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Los Angeles Region Red Cross Gets New Leader

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By Lookout Staff

January 13, 2014 -- Two years after the Santa Monica Red Cross tapped the head of a Boston homeless agency as its new CEO, the agency's Los Angeles Region office has also turned to Massachusetts.

The agency last week hired Jarrett Barrios, a former state legislator who currently serves as CEO of the American Red Cross of Massachusetts, to head the second-largest regional office in the country.

“During his tenure at the American Red Cross of Massachusetts, Barrios expanded service delivery for fire victims, for active duty military and veterans, and in the food and nutrition programs for the hungry and homeless,” Red Cross officials said in a statement.

“He successfully engaged greater numbers of volunteers, including more youth and members from more diverse communities,” officials said.

This year, Barrios earned the prestigious American Red Cross Presidential Award for Excellence, which is given to Red Cross volunteers and staff who “demonstrate superior job performance aligning with the organization’s priorities,” according to agency officials.

Barrios will assume his new position at the Los Angeles regional office -- which serves 88 cities, including Santa Monica -- on March 3.

“I’m excited now to start my next chapter of Red Cross service in Los Angeles.” Barrios said.  “Our commitment has always been to serve anyone in need. Our continuing Red Cross challenge is to make that commitment mean something.”

Barrios, who graduated from Harvard College and Georgetown University Law Center, practiced law at Hill & Barlow where he was named one of Boston’s “40 under 40.”

In 1999, Barrios was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, where he authored legislation that included laws that mandated interpreter services in hospital emergency rooms and created a state low-income housing tax credit.

After being elected to the Massachusetts State Senate in 2002, Barrios led the first comprehensive rewrite of the state fire code in the wake of the 2003 Station Nightclub fire that killed 100 people. He also led legislative efforts to protect women’s health centers, permanently ban assault weapons and protect victims of domestic violence.

In 2003, while chairing the State Senate’s Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, Barrios was named to the Red Cross board in Massachusetts.

A Cuban-American, Barrios founded Massachusetts’ first statewide Latino political organization, Oiste, and was named “National Legislator of the Year” by the Service Employees Industrial Union in 2004.

After leaving the legislature, he served as the president and CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation and GLAAD before joining the Red Cross in 2011.

“His leadership in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings stands as a great testament to his ability,” said Martin Cozyn, board chair of the region.

“His drive and commitment to the humanitarian values of the American Red Cross will help the Los Angeles Region continue to build communities that are better equipped to prevent, prepare for and respond to disasters, large and small,” Cozyn said.

Barrios, who has two children, served on the boards of Families U.S.A. in Washington, DC, the National Conference of Hispanic State Legislators, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund in New York City, and the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center in Boston.


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