David Baria

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David Baria
David-Baria-Headshot.jpg
Minority Leader of the Mississippi House of Representatives
Assumed office
February 3, 2016
Preceded by Bobby Moak
Member of the Mississippi House of Representatives
from the 122nd district
Assumed office
January 3, 2012
Preceded by J. P. Compretta
Member of the Mississippi State Senate
from the 46th district
In office
January 8, 2008 – January 3, 2012
Preceded by Scottie Cuevas
Succeeded by Philip Moran
Personal details
Born David Wayne Baria
(1962-12-04) December 4, 1962 (age 55)
Pascagoula, Mississippi, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Marcie Fyke
Children 3
Education University of Southern Mississippi (BS)
University of Mississippi (JD)
Website Campaign website

David Wayne Baria (born December 4, 1962) is an American politician, attorney, and former contractor. A trial lawyer by trade,[1] Baria is a Democratic member of the Mississippi House of Representatives representing the 122nd district. He also serves as the House Minority Leader. Baria was a member of the Mississippi Senate before he was elected to the retiring J. P. Compretta's seat in the Mississippi House of Representatives. Baria is currently the Democratic nominee for the 2018 regular U.S. Senate election in Mississippi.

Baria is the former chairman of the NCSL Gulf and Atlantic States Task Force. He is also a member of the National Conference of Environmental Legislators, Bay St. Louis Rotary Club, Leadership Hancock County, Mississippi Bar, and a fellow of the Mississippi Bar Foundation.[2] The Board of United Policyholders, a national advocacy group for insureds, includes Baria on their board of directors. He was also chairman of the Hancock County Youth Court Task Force dedicated to combatting the foster care crisis in that area.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Baria was born in Pascagoula, Mississippi. He earned his Bachelor's in Criminal Justice at the University of Southern Mississippi and earned his Juris Doctor at the University of Mississippi School of Law.

Mississippi Senate[edit]

In 2007, Baria ran for District 46 of the Mississippi Senate and defeated James Overstreet, 77% to 23%.[4] He attributes his initial call to public service to seeing and experiencing the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina. Baria represented the 46th District from 2008-2011. The American Lung Association and the American Federation of Teachers awarded Baria with selective legislative awards for his work in the Senate.[5]

Mississippi House of Representatives[edit]

Baria ran for the 122nd district of the Mississippi House of Representatives in 2011, and defeated his Republican challenger Dorothy Wilcox 58% to 41%.[4] Baria was then reelected to District 122 in 2015 after narrowly defeating Republican Mickey Lagasse 51% to 49%,[4] even after Governor Phil Bryant and Lt. Governor Tate Reeves campaigned for Lagasse.[6]

Baria is a member of five different committees in the House: Appropriations, Universities and Colleges, Judiciary B, Judiciary En Banc, and Youth and Family Services.[4] Baria was selected as one of three Democratic Floor Leaders for the Mississippi House Democratic Caucus in 2012, and in 2016 his colleagues selected him to serve as Minority Leader.[7]

Insurance Reform[edit]

Since Hurricane Katrina, Baria has introduced several bills to cap the premiums that insurance companies can charge for homeowners and flood insurance, stating: "There are those who would say the free-market system is designed to work that way and that what we should do is make the entire Gulf of Mexico region a large national park and no one should live there. However, for centuries people have raised their families and made their livings out of the Gulf of Mexico and its surrounding environs. And I don't think you can write off an area by simply saying they have a lot of hurricanes down there so people shouldn't live there."[8]

Baria has also repeatedly introduced legislation to create a "Policy Holder's Bill of Rights," which would prohibit "anti-concurrent causation clauses," which allow insurance companies to avoid paying for any damage to homes where wind acts concurrently with flooding to cause damage to the insured property.[9]

BP Oil Spill Settlement Money[edit]

In 2015 Baria introduced a bill to require that 80% of the funds from the BP Oil Spill Settlement be sent back to the Gulf Coast.[6] The bill was defeated by the Republican controlled legislature, however, which opted to keep the money in the state's general fund.[10] Baria renewed these efforts in 2017 with the support of several Republican legislators from the Gulf Coast, but they were unsuccessful.[11]

Other Legislation and Policy Positions[edit]

In 2010, Baria proposed bills in the senate offering tax incentives for homeowners who install solar power,[12] as well as allowing net metering.[13]

After joining the Mississippi House in 2012, Baria successfully sponsored a bill to require safety enclosures for swimming pools.[4] That same year, he introduced several other bills, including bills to (1) increase the death benefit payable to law enforcement officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty; (2) authorize individuals to brew beer at home; (3) create a "Patient's Bill of Rights; (4) prohibit smoking in certain public places and private places of employment; and (5) create a state version of the False Claims Act to allow whistleblowers who report fraud against the government to collect part of the award.[4] All of these bills died in committee, however.[4]

After outcry in 2012 over then-Governor Haley Barbour's pardon of two convicted murderers who worked at the Governor's mansion,[14] Baria introduced legislation prohibiting Governors from issuing pardons during the last 90 days of their term.[4] The bill died in committee.

In 2015 Baria filed a bill to legalize industrial hemp production,[15] and in 2017 Baria filed bills to raise the minimum wage and require equal pay for men and women performing the same work.[16] The Republican controlled legislature blocked these efforts, however.

Baria penned an oped after the 2017 murder of a protestor during the notorious white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia[17] calling for the state to remove the Confederate imagery from the Mississippi state flag.[18]

In 2018 Baria voted for a bill to exempt recent college graduates from state income taxes if they stay in the state for three years after graduation from a four-year college or university and to grant them an additional two-year exemption if they buy a house or establish a business with at least one additional employee.[19]

During his tenure, Baria has been a vocal critic of the corporate tax cuts passed by the Republican controlled legislature,[20] stating that they deprive the state of revenue that could be used to pay for other state programs.[21] He has also been a vocal supporter of expanding Medicaid to cover more than 300,000 Mississippians who lack health insurance.[22] Baria also supports state-funded universal preschool and two tuition-free years of community college.[23]

2018 Senate Race[edit]

On February 28, 2018, Baria declared his candidacy for the Senate seat currently held by Republican Roger Wicker.[24] On June 26, he defeated businessman and venture capitalist Howard Sherman in a runoff to officially claim the Democratic nomination.

Endorsements[edit]

Baria has received a variety of endorsements for his candidacy, including J. P. Compretta, Mississippi Hospital Association, Mississippi Nurses Association, Mississippi Police Benevolent Association, Inc., Mississippi Association of Educators Fund, and the NRA's Political Victory Fund in 2011.

Controversy[edit]

During Baria's 2011 Mississippi House of Representatives campaign, the Advance Mississippi PAC, a proponent of the Republican candidate, Dorothy Wilcox, sent out direct-mail campaign material with inaccurate information about his voting record. The PAC falsely accused Baria of voting to raise his pay and raise taxes on food. Baria also contended that the PAC falsely accused him of taking money from his clients. Baria filed a defamation suit against the PAC. Baria stated, "It's not illegal to run a negative campaign, or to make fun of people. I don't like that, but it's not illegal. But we do have laws saying you cannot publish lies about people. These PACs are going to push the envelope as far as they can, and somebody needs to hold them accountable."[25]

However, Baria stated that he was willing to dismiss the case if the PAC published an apology. The executive director of the Advance Mississippi PAC, Steve Simmons, and the PAC's treasurer, Randy Stephens, issued a full-page advertisement to apologize to Representative Baria. The ad read: "On behalf of themselves individually and the PAC offer their sincere apology to Rep. David Baria, D-Bay St. Louis, for their publication of false and defamatory ads during the 2011 legislative campaign." The ad was placed in two coastal newspapers.[25][26]

Personal life[edit]

David Baria is married to Marcie Baria. They have four children: Darden (deceased 2005), Merritt, Bess, and Max. Baria is an avid sportsman and enjoys fishing and boating with his family. He is also a member of his local Rotary Club and Kiwanis.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "David Baria - BariaLaw.com". BariaLaw.com. Retrieved 2018-03-01. 
  2. ^ "David Baria". David Baria. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Hancock County focusing on foster care 'crisis'". sunherald. Retrieved 2018-03-01. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "David Baria - Ballotpedia". Retrieved 2018-03-01. 
  5. ^ "David Baria - BariaLaw.com". Retrieved 2018-07-11. 
  6. ^ a b "Republicans would like to pick off last South Mississippi Democrats in Legislature". sunherald. Retrieved 2018-03-01. 
  7. ^ "Rep. David Baria selected as House leader". sunherald. Retrieved 2018-03-01. 
  8. ^ "Five Years After Katrina, A Return To Bay St. Louis". NPR.org. Retrieved 2018-03-01. 
  9. ^ "Sen. David Baria". Retrieved 2018-03-01. 
  10. ^ "Will the Coast see BP money in 2017? Don't hold your breath". sunherald. Retrieved 2018-03-01. 
  11. ^ "House, Senate clash after death of BP bill | Mississippi Today". mississippitoday.org. Retrieved 2018-03-01. 
  12. ^ "Where's the Money". Retrieved 2018-03-01. 
  13. ^ "Net-Metering Advocates Push for Support". Retrieved 2018-03-01. 
  14. ^ CNN, By Rich Phillips,. "Docs show murderers got special treatment from governor, wife - CNN". CNN. Retrieved 2018-03-01. 
  15. ^ "Legal Pot Initiative Gets a Spark". Retrieved 2018-03-01. 
  16. ^ "This could be the year of equal pay, minimum wage". sunherald. Retrieved 2018-03-01. 
  17. ^ Caron, Christina (2017-08-13). "Heather Heyer, Charlottesville Victim, Is Recalled as 'a Strong Woman'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-03-01. 
  18. ^ "DAVID BARIA: Time to remove Confederate battle flag from all official symbols of Mississippi - Mississippi Business Journal". Mississippi Business Journal. 2017-08-15. Retrieved 2018-03-01. 
  19. ^ "House bill would exempt recent graduates from state income taxes if they stay in state". The Clarion Ledger. Retrieved 2018-03-01. 
  20. ^ "Dems Say Slow Economy and Tax Cuts Damage Mississippi Budget". March 14, 2017. 
  21. ^ wjtvmalarypullen (2017-01-19). "Why the lack in revenue for the state of Mississippi?". WJTV. Retrieved 2018-03-01. 
  22. ^ David Baria (2013-03-17), Rep. David Baria (D-Bay St. Louis) talks with WLOX about Medicaid Expansion, retrieved 2018-03-01 
  23. ^ "Mississippi House minority leader says relations improved". The Oxford Eagle. 2017-01-24. Retrieved 2018-03-01. 
  24. ^ "Democrat David Baria Enters Senate race in Mississippi". Politico. 2018-02-28. Retrieved 2018-03-06. 
  25. ^ a b Geoff Pender (April 12, 2013). "Miss. lawmaker reaches settlement in attack ad lawsuit with PAC". Baria Williamson PLLC. ; Megan Wright (April 14, 2013). "PAC takes out ad to apologize to legislator". Mississippi Business Journal. 
  26. ^ "PAC apologizes to Baria of Bay St. Louis over 2011 political mailouts". April 12, 2013. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Mississippi House of Representatives
Preceded by
Bobby Moak
Minority Leader of the Mississippi House of Representatives
2016–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Albert N. Gore
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Mississippi
(Class 1)

2018
Most recent