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. Using his background in health policy, he led the development of Prepare LA and its “through-line” of identifying and investing in LA’s most disaster-vulnerable communities to build a more resilient Los Angeles. His work in LA builds on his prior role as the chief executive of the Massachusetts Red Cross where, for his transformational leadership, he was awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in 2014. Now, he speaks locally and nationally on Prepare LA and its successes.
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. While a senator, Barrios oversaw the first rewrite of the Massachusetts fire code since the 1942 Cocoanut Grove Fire, led passage of the nation’s strongest “buffer zone” legislation, authored a comprehensive assault weapons ban law, as well as foreclosure prevention and consumer data privacy legislation and laws to protect victims of domestic violence. During this period, he was a key 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 of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, then as CEO of GLAAD.
Outside of the Red Cross, he currently serves as the vice-chair of the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission , the co-chair of the Los Angeles Steering Committee for the Eisenhower Fellows and on the Board of Preservation of Affordable Housing, Inc. Along the way, he has lectured on transnational gang violence in El Salvador, counted hanging chads in the disputed presidential election of 2000, toured Mexico to train university students on American political process on behalf of the US State Department and studied the public health systems and lectured U.S. health reform in Brazil (in Portuguese). And, in 2017, Barrios hiked the full length of the famed Camino de Santiago in Spain. He is a 2014 inaugural Cross Sector Leadership Fellow in partnership with the White House Office on Social Innovation. He speaks Spanish and Portuguese, and is learning Arabic. And, for twenty years, Barrios has engaged in licensed humanitarian efforts in Cuba.
Jarret Barrios has two children, Javier, 24, and Nathaniel, 21.