BARRIENTOS, GONZALO (1941~) Gonzalo Barrientos represents Senatorial District 14, mostly composed of Travis County and part of Hays County. During the 75th Regular Session of the Legislature, Lieutenant Governor Bullock appointed Barrientos as Chair of the Committee of the Whole on Legislative and Congressional Redistricting and Vice-Chair of Senate Natural Resources Committee. He was also reappointed to the Education, Finance and Nominations Committees. In addition, he serves as a member of the Texas Legislative Council and chairs the Austin Transportation Study Policy Advisory Committee.
Senator Barrientos' accomplishments include successful passage of more than two dozen pieces of legislation designed to decrease the school dropout rate. His efforts have led to a reduction of the school dropout rate across the state. Senator Barrientos has also sponsored significant legislation to eliminate abuse of the elderly and protect the rights and benefits of state employees.
Senator Barrientos is the recipient of many awards including the Texas Public Employees Association Outstanding Legislator of the Year for two consecutive years; the Texas Outstanding Public Servants Award; the Texas Rehabilitation Association's Legislative Excellence Award; and the Austin Groups for the Elderly 1995 Achievement Award. In September, 1996 Senator Barrientos was awarded the Matt Garcia Public Service Award by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
Prior to his election to the Texas Senate in November, 1984, Barrientos served five terms in the Texas House of Representatives from 1975 to 1985. He was born July 20, 1941 in Galveston and grew up in Bastrop. He majored in Psychology and Spanish when he attended the University of Texas at Austin. He and his wife, Emma Serrato of Galveston, are the parents of five children: Joseph, Angelina, Alicia, Adelita, and Veronica. Since coming to Austin in 1960, Barrientos has been active in civic and community affairs and Texas politics. He has been active in the Democratic Party since his high school days and has worked with numerous state and national political figures, including Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Jimmy Carter; U.S. Senators Lloyd Bentsen and Ralph Yarborough; and Governors Mark White and Ann Richards. Senator Barrientos is currently chair of the statewide Tejano Democrats organization. He is also on the National Board of Communities in Schools and Chair of the Board of Mexican American State Legislators Policy Institute.
Barrientos worked as a community organizer for the National Urban League; as program officer for VISTA/Peace Corps; and as a trainer for the Leadership Institute for Community Development in Washington, D.C. Senator Barrientos is chair of the Board of Directors of the Mexican American State Legislators Policy Institute located in Denver, Colorado. He is also a member of the Board, National Communities-in-Schools.
Barrientos' legislative priorities over the years include consumer protection, public education, school dropouts, protection of our natural resources such as the Edwards Aquifer, state employees, medical care, housing, needs of the disabled and elderly, tenants' rights, crime victims compensation claims, prevention of drug abuse, stiffer penalties for hazing, and municipal annexation bills.
Aside from his legislative duties, Barrientos does advertising and public relations work.