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Congressman Ron Barber

Representing the 2nd District of Arizona

Full Biography

Congressman Ron Barber represents Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District – a diverse swath of historic Southeastern Arizona that includes communities as disparate as Tucson, where cutting-edge technology is being developed, and Tombstone, where the echoes of the Gunfight at the OK Corral live on.

Congressman Barber is one of only nine members of the U.S. House who represents a district on the United States-Mexico border. The entire 83-mile border in Cochise County is in Barber’s district.

Because the border is such an important issue for Southeastern Arizona, Congressman Barber fought to serve on the Committee on Homeland Security where he was appointed ranking member of the Oversight and Management Efficiency Subcommittee.

Congressman Barber also serves his constituents on the House Armed Services Committee, the Committee on Small Business and the Bipartisan Working Group.

The military is a major focus of Congressman Barber’s work. The Army’s historic Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista is the largest employer in Cochise County and essential to the national security of the nation. This national landmark, a product of the Indian Wars of the 1870s and 1880s, today is home of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and the U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM)/9th Army Signal Command.

Also in Congressman Barber’s district is Davis-Monthan Air Force Base on the eastern edge of Tucson where the nation’s finest ground-attack pilots are trained. The base also hosts the Air Force’s only active-duty rescue wing dedicated to combat search and rescue; an electronic combat group; and the largest aircraft storage and preservation facility in the world, known as the “Boneyard.”

Congressman Barber’s district also is home to many employees and pilots from the 162nd Fighter Wing of the Arizona Air National Guard, which trains F-16 pilots from allied nations just outside the congressman’s district.

Barber grew up in a military family. He first came to Tucson when his father, an airman, was stationed at Davis-Monthan in the 1950s. The future congressman attended Rincon High School in Tucson and graduated from the University of Arizona in 1967.

While still in high school, Barber met his wife Nancy. They raised their daughters, Jenny and Crissi, in Tucson and now have five grandchildren who are being raised in Tucson as well.

Barber and his wife ran a small business in Tucson for 22 years. Toy Traders/Stork’s Nest was a place where families could trade and buy children’s toys, clothing and equipment. The business had two locations and 20 employees.

Before becoming a member of Congress, Barber had a 32-year career with the Division of Developmental Disabilities in the Arizona Department of Economic Security, eventually serving as its director. Barber worked closely with families to get people with disabilities out of government-run institutions and back into their communities with the support they needed to care for their children at home. Under Barber’s direction, the division improved services for families while running one of the five most cost-efficient, high-quality programs in the country.

In 2007, Barber was appointed Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ district director. In that capacity, Barber helped Southern Arizona families who experienced problems with the federal government. He oversaw a staff that intervened when families were not receiving Social Security, Medicare or Veterans Administration benefits.

On Jan. 8, 2011, Barber was standing beside then-Rep. Giffords as she held her Congress On Your Corner in Northwest Tucson. An assassin shot the congresswoman, Barber and 17 other people. Six of those people, including Giffords’ aide Gabe Zimmerman, were killed. Giffords and Barber were both critically wounded.

In January 2012, Giffords resigned from office to focus on her recovery. Barber was sworn into serve the people of Southern Arizona in June 2012. He was sworn into his first full term in Congress on January 3, 2013.