Ruben Barrales has an extensive background in both government and private industry, with experience as an elected official and as an advocate for business.
Ruben Barrales most recently served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce- the largest regional Chamber of Commerce in California. He doubled the organization’s cash liquidity, and guided the Chamber’s advocacy efforts on issues including streamlining and reducing business regulations, passing a public pension reform initiative, and improving the region’s transportation and border infrastructure. He also served as an English and Spanish language spokesperson on issues of concern to San Diego’s small businesses.
Barrales also served as Deputy Assistant to President George W. Bush and Director of White House Intergovernmental Affairs. He was the President’s senior representative to the nation’s governors, legislators, mayors and other elected officials, including state, territory, local and tribal government leaders. He served on the President’s National Energy Policy Development Group and served as a Chairman of the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status.
Prior to joining the President’s staff, Mr. Barrales was President and Chief Executive Officer of Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network, where he led a regional civic organization of Silicon Valley high-tech business executives, university leaders, and local elected officials. He implemented initiatives in support of the region’s innovation and high-tech business sector, including a K-12 school based education reform effort, and published studies and reports on trends important to job growth in the region.
In 1992, Mr. Barrales became the first Latino elected to the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. He was reelected and became president of the Board of Supervisors in 1996. Barrales was recognized for leadership in forming a coalition of local jurisdictions that reduced violent crime by 80 percent in the city of East Palo Alto. He helped to create one of California’s first public charter schools, and he established the first debt limit for a county government in California, which helped the county maintain the highest bond rating in the state.
In 1998, Barrales was the Republican Party nominee for California State Controller.
Barrales has served on various boards and commissions including the Board of Directors of the Public Policy Institute of California, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Border Infrastructure Task Force, the California Speaker’s Commission on State and Local Government Finance, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Blue Ribbon Committee, and the Advisory Board of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
Barrales received the “Ohtli Award” from the government of Mexico for his commitment to improving the well-being of Hispanics in the United States. Hispanic Business Magazine has listed Mr. Barrales as one of the “100 Most Influential Hispanics” in the United States three times. He has also been named “A Global Leader for Tomorrow” by the World Economic Forum in 2000.
Barrales earned a joint Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and Administrative Studies from the University of California, Riverside. He and his wife, Kelly, have two children.