Didi Barrett was elected to the New York State Assembly in a special election in the spring of 2012 and re-elected in 2012, 2014, and 2016. A resident of the Hudson Valley for nearly 30 years, she came to elected office after a career as a community activist, writer and longtime leader of not-for-profit organizations.
As a member of the Assembly she chairs the Committee on Libraries and Education Technology and sits on the committees on Agriculture; Mental Health; Tourism, Parks and Sports Development. She is the First Vice-Chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus.
Didi’s focus as a legislator is to improve the quality of life for families and businesses in the Hudson Valley. Her legislation has focused on advocating for patients and raising awareness about Lyme and tick-borne disease; protecting local watersheds; improving the agricultural industry and protecting Hudson Valley farmland; and supporting our veterans.
Didi is passionate about the agricultural, natural, historical and cultural resources of the Hudson Valley and their critical importance as economic engines and job generators. She is a former board member of Sprout Creek Farm, an educational farm in Poughkeepsie. She helped launch and is a board member of the North East Dutchess Fund (NED) of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, which focuses on improving life in the six towns of northeastern Dutchess County; she helped create the pioneering NED Corps program, with Dutchess Community Action Partnership, to deliver social services to this rural region and served on its affiliated Latino Roundtable.
A longtime advocate for women and girls, she spearheaded the creation of the Dutchess Girls Collaborative to support local girls and young women. She is formerly a trustee of the Anderson Foundation for Autism, board member of the Millbrook Education Foundation and consultant to the Hudson Valley resident professional theater company Half Moon Theatre. She writes a blog, Diner Dialogues: Talk of the Hudson Valley, that explores many of these themes.
Didi’s family has deep roots in the Hudson Valley, and a long involvement with Dutchess and Columbia counties. In 1938, her grandfather and great-uncle bought a farm in Ancramdale which still remains in the family. Didi’s husband, David, grew up in the Hudson Valley town of Middletown. The couple has two children, Alec and Annabel.
Didi’s other affiliations have included Girls Incorporated of NYC (founding chair); New York Women’s Foundation, Planned Parenthood of NYC, the Women’s Campaign Forum and NARAL Pro-Choice New York (former board member) and the American Folk Art Museum (trustee emeritus).