Michael John Barrett (born June 27, 1948 in Agana, Guam ) is the state senator for the 3rd Middlesex District of Massachusetts. Barrett served in the State Senate once before, in 1987-1994, representing another district (Cambridge, Belmont, Watertown and the Allston-Brighton neighborhood of Boston), before moving to his present home in suburban Lexington 17 years ago. Even earlier, in 1979-1985, he served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives from Reading, North Reading and a portion of Wilmington.
Barrett is a 1970 graduate of Harvard College and 1977 graduate of the Northeastern University School of Law, after which he clerked for a federal judge in Washington, DC
Barrett was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1978. He ran for a seat in the United States House of Representatives in 1984, losing the Democratic primary in the Massachusetts's 7th congressional district to Ed Markey.
In 1990, during his first stint as State Senator, Barrett wrote an Atlantic Monthly cover story in which he advocated a longer school day and year for American students. A year later, he was named one of nine commissioners on the National Education Commission on Time and Learning, created by the U.S. Congress to examine the issues raised in the Atlantic article.
In 1992 Barrett drafted and saw through to enactment domestic violence legislation for Massachusetts that was precedent-setting in the United States, in that it required judges to consult a comprehensive computerized registry of offenders before they ruled on requests for restraining orders. He was also successful as lead sponsor of major environmental legislation regulating uses of toxic materials in manufacturing within the state.
In 1994 Barrett ran unsuccessfully for Governor of Massachusetts. Departing the State Senate the following year, he was named CEO and General Counsel of the Visiting Nurse Associations of New England, a large home health care provider network. Several years later, he embarked on a consulting career focused on the emergence of the Internet and the development of online services involved in health care.
In December 2011, after a 16-year absence from politics, Barrett announced his candidacy for State Senate in the 3rd Middlesex District. In September 2012 he won the Democratic nomination after an intensely contested five-candidate race. He beat the Republican candidate in November and was elected. The 3rd Middlesex District covers nine communities: Bedford, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Concord, Lexington (precincts 3, 8 and 9), Lincoln, Sudbury (precincts 1, 4 and 5), Waltham and Weston.
In January 2013 Barrett was named Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities. In 2015 Barrett was named Chair of the Senate Post-Audit and Oversight Committee, a unique body charged with overseeing implementation of all state programs run by the Governor and his appointees. In 2017 he was appointed Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities & Energy. The committee’s jurisdiction covers everything from cell phones to alternative energy to public utility reform to carbon pricing.
Barrett lives in Lexington with his wife. They have twin daughters.