passion to everything he does and sincerely believes that government can make a positive difference in people’s lives.”

Farmer, 35, started in journalism in 1989, serving as a reporter for a weekly newspaper in Virginia. He went on to work as a reporter and editor for a number of newspapers and magazines, including time covering Congress for Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper based in Washington.

“Journalism is a great opportunity to see history up close. You get to witness so much,” Farmer said.

Farmer came to the Sun Journal as an editorial page editor in 2003. In 2006, he became the newspaper’s only Augusta reporter, covering state government and political issues.

“I’ve enjoyed my time here. I’ve enjoyed my colleagues. I’m proud of the work we do,” he said.

Today is Farmer’s last day at the paper. He begins work in the governor’s office next week.

“I look forward to David joining my staff in this leadership position,” Baldacci said in a statement Thursday. “David has a deep understanding of the issues facing Maine and has demonstrated high-quality work. His experience, integrity and knowledge of Maine issues and people will serve my administration well as we enter this legislative session.”

Farmer replaces Crystal Canney, a former WGME-TV reporter who served as the governor’s communications director for a little over a year. She is leaving the position to spend more time with family, she said. Canney will now serve as associate commissioner for the Department of Administrative and Financial Services.

Farmer earned a bachelor’s degree in arts and journalism from Emory & Henry College in Virginia, and he earned a master’s degree in American government from American University in Washington, D.C. He lives in Portland with his wife, Erin Macey, and his 3-year-old daughter and 17-month-old son.