Jarrett Barrios serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region. He leads a team of talented humanitarians providing care and comfort to those afflicted by disasters, serving veterans and members of the Armed Forces, and assisting refugees and their families. Over his first two years, he has led the design of the Region’s effort to build resilience in Los Angeles’ most vulnerable communities against disasters ranging from home fires to earthquakes. This work builds on his prior role as the chief executive of the Massachusetts Red Cross where, for his transformational leadership, he was awarded the American Red Cross Presidential Award for Excellence in 2014.
Barrios is an honors graduate from Harvard College (AB ’90-’91) and Georgetown Law (’95), practiced law at the Boston firm of Hill & Barlow, then began public service in 1999 as a Massachusetts State Representative for four years, then as a State Senator for five years. In the House, he authored a broad range of legislation from a law to improve emergency room services for immigrants to the creation of a state low-income housing tax credit. In the Senate, he chaired the Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee and was the Vice Chair of the Health Care Committee.
As a state senator, Barrios led the first comprehensive rewrite of the state fire code in the wake of the Station Nightclub fire, authored the nation’s strongest “buffer zone” legislation to protect women’s health centers, led the passage of a statewide assault weapons ban and gang-prevention legislation, as well as authoring foreclosure prevention bills, consumer data privacy legislation, and laws to protect victims of domestic violence. During this period, he was a Senate leader in the effort to protect marriage equality for gay and lesbian families in the Commonwealth and helped found the Massachusetts statewide Latino political group, Oíste. Upon leaving the legislature, he served as the president and CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation in Boston and of GLAAD in New York and Los Angeles.
Outside of Red Cross, he currently serves as a supervisorial appointee to the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission, as a board member of the Los Angeles BizFed Institute, as well as the boards of the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company and the Preservation of Affordable Housing, Inc. Along the way, he has lectured on transnational gang violence in El Salvador, represented the United States in a delegation to Australia with the American Council of Young Political Leaders, counted hanging chads in the disputed presidential election of 2000, toured Mexico to train university students on American political process on behalf of the State Department, studied the public health systems and lectured on US health reform in Brazil as an Eisenhower Fellow. He recently participated in the inaugural cohort of the Presidio Institute’s Cross Sector Leadership Fellows in partnership with the White House Office on Social Innovation. He speaks Spanish and is proficient in Portuguese, and for twenty years, has engaged in licensed humanitarian efforts in Cuba.
Barrios has two children, Javier, 23, and Nathaniel, 18.