Thursday, 4:30 PM
Barrios to take job at Blue Cross
(Essdras M. Suarez/ Globe Staff file photo)
State Senator Jarrett Barrios, shown above in April, said today he is leaving public office.
By Michael Levenson, Globe Staff
Senator Jarrett Barrios, a Cambridge Democrat who has been an outspoken advocate for minorities and gay marriage, confirmed today that he will leave office in early July to become the president of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation.
An ambitious lawmaker who clearly enjoyed the political fray, Barrios served as a state representative from 1999 to 2002, before becoming a state senator.
Barrios said the new position will allow him to make a bigger difference on the issues he cares about, especially increasing access to quality, affordable healthcare for people of color.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts created the foundation in 2001 with an endowment of $55 million to work with public and private organizations to broaden healthcare coverage and reduce barriers to care. Barrios replaces Nancy Turnbull, now an associate dean at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Barrios said he would make slightly more money in this position than he earns from his Senate position and his law practice, which he will also give up in July. But money, he said, was not the reason for his decision to leave public office. Barrios also declined to speculate about whether he is permanently closing the door on public life.
Barrios, an openly gay lawmaker who married his partner after the state's high court legalized same-sex marriage, will remain in office through the next constitutional convention on June 14, when the House and Senate are expected to take a final vote determining whether a constitutional ban on gay marriage will make it to the ballot in November 2008.
During his Senate tenure, Barrios has also been very involved in public safety issues as chairman of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee.