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Texas state senator. Born July 20, 1941, in Galveston, Texas. Barrientos was the first Mexican American elected state representative in Texas. He held that office from 1975 to 1985. In 1984 he was elected to the Texas State Senate, where he represents Senatorial District 14 (Travis and part of Hays Counties). He is chair of the statewide Tejano Democrats organization. Prior to his election to public office, Barrientos worked as a community organizer for the National Urban League and as a program officer for VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America).
The history of the Barrientos family comprises a substantial portion of the interview. Barrientos also discusses his personal experiences with racial discrimination as a child and young adult in Central Texas and his education in Texas public schools and at the University of Texas at Austin in the 1960s. He recollects his family's life as migrant laborers within Texas, briefly explains the Economy Furniture Factory strike, and describes his work with VISTA in the late 1960s as a trainer of volunteers and as program officer for the Southwest Region. The interview ended prematurely and does not address Senator Barrientos' political career.
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