Meet Barbara

I’m Barbara L’Italien, and I’m running to be your next congresswoman.

I’m a state senator and I’ve been a state representative, a school committee member, and an elder care social worker, and a mom on a mission to provide a better life for all, starting with our most vulnerable. 

When Rudy, the oldest of my four children, was diagnosed with autism, it became clear to me that our health care and public school systems weren’t set up so that kids like him could succeed. So I did what any parent would do: stepped up to fight for my son. I became a mom on a mission to get my kid the basic services, care, and education he needed - and I found out that I was a pretty good advocate.

I went on to run for the state House of Representatives in 2002, where I set out to make sure all kids with disabilities and their families are supported.

I became the statewide leader on the issue, building the nation’s strongest safety net for people with autism and leading on landmark legislation to allow people on the autism spectrum to get health insurance (the bill was even signed into law at Fenway Park). 

Governor Patrick signing my autism insurance mandate into law in 2010 with my son Rudy at Fenway Park.

I’ve always fought for my constituents and the issues I care about just as hard as I did for my own family. I’ve been a leader in the fights for single-payer health care, quality public education for all children, equal marriage, better services and supports for seniors, health insurance coverage for people with autism, and jobs and a fair economy. I led the charge against the Kinder Morgan Pipeline, the NRA, and the school privatization industry.

I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, but there’s much more progress to be made on these issues. I’m eager to join that fight at the federal level. I want to take my experience and success in Massachusetts to Washington to make sure we have a system that works for all of us, and especially those who need extra support to thrive.

I grew up in this district and raised my family here. I’ve spent my time as a public servant listening to the needs of the people here and being their voice. I am eager to be your voice on Capitol Hill, too. Advocacy starts when you tell your story – I can’t wait to hear yours.

My Family and History

My family first settled here in the early 1900s, when my French-Canadian and Irish grandparents immigrated to Lawrence to work in the mills and build a better future for their family. My grandfather was the first Irishman to manage one of William M. Wood’s mills.

I was raised in Andover with seven brothers and sisters. My mom and my dad were a schoolteacher from Methuen and an FBI agent from Lawrence. After graduating from Andover High School, I worked full-time to put myself through college, volunteered my free time at the Samaritans of the Merrimack Valley suicide hotline, and graduated from Merrimack College with a degree in Political Science in 1984.

While I was at college, I met my husband, Kevin Hall. We’ve been married for 31 years now. We started our family in Haverhill, and after seven years we settled in Andover. 

I worked in elder care for many years before I first ran for elected office, as a social work case manager at Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley. Then I served as a member of the House of Representatives from 2003-2011, where I represented six communities including Andover, Haverhill, and Methuen, and was the vice chair of the Ways and Means Committee helping to balance the state budget after the 2008 financial crisis.

I’ve served in the Massachusetts Senate since 2015, where I represent Andover, Dracut, Lawrence, and Tewksbury. I chair the committees on Elder Affairs and Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure, and used to chair Municipalities and Regional Government.

I was also a school committee member in Andover, and Director of Government Affairs under Treasurer Steve Grossman where I set up the Small Business Banking Partnership to help community banks across Massachusetts make loans to local small businesses and create jobs. 

Kevin and I have lived in Andover for 24 years and counting. We continue to raise our four children here: Rudy, Allie, Samantha, and Andrew.


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