Ron Barber grew up in a military family. He first came to Tucson when his father, an airman, was stationed at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in the 1950s. Barber 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 to get people with disabilities out of government-run institutions and back into their communities 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. 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.
Barber also worked with our men and women serving at Davis-Monthan, Fort Huachuca and the 162nd Fighter Wing of the Arizona Air National Guard to protect their missions and was Giffords’ lead on border security.
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 of 2012. He was sworn into his first full term in Congress on January 3, 2013 and now serves his constituents on the House Armed Services Committee, Committee on Homeland Security, and Committee on Small Business.