State Sen. Mike Barrett has been named Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities. Senate President Therese Murray announced the appointment on the last day in January.
Leadership of the committee comes with significant responsibility. Human services programs take up big swaths of the state budget and affect some of the state’s most vulnerable residents. Among other things, the committee oversees
operations of the Department of Children and Families, Department of Developmental Services, Department of Transitional Assistance and Department of Youth Services. Services for people with physical and intellectual disabilities and support of families in need will be a focus in the upcoming legislative session.
“This is not your typical starter chairmanship,” said Barrett, newly elected to the Third Middlesex District and who can draw on knowledge gained during a prior eight-year stint in the state Senate two decades ago. “There’s a heavy work load, but I asked for this assignment and I’m delighted to get it. People in my district really care about these issues. Many of their family members are involved in one way or another. These programs must operate in more effective and humane ways.”
Barrett was also named as Senate Vice-Chair of a legislative body with a key role in the state’s economy -- the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, which handles job training and employee workforce development programs.