State Senator from Massachusetts.
Who is Jarrett?
Since 2002, Jarrett Barrios has represented Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Charlestown, Allston, and parts of Revere, Saugus, and Somerville as a Democratic state senator.
The son of a carpenter and a social worker, Barrios came to Cambridge from Tampa, Florida to study at Harvard University. After Harvard, he graduated from Georgetown University Law Center. While in law school, he wrote for The Tax Lawyer and worked in the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection Division of Credit Practices.
Returning to Cambridge in 1995, he practiced law at the Boston firm of Hill & Barlow and, since 2002, has practiced law at DLA Piper http://www.dlapiper.com
In 1998, he began his legislative career when he was elected to the House of Representatives representing Cambridge. As a State Representative, he led successful efforts to create a state low-income housing tax credit and a statewide affordable housing trust, to expand health care access in hospital emergency rooms, to oppose increases in subway fares and to improve disaster response capacity.
In 2002, he was elected to the Massachusetts State Senate and has served as the Senate Chairman of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security. He is also a member of the Committees on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure, Transportation, Housing, Public Health, and Municipalities and Regional Government. In his capacity as Senate Chair of Public Safety, Barrios has written laws to: toughen the state fire code [link to statutes] in the wake of the West Warwick fire and which include requiring sprinklers in nightclubs; ban the sale of assault weapons and create a firearms license appeals board [link to statutes]; create a witness protection program for police and DAs, including tougher penalties for witness intimidation [link to article]; create the Charlie Shannon Grant Program, a multimillion dollar grant program for cities battling youth violence [link]; and expand judicial tools in the fight against domestic violence by authorizing the use of GPS tracking for batterers who violate orders of protection [link to article]
Jarrett has also led successful Senate passage of efforts to reduce school bullying [link to article], to provide equal access to higher education for immigrant children educated in Massachusetts public schools [link to article], and to provide a legal channel for Massachusetts residents to purchase affordable prescription drugs abroad [link to article]. In the 2007-2008 session, Jarrett continues pushing these bills, along with leading legislative efforts to reduce illegal gun trafficking to youth in Massachusetts [link to summary], to protect consumers against identity theft [link to the bill], to promote environmental justice [link to the bill], to resolve the MBTA’s debt crisis [link to article], to protect clients at women’s health centers with a 35-foot buffer zone [link to article], to promote homeownership by expanding the Community Reinvestment Act [link to article], as well as to limit access to consumers’ personal and financial information by private and public entities [link to article].
As a strong supporter of mass transit, Jarrett has led efforts to secure the Romney administration’s commitment to build the Green Line extension to Tufts University [link to article]; to fight against fare increases; and to work with the MBTA to ensure the privacy of customers using the Charlie Card [link to article]. While in the Senate, he founded the Commonwealth Legislative Seminar with the goal of opening the doors of the state house to communities of all backgrounds [http://www.masscs.org]. With the support of the Boston Foundation, he has been leading a series of community dialogues on immigration in Everett. He is a founding member of the Eastern Mystic Watershed Alliance, key legislative partner with the Joint Committee for Children’s Health Care in Everett [http://www.ci.everett.ma.], the Chelsea Human Services Collaborative [http://www.chelseacollab.org], and other grassroots community organizations. He currently serves on the board of directors for the American Red Cross of Massachusetts Bay, the National Conference of Hispanic State Legislators, the Massachusetts Blue Cross/Blue Shield Foundation and One Family Foundation in Massachusetts.
Senator Barrios advocates strongly for the needs of his district. He continues to fight efforts to amend the constitution to discriminate against lesbian and gay families and worked with other gay and lesbian legislators to overturn Governor Romney’s efforts to eliminate the Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth. He has sponsored environmental justice legislation that will help low-income, minority communities --like cities in his district-- which share a disproportionate burden of dirty industries, to gain a voice in advocating for cleaner community development strategies. He fought successfully to create a Commission on Health Disparities which has made recommendations to help provide better health care to low income and minority communities. He has been working closely with neighbors in Allston on Harvard University’s expansion.
Barrios’ legal work and community activism have been widely acknowledged, including receiving the Chancellor’s Medal for Distinguished Service from the University of Massachusetts at Boston, an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at Cambridge College and the Gerry Studds Visibility Award from the Fenway Community Health Center. He has been named legislator of the year by numerous organizations, including the Massachusetts Senior Action Council, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, the Disabled American Veterans, the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, the Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston, the Jewish Community Relations Council, as well as being named Pro Bono Attorney of the Year by the Political Asylum and Immigration Representation Project.
Jarrett lives in Cambridge with his spouse, Doug Hattaway, where they raise their two children, Nathaniel and Javier—with the great help of Cambridge’s public schools. He speaks Spanish and is proficient in Portuguese.