Daisy Baez

Baez bids adieu

9a32ac_0dde67415b964a95b833eba04b0ef84b~mv2_d_5000_4167_s_4_2Democrat 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.

Baez: “You’re my army!”

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State Rep. Daisy Baez, under investigation by a House committee, is using her military experience to raise money for a re-election campaign.

The picture above accompanied a fundraising email sent out by the campaign of Baez, a Miami Democrat.

As a soldier I wore this nation’s uniform to give my life for the cause of freedom, justice, and democracy. Soldiers never give up, and I will never waver on my commitment to continue fighting for you.

You’re my army, and I need you to join this battle today with your support and contributions. Will you contribute $50, $25, or any other amount today?

A state House committee Tuesday found “probable cause” to proceed with an investigation of whether Baez violated residency requirements when she was elected to her Miami-Dade County seat in 2016.

After hearing an investigative report that alleged Baez used residences outside House District 114 for a homestead exemption, a driver’s license and voter registration, the Select Committee on Member Conduct voted to move the investigation forward to the House Public Integrity and Ethics Committee, which will likely conduct a broader inquiry into the allegations.

Baez, a Democrat in her first term, attended the meeting but did not testify, although she said she has not violated the requirement that she live in District 114 at the time of her election and subsequently as she represents the area.

“I just want to reiterate that I believe I am a resident and I have evidence to support that I am a resident of District 114,” she said, adding she would cooperate with the investigation so it can be resolved “in an expedient way.”