I’ve lived here in Southern Arizona most of my life. My roots here are deep and I am dedicated to serving our community. At every turn in my career – whether it was working for over 30 years to look out for people with disabilities, heading up Congresswoman Giffords’ district operations, or running a small business with my wife – I have worked to help solve problems for the people of Southern Arizona.
And since being elected to serve Southern Arizona in Congress, I have worked to keep taxes low for middle class families¸ protect Social Security and Medicare, create jobs, support our military families and bases, make sure our veterans get the services they need, and secure our border. I’m running for Congress so I can continue that work. We need someone who will focus on rebuilding Southern Arizona’s middle class.
I grew up in a military family. My father was an Airman stationed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. My wife Nancy and I went on our first date in 1960, and we’ve been together ever since. We raised our daughters, Jenny and Crissi, here in Tucson, and they grew up to be an educator and a nurse. We are lucky to have four grandchildren – Kieran, Tillie, Ailsa and Elliot – who are being raised here in Tucson, too. I want Southern Arizona to be as special a place for them as it’s been for my wife and me.
For 22 years, Nancy and I owned and operated a small business called Toy Traders/Stork’s Nest, where families could trade and buy children’s toys, clothing, and equipment. We had two locations with 20 employees. We know what it means to meet payroll, keep the doors open, and provide good customer service.
I also served our community for over 30 years at the Arizona Division of Developmental Disabilities. There, I worked to get people with disabilities out of government-run institutions and back into their community where they could become employed and live full lives with their families and friends. This meant working closely with families and providing them the support they needed to care for their children at home. We improved services for families, while running one of the five most cost-efficient, high-quality programs in the country.
In 2006, I began working with Gabrielle Giffords, and was honored to be named her district director in 2007. We worked hard to deliver for Southern Arizona families, particularly those who ran into problems with the federal government. That meant advocating for families who were not receiving Social Security, Medicare or Veterans Administration benefits that they had earned. It also meant bringing the voices of Southern Arizona to Congress, so that policymakers could hear directly from residents of the border area about their needs. I also worked with military leaders at Davis-Monthan, Fort Huachuca, and the 162nd Fighter Wing of the Arizona Air National Guard to protect their missions and the positive impact they have on our nation’s security as well as our local economy.
In 2012, I had the honor of being elected to represent Southern Arizona in Congress. I immediately fought to be appointed to the House Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees so I could continue to be a voice for those who currently serve or have served. Since being sworn in, I have voted for legislation to help fund infrastructure jobs in Arizona and keep student loan rates from doubling. I also voted to extend tax cuts to families earning less than $250,000 per year and to require the richest two percent to pay their fair share. I introduced two pieces of bipartisan legislation. One bill would combat the ‘poaching’ of veteran’s pensions. The other would ensure better coordination between law enforcement agencies as they work to secure the border and require more coordination with Mexico as both countries work to stem the violence along the border.
And I’ve come home to Southern Arizona every chance I have had to meet with constituents so I can best represent you in Washington.
I hope to continue that work and continue to represent the people of Southern Arizona in Congress.
-Congressman Ron Barber