Didi Barrett was elected to the New York State Assembly in a special election in March 2012 and re-elected to a full term in November 2012. Her district, the 106th AD, covers parts of Columbia and Dutchess Counties. A resident of the Hudson Valley for 25 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 serves on the Committees on Aging; Agriculture; Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry; Mental Health and Veterans Affairs.
Didi is passionate about the agricultural, natural, and cultural resources of the Hudson Valley and their critical importance as economic engines and job generators. She is a member of the board of Sprout Creek Farm, an educational farm in Poughkeepsie, and the advisory boards for Poughkeepsie Plenty, a food justice project, and SEED (Smart Eating Every Day), a healthy lifestyle project for children and families tailored to rural communities. She has been an advisor to the National Young Farmers Coalition and a consultant to the Hudson Valley resident professional theater company Half Moon Theatre.
Didi spearheaded the creation of the Dutchess Girls Collaborative to support local girls and young women. 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 serves on its affiliated Latino Roundtable. She is a former trustee of the Anderson Foundation for Autism, a founder of the emerging Anderson Leadership Program, and a board member of the Millbrook Education Foundation.
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.
A writer whose work has been published in the New York Times, Boston Globe and numerous magazines, 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).