Democrat Daisy Baez thanked her supporters a day after exiting the House as part of a plea agreement regarding perjury in an investigation about her legal residency.
“As I return to my life as a private citizen, I pledge to continue fighting for universal healthcare, empowering our teachers, and improving the equality of life for the youngest, and the most vulnerable Floridians,” Baez wrote — in both English and Spanish — in an email Thursday.
In Baez’s plea agreement, which required her to resign, she agreed to a single count of perjury, a first-degree misdemeanor. She will be sentenced to one year of probation, pay a $1,000 fine, and take an ethics course with the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust.
She is also prohibited from running for public office while on probation, which will keep her off the 2018 ballot.
The decision by Baez, a health-care consultant and U.S. Army veteran, eliminated the need for the House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee to hold a hearing, scheduled for Dec. 4, to determine if she violated residency requirements when elected last year.
Baez’s exit is obviously a loss for Democrats, who flipped the GOP-held seat in a hotly-contested race last fall.
Here’s Baez’s full farewell message:
On November 1, 2017, I tendered my resignation as a Member of the Florida House of Representatives. I have been honored to serve the residents of Florida, Miami-Dade County, and District 114. Thank you for giving me that opportunity.
When I began my service as a Representative last year, I vowed to serve the public interest to the best of my abilities. I am confident that I have done so. As I return to my life as a private citizen, I pledge to continue fighting for universal healthcare, empowering our teachers, and improving the equality of life for the youngest, and the most vulnerable Floridians.
I will never forget all the individuals who have supported me, and have shared their dreams and hopes for a better future. Your commitment to achieve a better life for your families, for Florida, and for our great country, is what has inspired me every day. Your words of support are engraved in my heart. I thank you infinitely for your friendship and for the opportunity you have given me to become the first Dominican American member of the Florida Legislature.
If you have not heard from me before, it is because I’m recovering from the passing of my mother last week. I take this opportunity to ask that you to give me time to finalize the funeral arrangements and eventual burial in her beloved birthplace of Salcedo in the Dominican Republic.
I want to reiterate that I will continue in my role of community activist, and will keep fighting with you for the issues that are important to our community and the state of Florida.