|Jarrett Tomás Barrios|
|Barrios addressing GLAAD, 2009|
|Member of the Massachusetts Senate
from the Middlesex, Suffolk and Essex district
January 2003 – July 2007
|Preceded by||Tom Birmingham|
|Succeeded by||Anthony D. Galluccio|
|Member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives
from the 28th Middlesex district
January 1999 – December 2002
|Preceded by||Alvin Thompson|
|Succeeded by||Edward G. Connolly|
|Born||October 16, 1969|
|Spouse(s)||Doug Hattaway (divorced)|
|Alma mater||Harvard College (B.A.)
Georgetown University (J.D.)
Jarrett Tomás Barrios (born October 16, 1969) is a politician, activist, and executive, currently serving as the chief executive of the American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts. He was a member of both the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Massachusetts Senate and became the first Latino and first openly gay man elected to the Massachusetts Senate. He subsequently served as president of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation and, later, of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).
The son of a Cuban-American carpenter and a Cuban-American social worker in Tampa, Florida, Barrios moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts at the age of 17 to study at Harvard College, after graduating from Jefferson High School in Tampa. After graduating in 1990 with high honors and working for the Boston City Council, he obtained his law degree with honors from Georgetown University. Eisenhower Fellowships selected Jarrett Barrios as a USA Eisenhower Fellow in 2009.
In 1998, Barrios began his legislative career when he was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives. The first major legislation he wrote was a law requiring hospital emergency rooms to provide interpreter services for non-English speakers. He also authored legislation creating a statewide affordable housing trust and establishing a low-income housing tax credit, which provides an incentive for developers to create affordable housing. He was the prime sponsor of a bill that enhanced state disaster relief efforts in coordination with the American Red Cross.
In 2002, the voters of the Middlesex, Suffolk and Essex District - including parts of Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Everett, Revere, Chelsea and Saugus - elected him to the state Senate, and he was re-elected unopposed in both 2004 and 2006.
As a state senator, Barrios successfully helped lead the legislative effort to protect marriage equality in Massachusetts, and is best known for a globally televised speech where he spoke on discrimination faced by his own family.
Barrios chaired the Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security. He authored legislation creating a state witness protection program and establishing an anti-gang violence grant program known as the Shannon Grant. He also authored one of the nation's most comprehensive identity theft laws, which provided new protections to consumers whose personal data is stolen from retailers or other third parties. Barrios wrote a law updating state fire codes in the wake of a deadly night club fire in neighboring Rhode Island. He also authored an "anti-bullying" bill, which only passed the state Senate, directing schools to respond more aggressively to student reports of violence and "cyber bullying."
On other issues, Barrios authored a law designed to protect homeowners from foreclosure and to crack down on unscrupulous subprime lenders. The law created a first-in-the-nation requirement that mortgage bankers and brokers abide by the state Community Reinvestment Act, which previously applied only to credit unions and banks. He led Senate passage of legislation promoting "environmental justice," addressing health care disparities among minorities, and strengthening enforcement of "buffer zones" around women's health facilities.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation
On May 22, 2007, Barrios announced that he would be resigning from the Senate to become the president of the state's largest health foundation, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation. The foundation focuses on expanding access to health coverage and medical care for state residents. It plays a central role in the implementation of the state's universal health care program, providing data and analysis on the program's performance and convening health care stakeholders to address emerging issues.
After arriving at the foundation, Barrios launched two new policy initiatives. The Care Beyond Coverage initiative is analyzing barriers to health care faced by people who have health insurance. The Community Health Mapping Project is linking data on health outcomes with environmental risk factors and other social determinants of health, such as violence and air quality.
Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation
Barrios became president of GLAAD in September 2009, making him the only bilingual leader of a national LGBT organization.
Barrios resigned from his position on June 18, 2011, following allegations of impropriety by some former board members after GLAAD issued two statements supporting the merger of one of its corporate donors, AT&T, with T-Mobile and questioning the merits of network neutrality. Both statements were promptly retracted by the organization. The press releases were criticized by Michelangelo Signorile.
Barrios has founded three nonprofit organizations.
- Oiste, a statewide Latino political organization, works to "create an educated and actively engaged Latino" community through grassroots organizing and civic education.
- Acceso, an international humanitarian organization, provides humanitarian outreach licensed by the U.S. government to the people of Cuba "who are struggling to obtain essential human goods such as medicine, medical supplies and reading materials."
- The Commonwealth Seminar, a professional training institute, "exists to open the doors of the Massachusetts State House to diverse leaders" through training, networking opportunities and access to public-service job opportunities.
Barrios was a co-author of the Dallas Principles.
- "American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts Selects Barrios as Chief Executive Officer". November 21, 2011.
- "Ex-Sen. Barrios named to head Red Cross". Boston Herald. November 21, 2011.
- Executives: President Jarrett Tomás Barrios, GLAAD, retrieved 11 October 2009
- Barrio's speech
- Levenson, Michael. "Barrios to take job at Blue Cross". Boston Globe. 2007-05-22. Retrieved 2008-06-30.
- von Metzke, Ross (7 June 2009). "And GLAAD's New President Is...". Advocate.com. Retrieved 11 October 2009.
- Krigman, Eliza (June 10, 2011). "AT&T gave cash to merger backers". Politico. Retrieved 18 June 2011.
- Signorile, Michelangelo (Friday, June 10, 2011). "GLAAD President Admits Allegation on FCC Letter True".
- Barrios, Jarrett (September 2, 2010). "Equal right to marry, and divorce". The Boston Globe.
- Levenson, Michael. "Barrios set to resign from state senate". Boston Globe. May 23, 2007. Retrieved 2008-06-30.