Spokes Man: Barry Hinckley
by janice o’leary
This earnest future politician is trading gladhanding for two wheels and a helmet. “I’m big into fitness,” says the 46-year old Rhode Islander, “and I try to lead by example.” Hinckley first started cycling during his high school years in Maine; having no driver’s license, he’d ride 26 miles just to get to town. Though he’s long had that license, the early riser has taken to cycling again, and not just for fitness; he bikes through the Ocean State’s 39 towns talking to local businesses about creating more jobs for Rhode Islanders. “There are a lot of people out of work,” he says. “But we don’t just have a first-job crisis, we have a second-job crisis. For many people in bad jobs, the next job is not available. They’re stuck. We need to look to the private sector to create more jobs and entice our young people back to the state.”
Hinckley first moved to Newport after college to work in his family’s specialty boat business, Hinckley Yachts. “But then the luxury tax was enacted and killed the boat business.” So, Hinckley left to work in Boston, where he began his first experience with political activism, launching southend.org, a site created to concentrate the neighborhood into one voice. At that time, in the mid-1990s, the South End was a dangerous place. Through Hinckley’s efforts, the group garnered the attention of the mayor’s office, and the police agreed to add a bicycle detail to help with safety. Spurred by this digital success, Hinckley started his own recruiting software company, Bullhorn Software, growing it to an international business before returning to Newport. “I’m an anomaly,” he says, “I came back.” And now that he’s returned, the Republican Senate candidate plans to apply the lessons he’s learned as an entrepreneur to help the state wheel itself into a new economic era.